Vice President's Message on Diversity and Inclusion

Dear LSU AgCenter and College of Agriculture faculty and staff,

I am not only saddened by the events of recent weeks, but also frustrated that so many Americans are still experiencing the pain of racial inequalities. It is tragic that it has taken loss of lives to force us reexamine our justice and civil rights systems.

We must acknowledge injustices exist and actively work to address them when we encounter them in all forms. We cannot ignore discrimination and must examine our own biases and actions that might propagate inequality.

The AgCenter and College of Ag need to explore actions and implement change that confront racism and promote diversity and inclusion more effectively within our organization. These actions will provide support for minority colleagues, students, and staff, as well as the communities and families we serve.

Proposed actions:

  • Empower a joint AgCenter and College diversity council to help tackle issues related to race, gender, equal opportunity and disability.
  • Conduct open workshops and training that foster diversity and inclusion.
  • Develop an educational module on diversity, equity, and inclusion to be used in courses and new employee orientation.
  • Include in strategic plans a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion creating a safe and welcoming environment for learning, research and outreach.

We have an opportunity to listen to each other and do a better job of realizing that our experiences are not necessarily the same as our coworkers, friends, neighbors, and others in our community. We must make sure that the learning and work environment is safe and inclusive.

The LSU AgCenter has long been committed to serving all of Louisiana’s diverse citizens. Now, it is more imperative than ever that we meet the needs of everyone and that our programs and employment are diverse, equitable and inclusive.

2020 has tested us physically and emotionally — from COVID-19, social distancing and virtual work, classes and programs to social unrest and racial tensions across the nation. The AgCenter and College of Ag will become stronger as we work through these challenges, foster change, be held accountable and create a welcoming environment for everyone.

Be safe and keep up the great work of educating students and providing information to the citizens of Louisiana.

Luke Laborde, Ph.D.
Interim LSU Vice President for Agriculture
and Dean, College of Agriculture

September 7, 2021

Innovate . Educate . Improve Lives

The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture