Faculty Officers Statement and Commitments in Response to Racism: A Call to Action

From Jeff Popke, Crystal Chambers, Amanda Klein, and Purificación Martínez

Like many members of our community, the ECU faculty have been grappling with emotions of outrage, revulsion and heartbreak in the wake of the senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others victimized by racism and police brutality in America. We affirm and support those who have responded to these atrocities with long-overdue cries for justice and urgent and nonnegotiable demands for social change. As educators, we are committed to exposing the white supremacy and systemic racial inequality that, for centuries, has bestowed wealth and privilege upon white Americans at the expense of Black and Brown people.

This violent history has left its mark on every American city, including Greenville, NC. We recognize our own history of racial oppression and violence on the campus where we teach, learn, and live.  This legacy dates back to ECU’s founding father, Thomas Jordan Jarvis, an outspoken white supremacist and segregationist who actively campaigned for white supremacy and the disenfranchisement of Black voters. This shameful history continued with the experience of Laurie Marie Leary, the very first black student to officially enroll at ECU in 1963, who suffered bigotry and isolation during her time on campus. Today, Black and Brown students, faculty and staff report racist aggression, macro and micro, across pockets of the university. This is documented across several ECU Faculty Surveys since 2013, including the Harvard COACHE Surveys, ECU Faculty Climate Surveys, the 2019 ECU LGBTQ+ Race/ Ethnicity Survey, and the Faculty Engagement Survey of 2018.

Rather than deal with cultural racism as pervasive across campus, the administration of ECU, like many other universities nationwide, continues to treat racialized incidents individually and not systemically (Cole & Harper, 2017). The university was limited in its response to calls for the deportation of Congresswomen of color as well as verbal attacks against women and people of color by participants in the July 2019 Trump Rally, held in Minges Coliseum.

In light of present social unrest, ECU has shown greater support for the right of individual speech than concern for what for some members of our community experience as a racially hostile environment. Individuals have made public social media posts harassing and threatening our minoritized members of our campus community; however, the university has so far chosen to address these community harms privately. Moreover, all speech at ECU is not treated equally. When the collective ECU Marching Band in consultation with university administration in 2016 demonstrated against police brutality, their voices were silenced as a community and alumni condemned student actions under the guise of patriotism.  Those students who were in their first year in 2016, both in the band and in the broader ECU community, are now seniors. And, much to our shame, we have made little change in policies, practices, or administrative accountability. Shame on us.

ECU’s policy on Non Discrimination states that it is against the policies of East Carolina University to create a hostile environment for an individual or group because of the individual’s age, color, creed, disability, gender, genetic information, national origin, political affiliation, race/ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran’s status (FM, Part XII.II). As members of the East Carolina University faculty, we are committed to working toward lasting and meaningful change. This means more than simply handing out degrees; we must instill in our students the historical, philosophical and ethical tools to shape a world in which racial justice is the norm, not the exception. In addition, we believe that in order for our students to thrive in a globally intertwined world, it is imperative that they leave from here with the intercultural competence to navigate the world of work today and in the future (Williams, 2013).

We take this charge seriously and therefore offer the following broad initiatives for the 2020-2021 school year:

1. We will form a Senate committee tasked with tracking racial justice and equity issues across campus, particularly with regard to curriculum development. Some examples of initiatives should include, but not be limited to:

  • Time and professional development for faculty to create an inclusive curriculum;
  • Time and professional development for faculty to learn how to facilitate difficult dialogues including those regarding race and racism;
  • Mandatory faculty-led implicit bias workshops at the department; and,
  • Implementation of a diversity and inclusion professional development requirement.

2. The Committee on Committees will be tasked with extending opportunities to discuss faculty senate and committee representation by minoritized faculty (with a target of October 2020).

3. ECU must have a stronger investment in the recruitment and retainment of Black and Brown faculty. Collectively we must shoulder the burden of racial justice work and recognize the emotional work performed by minoritized colleagues who are disproportionately asked to serve as racial representatives on committees, and as mentors to peers and our students. Currently, the ratio of Black students to faculty is 1 to 36, not accounting for the disproportionate distribution of these faculty in graduate and professional programs. The number of faculty of color teaching 1000 level courses, to the exclusion of education professionals teaching COAD 1000, can be counted on one’s hands. These are the faculty responsible for inducting new students into our campus and this body of faculty lacks racial and ethnic diversity. There are several units without any Black faculty and few undergraduate alumni who speak to having more than one Black faculty member during their time at ECU. This state of affairs is unacceptable as it is a travesty of learning opportunities. We are depriving our undergraduates across racial groups of the educational experiences and support provided by a diverse and inclusive faculty.

