JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – ETSU faculty, staff and administrators are drafting the university’s strategic plan through the year 2025 that will have a large focus on a topic that hits close to home.
Wednesday a student disrupted a Black Lives Matter demonstration, wearing a gorilla mask and holding a banana, trying to provoke students.
Dr. Noland said ETSU has room for improvement but any other university president would say the same thing. Thursday he sat down with faculty and staff for the first time to present a look at the draft of the university’s strategic plan that has a large focus on diversity and inclusion on campus.
“We’ve begun to really ask a series of questions about what is our role as a place of civil discourse, what is our role to facilitate conversation and discussion among diverse groups,” Dr. Noland said.
The disruption still lingers on his mind. “I didn’t sleep well lastnight, I’m nervous for our community,” Dr. Noland said.
Despite the disruption he’s proud of the community’s response.
“If all of us could show the bravery and the fortitude that our students demonstrated yesterday, we’d be a better place,” Dr. Noland said.
ETSU Director of Multicultural Affairs, Laura Terry said she wants students to learn from this experience.
“If anyone does upset them, that we don’t have to do bad to go with bad, that you can turn a bad into a good,” Terry said.
ETSU Junior, Nathan Farnor is pleased with the school’s response.
“I have never been so proud to be a student at ETSU,” Farnor said.
Dr. Noland said it’s now time to heal and that’s what the university is attempting to do together.
Dr. Noland will present his state of the university address Monday. He told News Channel 11 he will reveal more about ETSU’s plan for diversity and inclusion as they continue the conversation.