A message from Dr. Martin regarding the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha

Dr. Martin, MATC President, matcpresident@matc.edu

August 25, 2020

Dear MATC Community:

Our state and our nation are once again confronted with the shooting of a Black man by police — and the resulting trauma. (Information about access to mental health resources is available later in this message.)

Jacob Blake, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others underscore the need for systemic change now. We hope for Mr. Blake’s speedy recovery.

We cannot deny the role institutionalized racism plays throughout our society, including in law enforcement. There is a need for reform and we will be a part of that change. Our Criminal Justice Studies associate degree program and our Police Academy recognize the important role education plays and have added curriculum to strengthen our focus on these important issues. For example, Academy students will receive a host of courses addressing ethics, implicit bias and cultural competencies.

I applaud Governor Tony Evers’ response for a special session to address police reform. As an institution of higher education, we have committed ourselves to the change we need for racial justice.

We have continued to focus employee professional development on diversity, equity and inclusion — including through speakers Dr. Luke Wood and Reggie Jackson. Black employees can connect with our African American Network through co-chair Walter Lanier.

For students, Dean of Student Experience Equan Burrows and his team will continue to be focused on diversity, equity and inclusion along with cultural competency. Students can contact him directly. The college also offers its Multicultural Services team as a resource. Students are also invited to attend a virtual event Wednesday, August 26, hosted by our Black Student Union and the new BIPOC Allies student group: “The Right Now! What Now? Vibe Check.” 

We must commit to closing equity gaps so that more Black students and students of color succeed. The new Pathways model that all students have entered this Fall semester can help do just that, as Georgia State University has shown us. To succeed, however, it will take our intentional focus on meeting the needs of our Black students and students of color.

We have built both the Pathways model and diversity, equity and inclusion into our next strategic plan. It is our roadmap to greater success over the next five years and will be launched later this fall.

Students and employees, if you have additional strategies that you believe will help us focus more on racial justice as well as diversity, equity and inclusion, I invite you to share them with the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee, led by Dr. Wilma L. Bonaparte, Mequon Campus executive director.

Finally, as this new semester begins, we know that this new trauma and so many others may be creating or compounding real mental health challenges for students and employees, particularly Black students and employees. For mental health assistance, see these options:

  • OPTUM provides a free, emotional support helpline for anyone at 866-342-6892 with caring professionals to connect people to resources 24 hours a day, seven days per week
  • The QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Institute at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) is available if you are concerned about your own safety or mental health, or someone else’s
  • Employees in need can utilize our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) by calling 800-236-3231 or visiting aurora.org/eap

Thank you for your time and attention on this important issue that affects our college community.


Vicki J. Martin, Ph.D.
Milwaukee Area Technical College