4. We demand that the Office of Faculty Excellence hire a full-time equity and inclusion director of professional development to guide faculty in the implementation of the above goals. This individual must have faculty credentials meeting at the level of tenured associate professor and have expertise concomitant to the role. This must be an institutional priority.

5. We request the provision of resources to the Office for Equity and Diversity (OED) for the support of employee resource groups. This should include an administrative assistant to begin at half time dedicated to scheduling and coordinating faculty and connecting faculty to student groups.

6. We request the dissemination of diversity, equity, and inclusion goals for academic administrators from the department chair level on up. These goals must include accountability measures and specified methods to hold administrators accountable for equity in hiring, faculty turnover, and unit climate. We also request data on faculty employment by race disaggregated by college to be included in the OED annual report. We respect the need for faculty privacy and support the use of * as a symbol to report cell sizes under five.

We are committed to leveraging the Faculty Senate and its Committees, and to working in partnership with the faculty at large, in order to study and adopt these and other concrete policies during AY 2020-21.  We hold ourselves accountable to ensure that faculty, through their teaching, research and service, contribute meaningfully toward the eradication of racism in our campus, our community and our country.



Cole, E. R., & Harper, S. R. (2017). Race and rhetoric: An analysis of college presidents’ statements on campus racial incidents. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 10(4), 318–333. https://doi.org/10.1037/dhe0000044

Williams, D. A. (2013). Strategic diversity leadership: Activating change and transformation in higher education. Stylus Publishing, LLC.


To Show Your Support

You are invited to show your support for this statement by adding your name to those of the Faculty Officers. Fill out the form here and your name will be added below. The list will be updated throughout the day. If you experience issues with the form, please contact us.


The following faculty, staff, and students have added their names in support of the statement:

Full NameDepartment/Unit/Office
Dr. Anna FroulaDepartment of English
Julie StanleyCOE
Dmitry TuminBSOM Department of Pediatrics
Anne TicknorCollege of Education
Susan C. PearceSociology
Michele StaceyCriminal Justice
Brandon N. KylePsychiatry and Behavioral Medicine
Karen Vail-SmithHealth Education and Promotion
Dr. Wanda Lynn LancasterDepartment of Advanced Nursing Practice & Education
Dr. Helena FederEnglish, HCAS
Jim AloorEast Carolina Diabetes and Obesity Institute
Joseph G. L. LeeHealth Education and Promotion
Marylaura PapalasForeign Languages & Literatures
Margaret BlomeGeological Sciences
Isabel C GaySchool of Dental Medicine
Aaron F. LucierStudent Affairs/ Adjunct Education
Patrick Michael RiderKinesiology/HHP
Judy SiguawCollege of Business
David HisleALS Research & Instructional Services
Paige AverettSchool of Social Work
Lou Anne BaldreeCollege of Nursing
Courtney CaiolaCollege of Nursing, Department of Nursing Science
Jeffrey JohnsonEnglish
Jonathan MorrisPolitical Science
Amanda HaberstrohLaupus Health Sciences Library
Cynthia DealeSchool of Hospitality Leadership
Emily Pauline YeagerRecreation Sciences
Hans L. Tillmann, MD, FAASLDBrody School of Medicine, Dept. Medicine, Div. Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition.
Marianne MontgomeryEnglish
Todd FraleyHonors College
Regis M GilmanAcademic Outreach, Continuing and Distance Education
Derek MaherDept of Philosophy and Religious Studies; Harriot College
Jennifer OverstreetJoyner Library Special Collections
Amanda Hartman McLellanAcademic Library Services
Amy CurtisJoyner Library
Ryan J. MartinHealth Education & Promotion
David P. Thomson, MS, MD, MPAEmergency Medicine, BSOM
Nicole I. CaswellEnglish
Sharon M. BallardHuman Development & Family Science
Amy McMillanManagement/College of Business
Jennifer McKinnonHistory
C. Kim StokesPA Studies/College of Allied Health Sciences
Michelle F. EbleEnglish
Dan ThomasConstruction Management
Kelley Reinsmith-JonesSchool of Social Work
Amanda Ann KleinEnglish Department, THCAS
John Anders CarlsonSchool of Theatre and Dance
Jayme HostSchool of Theatre and Dance
Catherine A. RigsbyGeological Sciences
Annette GreerBioethics and Interdisciplinary Studies
William P BanksEnglish/University Writing Program
Sitawa KimunaSociology
Jonathan A. ReidHistory
Carol Ogus WoodruffECU Career Services
Jennifer MatthewsHealth Education and Promotion
Kelly AndersonOT/ College of Allied Health Sciences
Dr. Jennifer M. ValkoDepartment of Foreign Languages and Literatures
Allison CroweCounselor Education, College of Education
Jill Matarelli CarlsonSchool of Theatre and Dance
Colin BurnsChemistry
James C. Fletcher, MD, FACEPDepartment of Emergency Medicine - Brody School of Medicine
John T. Fallon, MDPathology, Brody SOM
Kelley Hulihan MS, PA-CPhysician Assistant Studies
Helen DixonHistory
Beth BeeGeography, Planning, and Environment
Jocelyn NelsonSchool of Music
Stacey MeardonPhysical Therapy
Michael D. BakerDepartment of Psychology
Angela RaperEnglish
Beth W. OsborneSchool of Social Work
Brian L. MasseySchool of Communication
Linda QuickCollege of Business/Accounting
Rita SoulenLibrary Science, College of Education
Donna J. KainEnglish
Jo Anne G. BalanayHealth Education and Promotion
Dale KnickerbockerForeign Languages and Literatures
Melinda D KaneSociology
Ariel G. RobinsonCareer Services
Stacy L. WeissSpecial Education, Foundations & Research/COE
Brandy DanielsCampus Living
Cheryl Dudasik-WiggsEnglish Department, THCAS
Jamie BlossLaupus Health Sciences Library
Robert G CarrollMedical Education
Angie JenkinsEducational Leadership
Rebecca AschDepartment of Biology, THCAS
Jay NewhardPhilosophy and Religious Studies
Adriana Heimann RiosGeological Sciences
Lisa Beth RobinsonSchool of Art & Design
Patricia AndersonCollege of Education, Dept. of ELMID
Angela LamsonHuman Development and Family Science
Professor James Anthony McKernanCollege of Education, Cultural Foundations of Education (SEFR)
Crystal WatersECU Career Services
Michael DanielsHealth and Human Performance/ Social Work
Ruby HaynesCollege of Nursing
Eboni J. BaughHuman Development and Family Science
Dr. Kimberly D. ThompsonEnglish
Patrick HornBiology
Kate Taylor Harcourt-MedinaHuman Development and Family Science
Jim TisnadoSchool of Art and Design
Erol OzanTechnology Systems
