Letter to the editor: Core values of key importance to the campus community

Dr. Shay Little

Dear Students—

As we close another semester and another calendar year, I write to share my thoughts about our community and the privilege it is to serve Kent State as the vice president for student affairs. 

I often challenge you to become your best selves. Many of you eagerly respond by pursuing your personal passions while leveraging your academic talents to define your purpose and mission. This fall, I observed many students living their passion through engagement in the election process either by campaigning for candidates running for office or encouraging others to register and vote. 

I also observed student organizations standing for what they believe in: The Black United Students, Muslim Student Association, PRIDE! Kent, Ohio Student Association, Spanish and Latino Student Association, and Students for Justice in Palestine — among others — raised their voices and invited all of us to play a role in the process. 

As we work to become our best selves, we also find many ways to bring our community together. We support our student-athletes on the courts and fields. We encourage one another in the dining halls and residence halls.

We challenge one another in the classroom. We support one another in the most difficult times. We celebrate our individual and collective successes. 

As the Flashes, one of our core values is showing kindness and respect in all we do. Recently, there have been reports of repugnant incidents that are not aligned with this core value.

Respect for individuals and all the identities we represent such as our race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, gender identity, sexual orientation, veteran status, disabilities and political ideology is paramount at Kent State.  We aim for this very special community to be elevated by our advocacy for social justice as we seek opportunities to listen to and engage with one another in genuine, respectful dialogue. 

We are Golden Flashes.  And as Golden Flashes, I ask you to help us to respect the core value that define our community. At the same time, I offer my thanks to the many students within the last few weeks who have challenged me to also live true to this core value.

Faculty and staff are in your corner. We want to see you succeed. We are here to celebrate your successes, support you in your deepest sorrows and challenge you to expand your worldview.

University Stewards have been trained to listen to and support you if you feel disrespected or devalued. These informal and neutral resources are also available to share in moments when you feel affirmed and respected.

In your quietest moments and especially in those moments when you feel the most alone or uncertain, we are in your corner.  We believe in your pursuit of your personal mission – your unique and important purpose.

As we say in our school song: “We’re all together, Let’s go forward, K-S-U!”  

I encourage you to report incidents incongruent with our core values by calling 330.672.4050 or emailing [email protected]. Let’s engage in respectful dialogue about the most challenging issues facing our community and our world while showing what it truly means to be a Golden Flash.

All my best,

Shay Little

Vice President for Student Affairs