Division News & Statements

Message from President Philomena Mantella

January 30, 2023

Dear GVSU Community,
Over the past few weeks, our nation has grappled with the continued impact of violence in communities of color. My heart continues to go out to those trying to make sense of the violence in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay, California, this month.

On Friday, the public could see the horrific video footage of the killing of Tyre Nichols by police officers in Memphis. His death leaves a void that cannot be filled and is a tragic reminder of the realities of systemic racism and violence that people of color continue to face.
Such a disregard for human life fills me, and I’m sure many of you, with deep concern and sadness. Our Black community is undoubtedly acutely affected and may be facing anxiety and fear. As we strive to provide a safe and supportive environment for all community members, we cannot help but be impacted by these incidents.

I am asking all of you to lead with compassion and care. Supervisors, managers and unit heads, please take a moment to check in with colleagues. I urge faculty and staff to connect with students, particularly students of color, to extend both personal and institutional support.
Remember we have a wealth of resources to support our community in difficult times. Students can make appointments with the University Counseling Center online or by phone at (616) 331-3266. Self-help resources are also available for students. The Employee Assistance Program, Encompass, provides confidential and professional mental health resources for employees and their family members. Our diverse faculty and staff can connect with colleagues through affinity groups.
Tyre’s life and the lives lost in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay matter. We must honor their memory by acting at every level of society and in all our organizations to create a more equitable environment. I am committed to building a culture of educational equity at Grand Valley supported by the Inclusion and Equity Action and Accountability Leadership Team. I expect and urge the deliberate and swift action we have committed to across our divisions and colleges to continue with urgency as we journey toward a more just society.

As Lakers, I know you will continue to care for one another today and every day, and together we can lead the way. 
Philomena V. Mantella, President


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Page last modified January 30, 2023