The Office for Inclusion and Diversity and the Division of Student Affairs gathered Nov. 4, for a discussion titled “Finding Common Ground: Reflecting and Connecting after the 2020 Election.”

Virginia Tech President Tim Sands introduced the participants – Menah Pratt-Clarke, vice president for strategic affairs and diversity, and Frank Shushok Jr., vice president for student affairs. Michele Deramo, assistant provost for diversity education, moderated the discussion, which can be watched in its entirety below.

In preparation for the conversation, campus and local community members were asked to share the social, political, or social justice issues that were most important to them, regardless of their political affiliations. More than 150 responses were submitted.

Racism and social inequality emerged as the primary concern. Economic inequities were also a significant concern, as well as the pandemic and the state of health care. People were also asked to share their core values, which included mutual respect, civility, honesty, integrity, empathy, fairness, kindness, pluralism, and equity in opportunity and access.

Pratt-Clarke and Shushok often referred to Virginia Tech’s Principles of Community, diversity education, and available resources on having a productive dialogue.

For more information about this program, future programs, and resources, visit

Share this story