Tricia Wilson-OkamuraForeign Languages and Literatures
Edward JacobsTheory, Composition & Musicology/School of Music
Tim NowakMusic Education
Mark Alan TaggartSchool of Music
Daniel ShirleySchool of Music
Loni CrumbInterdisciplinary Professions
Eleanor I CookALS Joyner Library
Ariane L PeraltaBiology
Jean-Luc ScemamaBiology
Christyn DolbierPsychology
Rachel GittmanBiology and Coastal Studies Institute
Alex DavisSchool of Music
Cynthia L. WagonerMusic Education and Therapy/School of Music/CFAC
Cindy Putnam-EvansHarriot College of Arts and Sciences
Denise DonicaOccupational Therapy
John HobenBiology, Water Resources Center
Kristen OrrBiology
Tamra Jo ChurchHealth Education and Promotion
John StillerBiology
Eric HorsmanGeological Sciences
Jacob HochardEconomics
Eleanor BakerBiology
Stephen GrayDisability Support Services / Student Affairs
Heather RiesMathematics
Marjorie RinglerEducational Leadership
Beth ThompsonBiology
John KramarSchool of Music/Vocal Studies
Burrell MontzGeography, Planning, and Environment
Kimberly AndersonCollege of Education
Rodney C. RobertsPhilosophy & Religious Studies
Jason MoseHealth Services and Information Management
Dr. Andrea KittaEnglish
Kimberly RogersCoastal Studies, Integrated Coastal Programs
Margit SchmidtBiology
Chris UlffersSchool of Music
Cynthia Grace-McCaskeyAnthropology & Integrated Coastal Programs
Deborah R.MoodyStudent Affairs - L.W.G. Inter-Generational Community Center
Shahab A. AkhterCardiovascular Sciences BSOM
Nicole FranklinSchool of Music
Marianna WalkerCommunication Sciences and Disorders
Jessica TeagueSchool of Theatre and Dance
Rachel BakerFaculty Senate
Carol A. JohnstonHuman Development and Family Sciences
Andrea VanDeusenSchool of Music
Johanna HannanPhysiology/BSOM
Patrick HarrisBiology
Otto RehfeldOffice of Data Analysis & Strategy
Jeffrey McKinnonBiology
Jami RhodesVocal Studies/School of Music/CFAC
Dr. Heidi BonnerCriminal Justice
Gabe DugganSchool of Art and Design
John Bibby O’BrienKeyboard Studies Music
Joshua GardnerEnglish
Catherine GardnerSchool of Music
Carol GoodwillieBiology
Jay JuchniewiczSchool of Music
Scott WalfieldCriminal Justice
Kristen GregoryCollege of Education, Department of Elementary and Middle Grades Education
Keiko SekinoSchool of Music
Jie YangSchool of Social Work
Aisha PowellCollege of Business
Ronny Antonio BellPublic Health/Brody School of Medicine
Virginia DriscollMusic Education and Therapy
Tonya Ramona SmithTEDI BEAR CAC
Brittney HarrellECU Graduate Admissons
Nancy KeithECU Pediatrics- TEDI BEAR CAC
Scott CurtisGeography, Planning and Environment
Cheryl V. ElhammoumiCollege of Nursing
Quonice PaytonInternal Medicine
Matthew K. SmithNews Services and Research, Economic Development and Engagement
Suzanne Manizza RoszakEnglish
Katie MacPhersonInternal medicine
Madison TyndallJoyner Library
Hannah M. BarnettFamily Medicine Research Division
Teresa A. DavisFinancial Services
Brianna RobertsITCS, Client Engagement and Support
Karlene CunninghamPsychiatry and Behavioral Medicine
Ryan KirkMathematics
Stephen J. CulverGeological Sciences
Dede SmallsRegistrar's Office
Laurie B GodwinITCS and SOAD
Latoya Evett MobleyPediatrics
Gina FirnhaberCollege of Nursing
Tyshyia Nicole WilliamsECU School Of Dental Medicine
Chris BaillieBiology
Kimberly WinslowDept of Human Resources
Jennifer-Scott MobleySchool of Theatre and Dance
Dr. Erika Katherine JohnsonSchool of Communication
Karen C. RuppRegistrar Office
Seo EoSchool of Art and Design
Amy D. FagansCOB/FINA
R. Martin ReardonEducational Leadership
Margaret BauerEnglish
Melissa SpainAthletics
Madison HeffentragerGeography, Planning, and Environment
Jasper LeavittBiology
Desirae D. RiversECU Pediatrics- TEDI BEAR CAC
Jacquelyn MalletteHuman Development and Family Science
Joshua KillianChemistry/Kneeling 19
Ralph ScottAcademic Library Services
Rebecca A. Snyder, MD, MPHDepartment of Surgery
Angela Marie NovakElementary and Middle Grades/College of Education
Karen D. JonesCollege of Education, Dept of Ed Leadership
Craig MarshallSchool of Hospitality Leadership
Katherine FordForeign Languages and Literatures
Patricia A. SuggsUniversity Advancement
Janet H. SandersTechnology Systems
Alexandra VenutoGraduate Biology
Sharon McNeilITCS
Lok PokhrelDepartment of Public Health/Department of Health Education and Promotion
Liz JonesBiology
