In February, the SUNY Plattsburgh campus was thrown into turmoil after a screenshot of a social media post that mentioned lynching and used the n-word was reposted to get the administration’s attention. The campus noticed. Students protested and held a vote of no confidence in the college president and the chief diversity officer. Members of the community joined solidarity marches across the campus. In late February, SUNY Plattsburgh President John Ettling distributed a letter to the campus community outlining a series of steps to address racial bias. As Dr. Ettling updates WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley, he says it was important to create an action plan following those painful days on the campus.
“The outrage and the immediate response on the part of the students who were upset by it is completely understandable. You know emotions were running high, very high. And so was anger. I perfectly well understand why the students felt that way.”
Several of the action items have been implemented while others, such as the creation of a multi-cultural unity space in the student center, will not be complete until later this year.