Dear VCUarts PAPR Graduate Students,

I am writing in response to your letter regarding the incident that took place on October 25.

This has been an emotionally wrenching week for the world and a difficult one for our school.

At the outset, I want to thank you for clearly stating your deep concern over the treatment of others based on race, a concern which I share and am committed to addressing.

Too often, those who have been subjected to overt or implicit discrimination have been lone voices challenging systemic oppression. VCU must be a place where those voices are heard. We are committed to opposing racism in all of its forms.

In order to combat implicit and explicit bias, we must be wise in our approach, precise in our determinations, and effective in our response. VCU must be a place where we staunchly uphold our policies prohibiting unlawful discrimination as well as a place where all individuals are treated fairly and given an opportunity to respond to accusations made against them.

Events like these should serve as an opportunity for all of us at VCU to speak louder, work harder, and energize a stronger commitment to our shared values.

To that end, I would like to invite you to join me; Holly Alford, our director of diversity and inclusion; and Aashir Nasim, VP for inclusive excellence at VCU, for a deeper discussion. Although I cannot discuss details of this particular incident, I want to be available to hear your broader concerns about the Painting and Printmaking department and to listen to your suggestions for collaboratively fostering an inclusive and safe environment for all.

I will be in touch with a proposed date and time soon.

Most sincerely,

Shawn Brixey
Dean | School of the Arts
Special Assistant to the Provost for the School of the Arts in Qatar
Professor | School of the Arts
Affiliate Professor | College of Engineering


November 2, 2018