A Message of Support

George Floyd mural

Dear campus community,

George Floyd’s senseless death last summer shook communities, including WOU, to their core. And this week, many of us are anxious about the impending trial verdict. Regardless of the outcome, we want to confirm WOU’s values will not waiver.

Black lives matter. They always have mattered and always will. George Floyd’s life mattered.

This trial is an important step toward holding people accountable, though there is still a great deal of work to be done in an effort to demolish the structural racism that results in the needless deaths of Black individuals like George Floyd, Daunte Wright, Breonna Taylor, and too many more.

As leaders of an educational institution, we are committed to contributing to actively dismantling the structural racism that exists today through encouraging our faculty to challenge beliefs and assumptions in the classroom, providing opportunities for our Black students and other students of color at the university and beyond, and creating a campus community that is empowered to participate in affecting social justice change. While we have been steadily taking action, we understand that much of it has been unseen. We aim to be more impactful with our efforts.

In the coming weeks and months, you can expect to see more information about projects, programs, and initiatives from all over campus toward inclusivity, anti-racism, bias reduction and equity; including new policies, training programs and opportunities to share your ideas/needs.

Most importantly right now, it is extra critical that we take time to take care of ourselves and others. We encourage employees to be flexible with students for academic and co-curricular work, and we encourage supervisors to be flexible with employees as we all manage emotions around this issue.

We recognize that the pain may be sharp, and we encourage you to seek support formally or from friends, family, colleagues, and each other. Here are some support services for students and employees.


To help support each other: We have resources to help you or help you support others at wou.edu/mental-health. If you are concerned about a student relevant to their mental state and well-being, please use the Student of Concern Form.


For students

The Student Health and Counseling Center (SHCC)  is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Students who have opted in for their services, or choose to at the time of visiting, can contact 503-838-8313 for crisis support or ongoing counseling.

Oregon students who chose not to opt in to the SHCC services can contact counselors at Polk County Mental Health (503-623-9289) or the Crisis Center in Salem (503-585-4949), or find help in your Oregon county.

For students in other states: Contact your local mental health provider. There is also the Psychiatric Crisis Center (503-585-4949) and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-TALK.


For Employees
As part of the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), counselors are available 24/7 through Cascade Centers. To contact a counselor, the phone numbers are: Portland 503-639-3009, Salem 503-588-0777, toll-free 800-433-2320. If you are an employee who is enrolled in benefits, you may also be eligible for mental health services through your medical plan.


Please take care of yourselves and each other. After a long and difficult year, please keep in mind that those around you may be hurting right now, and it is important that we extend compassion to our friends, our colleagues, our students, and our employees.


Western Oregon University Cabinet

Gary Dukes, Vice President Student Affairs
Rex Fuller, President
Ryan Hagemann, Vice President and General Counsel
Ana Karaman, Vice President Finance an Administration
Randi Lydum, Interim Executive Director Intercollegiate Athletics
Erin McDonough, Executive Director Advancement &WOU Foundation
LouAnn Vickers, Executive Assistant to the President
Rob Winningham, Provost and Vice President Academic Affairs

2 comments on “A Message of Support”

  1. Why did this take so long? The Black Lives Matter Movement took off this summer when an overwhelming amount of Black people in america were killed every day. Why did WOU not say something then? Why now? Why not before George Floyd was killed?

    Where were you?

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