Higher Ed Leadership Takes on Racism

National Association of Scholars

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In the wake of the killing of George Floyd, and the subsequent rash of protests sweeping the nation, many college and university leaders began the now familiar process of appeasement. College presidents, deans, boards of trustees members, and other administrators came out in droves to denounce "systemic racism."

However, this flood of denunciations took on a new form. College presidents began to declare an additional "commitment to anti-racism," which was anything but. At the same time, many began to openly admit their complicity in "perpetuating systemic racism" or "systems of oppression."

These empty platitudes were meant to assuage the irate constituencies on campus, but they may have put colleges and universities in hot water.

That's why the National Association of Scholars is publishing statements we've garnered from over 300 colleges, universities, and educational institutions across the nation that illustrate the lengths to which higher ed leaders have gone to elevate and institutionalize racial conflict.

As part of this work, NAS wrote to every leader, asking them to elaborate on their statements and explain how exactly their institutions are perpetuating racism. We received responses from 45 university leaders, 44 of which are included in the downloads on this page. These responses from university leaders have been redacted to protect the identity of the correspondent and the university or college which they represent. One respondent requested that their letter not be made public in any way, and so we have not published that letter. Should any institution see material on here that should be redacted or removed, please contact the NAS.

We left out a number of college and university statements marked as copyrighted material, and have endeavored to remove any materials marked as such.

At this point, higher ed leadership is well-versed in the rules of the social justice game. When students, faculty, or administrators demand "action," presidents and deans happily respond in due time with melodramatic, self-flagellating statements declaring their commitment to bring about "lasting change." Never mind how much money these far-fetched plans will cost, how effective they will be, or, in most cases, the threat to academic freedom they will inevitably necessitate. What's important is that those in our colleges and universities will be able to proudly say, "My school is anti-racist!" 

But the NAS sees through the façade, and we will hold college and university presidents accountable for their careless "virtue" signalling.

Click the buttons below to download our curated collection of statements, as well as the responses we have received:

Download a Word document of the statements

Download a PDF of the statements

Download an Excel chart of the responses

We also list the statements below. Click on one of the green buttons to expand/collapse the corresponding statement. To search for a particular institution, follow these instructions:

Mac Users: Hold the command key and press F. This will cause a search bar to appear. Type the institution name into the search bar, and your browser will navigate you to the corresponding statement, if it is in our database.

Windows Users: Same steps as above, except hold the control key and press F rather than command.

Note: Most statements were originally in email form, meaning they are public information and may be reproduced on our webpage without permission. However, some only exist on the institution's website, in which case we may not be able to repost. In those instances, we have marked the statement with an asterisk (*) and provide the link to the institution's website.

There is no doubt that our country is at a pivotal moment, and we are hurting. We must always respect one another, and choose love and compassion over hatred and violence. The deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor are a tragic, and all too frequent, reminder that there is still much work to be done.

ACU doesn’t typically comment on national issues; however, this is a good time to restate both our values and our commitment to racial reconciliation. Our core values include fostering a climate of respect and appreciation for all individuals. We have long been engaged in the process of reconciliation. At times we’ve made great progress. At other times, we have, regrettably, been part of the problem, yet our steadfast commitment is to celebrate diversity, and every individual, as being uniquely created in God’s image.

We continually seek God’s wisdom and guidance as we work to identify and address issues within our campus community, and promote open dialogue that advances unity. As people of faith, we all must be part of the solution, and our campus should lead the way by demonstrating how mutual respect and appreciation for one another can lead to harmony.

I hope you will join me in seeking God’s counsel through prayer to discern how we can each make a difference. I hope you and your family will have thoughtful, serious conversations around these issues, as I am with mine. We must address the reality of racism as individuals, within our families and in our communities. ACU must be a light in the darkness.

In Him,

Phil Schubert, Ed.D.

Lytle Center for Faith and Leadership

Our Statement of Support

by Dennis Marquardt | Jun 5, 2020

The Lytle Center for Faith and Leadership is committed to training up leaders of exemplary character – men and women who stand for what is right and just, no matter the cost. Our Center’s vision and mission is grounded in the teachings of Jesus Christ, teachings that point us to lead lives of service and to stand with those who are hurting, particularly the oppressed. That is why we stand with our communities of color at this time, unequivocally condemning injustice and any fragment of racism that may exist in society and especially in the churches and institutions that represent the name of Jesus. We mourn the murder of George Floyd. We hear the cries and voices of the African American community continuing to illuminate the fact that we still live in a time and in a nation where people of color are not seen or treated as equal. Black lives do matter and we are committed to fostering a listening environment and to being an active partner in helping that statement be true not just in word, but in spirit and action.

In the coming weeks we hope to be launching some conversational starting points about how our faith should inform us regarding race, racism, and organizational leadership issues.

