Responding to Racial Injustice

As a higher education institution, we believe in the dignity of each and every person. Wichita State University denounces racism in all forms and commit to working with our network to confront inequality and systemic racial injustice.

The United States has experienced tremendous strife over recent and past tragic killings of a number of young black men and women, including George Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ahmaud Arbery in Satilla Shores, Michael Brown in St. Louis, Sandra Blan in Waller County, Tamir Rice in Cleveland and the list goes on. We know that this loss of life stems from systemic racism and are but a small number of the black lives lost throughout our country's founding and history.

Given this precedent, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Care Team and Counseling and Prevention Services has developed some tips to help in responding to racial injustices.

What is Racial Injustice?

Racial injustice is a term used when people are denied rights based on their race or racial background. It includes discrimination based on race or ethnicity in voting, employment, housing and the administration of justice.

Help Yourself


Steps to take care of yourself and help you cope:

  • Acknowledge how you are feeling and do not try to downplay your own emotions - use mindfulness to help you connect to how you are feeling
  • Stay connected to others who are affirming
  • Seek counseling
  • Enjoy what you normally use to cope, such as exercising, enjoying media, cooking, etc.
  • Unplug from social media

Racial Trauma

Racial trauma is the term used to describe the emotional and physical reaction People of Color (PoC) often have to acts of racism. People of Color may react to acts of racism with fear and hypervigilance, headaches, insomnia, body aches, memory difficulty, self-blame, confusion, shame and guild after experiencing racism. The more often one experiences acts of racism, the more profound these symptoms can be.

What to do when encountering racial injustice:

  • Know your rights
  • Seek out someone you can confide in and pursue reporting if you choose
  • Connect with others - we cannot fight with injustice alone
  • Remember the system we live in and others do not determine your worth, dignity and humanity
  • Never forget that you matter
  • Know your limits and triggers

Conflict on Campus

What to do when encounting conflict on campus:

  • Take note of what happened to you and others so that you can report clearly and accurately
  • Seek reporting if you feel safe to
  • Seek opportunities for mediation from offices like the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Care Team or Student Conduct and Community Standards
  • Continue to follow up during and after the process
  • Understand the response you receive may not be the outcome you originally sought


Get connected:

  • Get involved with campus and community organizations to seek change and support
  • Support others who have experienced similar injustices
  • Continue with your personal goals
  • Educate yourself on:
    • The difference between a hate crime and a bias incident
    • Your rights
    • Resources available on campus
    • Your own biases, stereotypes and stigma

Help Someone Else

Helping someone in need is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

1. Share

Share Empathy. If you feel a friend, student, instructor or colleague is struggling, let them know you see them and that you are listening. Let them know whatever they are feeling is okay.

2. Ask

Ask Directly. After listening to their concern, ask specifically what support is wanted or needed. A better understanding of your role can help guide you in suggesting resources.

3. Support

Keep Supporting. You do not have to be an expert, but should educate yourself on campus resources. Help direct to resources they may want or need, then offer to help connect them by calling or walking with them to these services if they feel comfortable doing so. Continue to check in.

Responses to Avoid

There are several responses you should avoid when helping others respond to racial injustice:

  • Downplaying their situation - "I'm sure they didn't mean it!"
  • Expressing personal biases - "What did you expect to happen when you..."
  • Getting caught up in the technicalities or legalities of the situation - "Did you say something to provoke them?"
  • Assuming you know exactly what they need - "Well we don't need to involve them..."


We have several resources that can help assist with any forms of racial injustice at Wichita State University. Below are a list of departments and community organizations that are here to support you:

Care Team

The Care Team provides a proactive and supportive multidisciplinary team approach to prevention, assessment and intervention for situations that may interfere with students or employees functioning to their full potential. Concerns can be submitted online and can be submitted anonymously.

Counseling and Prevention Services (CAPS)

Counseling and Prevention Services provides quality mental health services to enrolled students, faculty and staff and presents programs and training on topics promoting personal growth and optimal wellbeing. Services are by appointment, low cost and confidential. CAPS is located at the Student Wellness Center inside the Steve Clark YMCA and can be reached via phone at (316) 978-4SWC (4792).

Human Resources

Wichita State University's Human Resources works to hire, compensate, support and develop a diverse workforce dedicated to delivering high-quality services to the community. The department is repsonsible for providing programs that deliver a foundation for excellence and provide equal opportunity for employees and the public. The range of services include staffing, compensation/classification, performance management, diversity and employee relations, benefit management, career and organizational development.

Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI)

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion aims to cultivate and sustain an inclusive campus. We strive for academic excellence by creating an environment that educates, empowers and mobilizes our students, campus and community. In our community, our members view themselves as ambassadors for fundamental freedoms and respect the differences in others.

The office provides dynamic programs, which range from speakers and film showings to award ceremonies, cultural festivities and LGBTQA programming — each representing a small piece of the diversity displayed on the WSU campus. The ODI is located on the 2nd floor of the Rhatigan Student Center in suite 208.

Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance

Wichita State University strives to provide an educational, employment and contracting environment that reflects its mission and promotes a deep understanding and appreciation among the diverse members of the University community. It is essential that all members of the community feel included and engaged, and that the contributions of all individuals are respected. All members of the Wichita State University community have a responsibility to uphold these values.

The Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance is committed to preventing and eliminating discrimination or harassment based on race color, national origin, pregnancy, sex age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, veteran status, political affiliation or political philosophy. The office is located in the Human Resources Building.

Title IX

Title IX is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on sex in federal funded education programs and activities. This includes, and is not limited to admissions, financial aid, academic advising, housing, athletics, recreational services, college residential life programs, health services, counseling and psychological services, Office of the Registrar, classroom assignments, grading and discipline.

SGA Student Advocate

The Student Advocate is an executive, non-partisan member of the Student Government Association at Wichita State University, who is available to assist you with problems that have not been resolved by other offices on campus. This member is located in Rhatigan Student Center 219.

University Police Department

The University Police Department's mission is to ensure our entire community receives quality law enforcement services in a fair and compassionate manner while enhancing the educational experience of our students by providing them with guidance and support.

Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center (WASAC)

Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center works with individuals and communities through comprehensive services and education to create a culture of intolerance for sexual violence and an atmosphere of healing for those impacted by it. We strive towards a community free of the occurrence and threat of sexual violence. The center is located at 355 N. Waco, Suite 100, Wichita KS 67202.

Nationwide Unrest

Wichita State stands with those who have been inflicted by injustice. Read full statement.