Please see below an announcement from Columbia College President Dr. Scott Dalrymple that was sent to the college community earlier this morning:
Dear CC Community,
I formed the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Committee in order to foster important conversations at the College—and to prompt action that makes us stronger, fairer, and more welcoming. I’m pleased with the evolution of the DEI Committee, whose members take their roles seriously.
I’m also pleased to support two major initiatives recommended by the DEI Committee:
- Williams Hall, our oldest building, was built in the 1840s– when slavery was still legal in Missouri. I can think of no better fate than to transform it into a modern Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Center at Columbia College. We have some exciting preliminary designs, and have initiated fundraising efforts for the Center. You’ll be hearing more about this project in the coming months.
- This summer, many Americans became more familiar with the historical significance of June 19. Although President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863—freeing all slaves in the Confederacy—enforcement was dependent on the Union Army’s advance. Even after Robert E. Lee surrendered on April 9, 1865 at Appomattox Court House, formally ending the Civil War, a militia in Texas continued to resist for weeks. It wasn’t until June 19, 1865 that slaves in Galveston, Texas were liberated. This date is now celebrated as Juneteenth. I’m proud to announce that Columbia College will recognize Juneteenth as a paid holiday, starting next year. Since June 19, 2021 falls on a Saturday, we will recognize it on Friday the 18th.
While I’m excited about these initiatives, let’s admit that by themselves, they are largely symbolic. We have much work to do to become a truly welcoming environment for all. But symbols matter. They show the world those things we purport to believe, things we strive toward. Let these actions merely signal a deeper commitment to enduring social justice.
Dr. Scott Dalrymple