Division News & Statements

Statement from President Mantella on Racist Acts within our community

September 25, 2020

Dear Campus Community,

I want to share with you that thanks to the great work by the Grand Valley Police Department and our IT department, it has been determined the reprehensible racial incident reported during a Zoom meeting of our Black Male Scholars group last night did not come from people within our university community. That fact in no way diminishes our resolve to fight racism at every turn. The values of Grand Valley State University call us to be a model of an inclusive and affirming community.

The seriousness of this incident, which included racist language and images, prompted our IT department to immediately and successfully be able to turn over suspect leads to GVPD, and the investigators are pursuing this as a criminal case. We are following up with those who attended the meeting to offer any support we can as a community.

During the evening, it was reported that three other GVSU student groups also experienced “Zoom bombings.” These disturbing events are also being investigated. Vice President for IT Milos Topic is already working on additional protocols and training to improve security. 

We will not tolerate any behavior of this nature. We are committed to each member of our community and their well-being. If people need additional support, please contact inclusion@gvsu.edu.


Philomena V. Mantella, President  


A message from President Mantella to the campus community on September 24, 2020:

Dear Campus Community,

I write you tonight with a heavy heart. We have an amazing group called the “Black Male Scholars.” At the group’s kick-off meeting on Zoom, our peace was shattered when someone interfered with the meeting with racist language and images. It was both shocking and deplorable, and this will not be allowed to stand in the Grand Valley community. I assure everyone involved that this behavior is condemned, and a full investigation by the Grand Valley Police Department and our IT department is already underway.

Anyone with any information about this event, should call GVPD at (616) 331-3255 or contact Ottawa County Silent Observer, http://www.mosotips.com.

I want to express my profound sorrow to the students and employees who witnessed these reprehensible acts. We must condemn hate and bigotry and end ignorant behaviors that impact our underrepresented communities in disproportionate ways. This is a time for us to come together and care for one another.


Philomena V. Mantella, President

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Page last modified September 25, 2020