Dennis J. Marquardt, PhD
Director, Lytle Center for Faith and Leadership
Abilene Christian University

For Immediate Release

June 19, 2020

Statement by AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine on the Celebration of Juneteenth

AERA, the field of education research, and the entire scientific community stand together in celebrating Juneteenth, the true second independence day of the United States. On this important day and at this critical turning point in our society, we express our deep commitment to taking affirmative steps to eradicate systemic racism and to addressing the racial trauma that has afflicted so many for far too long.

As AERA President Shaun Harper said in a May 31 statement, “As a community of researchers, we must unite to take bold, evidence-based action that exposes and ultimately ends the catastrophic police killings of unarmed Black people.” Through its programming, convenings, and other organizational channels, AERA is committed to taking concrete steps to fight racism in academia and throughout society.

We encourage all those engaged in education research, practice, and policy, and others who intersect with education in any way, to reflect on the meaning and significance of this day. We urge them to find ways in their daily lives to join in conversations and actions that break down personal racial barriers and biases. And we urge them to unite and make their voices heard by our national, state, and local leaders until institutionalized policies, procedures, and actions that discriminate against and harm Black Americans are dismantled.

Dear ASA Members:

Tony McDade. Breonna Taylor. Manuel Ellis. Ahmaud Arbery. George Floyd.

I am writing to you in my capacity as president of our organization to lift up these names and speak to the rebellion taking place in our midst across the United States and around the world. I do so in the last month of two tumultuous years during which I have had the honor to serve as ASA’s president-elect and president. Those two years have been marked by triumphs and tragedies and filled with joys and sorrow. While the ASA’s executive committee and national council are, respectively, the bodies empowered to issue statements and resolutions on behalf of the association, I have felt compelled by the murder of these and other African Americans in the midst of a pandemic to share my thoughts on how this explosive rupture of racial fault lines demands our attention and our action.

Over the past days and weeks, the public has learned the names that opened this statement because they are the most recent victims of a nation built on white supremacy, genocide, and colonialism. Once again, the system we live under has revealed in profound manner how it is served and protected by repressive policing that privileges private wealth over human life. Once again, the unequal burden has fallen on Black America to issue a national wake up call to remedy the intersecting plagues at the core of society. The New York Times could fill its front page every day for the next year with the names and stories of those falsely arrested, brutalized, or killed with impunity throughout US history and never come close to listing them all.

And, still, the list keeps growing. Italia Kelly. James Scurlock. David McAtee. Dorian Murrell. Sean Monterrosa. With every passing day, more families are forced to grieve for their loved ones killed under suspicious circumstances during the uprising. The numbers of those maimed and murdered continue to swell as the police and right-wing vigilantes respond to protests against police brutality and white supremacy with more and heightened acts of abuse and repression. Though we must respect the distinctiveness of the present actions, there is at least one clear parallel with the late 1960s rebellions. The primary cause of bodily injury is a nationwide police riot by militarized forces seeking to intimidate not only protestors but also journalists, bystanders, and entire communities.

No one should doubt that these problems predate the Trump presidency. But the contradictions have become too glaring for growing numbers to ignore. When armed white men stormed a state capital, they were held up as a model of protest by the same president who condemned Colin Kaepernick and others for taking a knee. Trump and his enablers in the Justice Department and Congress have fabricated a war on “domestic terrorism” and invoked the Insurrection Act of 1807 to threaten the use of military force against US citizens and residents. Coming from a man who has not only encouraged police brutality but also honored war crimes as the highest form of service to the MAGA nation, this should be taken as no less than an outright embrace of fascist rule.

These facts make it more evident than ever that we must defund the police, prisons, ICE, and military in order to maximize our investment in human needs and social justice. However, transforming structures cannot occur without simultaneously decolonizing our collective mind and transforming our ways of thinking. In this regard, those based in academia have particular lessons to learn from organizers on the ground creating grassroots models of community solidarity rooted in de-escalation, nonviolent conflict resolution, and transformative justice. We must especially pay attention to the women, queer, trans*, disabled, and formerly incarcerated persons of color at the cutting-edge of these struggles. Every person who says the phrase, “Black Lives Matter,” should be sure to read the policy platform and call to action from the Movement for Black Lives.

A half-century ago, the radical visions of the Black movement fostered new models of organizing for self-defense within communities and solidarity across racial categories and national borders. The struggle against the police as an occupying army particularly galvanized the Black Panthers, American Indian Movement, Brown Berets, Young Lords, and Red Guards. Today, we see new bonds of global racial solidarity being consciously forged. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s “Statement of Support for George Floyd” reminds us of the deadly connection between state violence and the battle for clean water among Black and Indigenous peoples, opening our eyes to the promise of what Leanne Betasamosake Simpson (Nishnaabeg) calls “constellations of coresistance.” I am one of many Asian Americans challenged in this moment to commit what Soya Jung has called “model minority mutiny,” as inspired by activist groups like Desis Rising Up and Moving.