Deborah CulbertsonCSDI
Dr. Marame GueyeEnglish
David P. ConradtPolitical Science, Professor Emeritus
E. Thomson Shields, Jr.English
David SiegelEducational Leadership
Vanina WekamBiology
Lida CopeEnglish
Stacey R. AltmanKinesiology
Sheena EaganBioethics & Interdisciplinary Studies
Alice RichmanHealth Education and Promotion
Eric SouleHealth Education and Promotion
Renee Safford-WhiteECU Medical & Health Sciences Foundation, Inc.
Holly F. MathewsAnthropology
Chelsea StoweBSOM Dept. of Pediatrics
Allen DennisAcademic Technologies
Patricia DragonAcademic Library Services
Lynnsay MarsanBiology
Jukelia BessCenter for Health Disparities
Jill TwarkForeign Languages and Literatures
LaTrenda Shenane BrittAthletics/Pirate Club
Kirstin SquintEnglish
Gera Samuel Miles Jr.English & Ethnic Studies
Randall MartocciaEnglish
Claudia M. WilliamsInternal Medicine
Mark D. JohnsonDepartment of English
Stacy TrackenbergBiology
Matthew CoxEnglish
Rebecca JohnsonUniversity Writing Center
Tracy Ann MorseEnglish
Kristin Z. BlackHealth Education and Promotion
Michael AcetoEnglish
Cassandra HawkinsPediatrics/TEDI BEAR
Keith H. Nelson, MDObstetrics and Gynecology
Cameron EignerEnglish
Rachel RoperMicrobiology & Immunology, Brody School of Medicine
Wendy SharerEnglish
Patricia RoullardCollege of Education
Guiseppe GettoEnglish
Xiaoming ZengHealth Services and Information Management
Kimberley Gise DDSSurgical Sciences/School of Dental Medicine
David SmithForeign Languages and Literatures
Krista McCoyBiology
Don ChaneyHealth Education and Promotion
Emily TateBiology
Anna AlbrightBiology
Lucas Antonio John Tidmarsh CortesBiology
Atta AhmadBiology
Christopher BalakrishnanBiology
Claudia DalyBSOM
Brian GloverEnglish
Ed StellwagBiology/THCAS
Reginald Wade WatsonEnglish
Luke WhisnantEnglish
Sunghan KimEngineering
April BlakesleeBiology
Emily ScottBiology
Amanda Williams, DA IISchool of Dental Medicine
George Carlyle Martin IVCommunication
Elizabeth AblesBiology
Susan Latham Phelps, RN ECU Women's Physicians
Rene SotoHHP
Matthew EganSchool of Art and Design
Michelle ChamberlainBiology
Jason T. RauppHistory
Heather Vance-ChalcraftBiology
David ChalcraftBiology
Joan MansfieldSchool of Art & Design
Tiffany Sheppard - AllgoodOffice of Educational Support, Faculty Development & Continuing Education
Dr. Keisha BrownDept. Of Human Resources
Liza WielandDepartment of English; Harriot College
Marsha TaylorSchool of Dental Medicine
Amy McIntyreSchool of Art and Design
Barbara Smith CampbellReal Property
Lathan E. TurnerStudent Affairs/Visiting faculty COE
Monisha AtkinsonCollege of Education
Emory WellmanDepartment of Biology
Ryan GarriguesMicrobiology & Immunology
Emily JohnsonBiology
Laura MazowAnthropology
Gwendolyn TysonCollege of Nursing
Sandy AcheampongBSOM Office of Student Development and Academic Counseling
Doris LeachCollege of Nursing
Anne MalloryEnglish
Joy MorganCollege of Nursing
Christopher M. AndersonBiology
Derrance HughesCounseling Center
Matt PahlBiochemistry
Keith L. KeeneCenter for Health Disparities
Aimee West SmithPsychology
Mark RichardsonSchool of Music
James MorleyBiology
Benjamin BlaisdellCollege of Education
Alexander SchoemannPsychology
Paul HagerBiology
Audrey EavesPhysician Assistant Studies
Grace GardnerStudent
Linda Clark StevensLEED
Amanda PetersonCollege of Business/Accounting
James LoudonAnthropology
Erin FrostEnglish
Joseph ReidCollege of Business - Department of Accounting
Stephanie WallioPsychology, THCAS
Trip LambBiology
Catherine SchwartzCollege of Education
Siddhartha MitraGeological Sciences
David GriffithCoastal Studies/ Integrated Coastal Programs
Donna RackleyCollege of Nursing
Natasha BellEngineering and Water Resources Center
Antoni AguilarREDE
Regina DeWittPhysics, THCAS
Christy HowardCollege of Education
Mikkaka OverstreetCollege of Education
Jean L. MerendaCollege of Allied Health Sciences
Lisa BarricellaAcademic Library Services
William BlossCriminal Justice
Zach RobinsonMathematics
Leigh BelfordCollege of Education
Heidi PuckettEducational Leadership, College of Education
Alan R. BaileyAcademic Library Services, J.Y. Joyner Library
Claire AndersonStudent
Elizabeth SwaggertyCollege of Education
Tiffanie N. MooreInternal Medicine
Steven WolfPhysics, THCAS
Sambuddha banerjeeChemistry
Casey OliverEnglish
Kendra AlexanderUniversity Advancement