President David Roland Finley: “We will not shrink from our responsibility to address social inequities.”
Amid a period of nationwide introspection that has sparked a renewed push for social reform, North Central Michigan College has announced the first in a series of actions that support its core values of compassion and inclusion.
“North Central Michigan College emphatically denounces racism, hate, violence, and injustice in all forms,” said North Central President David Roland Finley, Ph.D. “Recent weeks have proven to be a painful reminder of just how far we must travel to achieve the goal of our nation’s founders to provide justice and equality for all.”
Community colleges have a proud history of serving underrepresented populations across America, Finley said, and “must lead, not simply with words, but with deliberate action to build a brighter future for each and every individual we serve.”
Yet this summer, the college will host a public safety roundtable focused on current societal issues of racial bias. The conversation will engage both students and professionals in the field, and bias and de-escalation training will be incorporated into North Central’s criminal justice curriculum moving forward.
The college has also engaged the counsel of Dr. Paul Hernandez, a sociologist whose research focuses on education, social inequality and diversity. Hernandez’s unique pedagogical approach is informed by his own experience as a young man attending community college while simultaneously trying to escape the gang culture and poverty of Los Angeles. Dr. Hernandez met with faculty and staff in January, and the college has invited him back to campus in August for further professional development.
“We seek to better understand the many challenges faced by diverse populations, so that we can more effectively engage and support our students to help them reach their academic goals,” Finley said.
Finley also announced that the college is “committed to listening, seeking a deeper understanding, and continuing the conversation.”
“Education is an immensely powerful tool that can break down barriers, change minds, and dispel stereotypes,” he said. “Sensitive yet critical conversations are happening across the nation, including inside our classrooms. This work will not be easy or quick, but it truly defines what we do when we are at our very best.”
North Central Michigan College is an open-door community college based in Petoskey, with additional locations offering classes and services in Cheboygan and Gaylord. North Central’s mission is to provide exceptional, accessible, relevant higher education of and for the community. North Central is an Achieving the Dream Leader College with a designation of Veteran Friendly Silver by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency.
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Megan Van Horn
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