Reaffirming Our Commitment to Diversity and Free Speech

To the Georgia State community,

Widely reported events and controversies at university and college campuses across our nation are shining a spotlight on issues of race, exclusion and discrimination in higher education. Georgia State is recognized nationally in publications like The Washington Post for our commitment to diversity and for providing an academic environment that has become a national model for student success regardless of race, ethnicity or income. For background on how we got to this point I encourage you to read my Sept. 5, 2013 blog post entitled Dr. King’s Dream is Alive at Georgia State.

We have come a long way as a university community since Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, D.C. on Aug. 28, 1963. Today we are one of the most diverse universities in our country, and an institution that takes great pride in its diversity. In this time when conflict and discord are so prominent in the news we should take pride in the progress made at Georgia State, and at the same time reaffirm our commitment to being a campus that rejects discrimination and embraces diversity, academic freedom and individual rights of free speech.

On Monday, Nov. 16 Soledad O’Brien will be in the Student Center East ballroom to talk about race and justice in America as part of Georgia State’s Distinguished Speaker Series. O’Brien is an extraordinarily accomplished media journalist and she is known for, in addition to other significant contributions, her documentary series “Black in America” and “Latino in America.” I hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to hear from someone who has devoted much of her career to uncovering and reporting on what she calls “the often divisive issues of race, class, wealth, poverty and opportunity.”


Mark P. Becker