While we demand an end to the anti-Asian hate crimes caused by xenophobic scapegoating, we also know that a structural response to white supremacy in the United States must address its foundations in antiblackness and anti-Indigeneity. According to the department’s own statistics, the Minneapolis police use force against African Americans at 7 times the rate of whites. We should not hesitate to denounce the participation of MPD officer Tou Thao in the murder of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin in concert with Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng, as well as the reactionary ideologies at the core American culture that predicate Asian American advancement on Black oppression. We must simultaneously work within our communities and lift up the voices of mothers like Youa Vang, whose son, Fong Lee, was killed by the Minneapolis police. Vang recently delivered an impassioned expression of solidarity with George Floyd’s family at the Hmong for Black Lives rally.

Of course, we cannot forget that we remain in the midst of both a deadly, global pandemic and an economic depression unrivaled since the 1930s. By confirmed count, nearly 400,000 lives have been lost around the world and over 110,000 in the United States alone. Trump’s America lies at the center of the Covid-19 pandemic because of the systematic and intentional disregard for human life. For every 100,000 African Americans in the US, 55 have already lost their lives to Covid-19. Black folk have died at nearly 2.5 times the rate of whites. A few weeks ago, CNN reported that the Navajo Nation “surpassed New York and New Jersey for the highest per-capital coronavirus infection rate in the US.” Already deprived of human rights, Latinx asylum seekers have been denied basic health protections in detention.

The mortal threat of Covid-19 has not abated, and each demonstration is a potential super-spreader event. But there is no vaccine against state violence and white supremacist oppression. We should not be surprised, therefore, to see tens of thousands taking to the streets, when they are already haunted by the specter of premature death. Moreover, unemployment and the burden and risk inherent in “essential work” have fallen disproportionately on those who are Black, Brown, Indigenous, working-class, and immigrant. The scenes of workers scrambling to use makeshift masks on the job, while protestors are met by riot squads decked out like Stormtroopers, have served a pedagogical function. The need for health care and survival programs for oppressed communities will continue to skyrocket as the federal government skews its trickle-down bailout toward the priorities of Wall Street.

For those whose eyes were not opened wide enough, the rebellions have taught a critical lesson: When governance becomes a rationale for oppression, it is rational for people to become ungovernable.

James and Grace Lee Boggs offered a salient definition of rebellion in their book, Revolution and Evolution in the Twentieth Century (1974):

Rebellion is a stage in the development of revolution, but it is not revolution. It is an important stage because it represents the “standing up,” the assertion of their humanity on the part of the oppressed. Rebellions inform both the oppressed and everybody else that a situation has become intolerable. They establish a form of communication among the oppressed themselves and at the same time open the eyes and ears of people who have been blind and deaf to the fate of their fellow citizens. Rebellions break the threads that have been holding the system together and throw into question the legitimacy and the supposed permanence of existing institutions. They shake up old values so that relations between individuals and between groups within society are unlikely ever to be the same again. The inertia of the society has been interrupted.

We must be mindful of where we stand in history. The rebellions of the late 1960s occurred at the height of American power and the peak of liberal reform. They exposed the hypocrisy of a system that preached equality for all but delivered incremental advances that were overshadowed by rampant police brutality, severe class disparities, entrenched housing segregation, and heteropatriarchal violence.

As the establishment’s response to the rebellions, the Kerner Commission report comprised the most concerted effort to stabilize the system through proposals to fulfill the promises of liberal reform. It called for “unprecedented levels of funding” to make eradicating racism the nation’s highest priority. But it was immediately cast aside, even by President Johnson who commissioned it, paving the way for neoliberalism and mass incarceration to widen the social divides and intensify exploitation and dispossession. Since then, the substantive gains of the Civil Rights Movement have been systematically undermined by the assault on public education, the expansion of repressive policing under the banner of the “War on Crime,” the gutting of workers’ rights, the Federalist Society’s takeover of the courts, and right-wing schemes like extreme gerrymandering and voter suppression to nullify voting rights.

Today’s rebellions are symbols of an empire in decline and a system in crisis. As such, they carry both a new sense of possibility and an incredible sense of danger during this age of transition and uncertainty. A wide swath of the U.S. populace that naturalized the spoils of gendered, white, and imperial privilege—to the point that these became inherent traits of American citizenship—has been whipped into a moral panic as the emerging nonwhite majority changes the face of cities, popular culture, and politics. Some are well funded. Many are well armed. Aside from a small band of “Never Trumpers,” the Republican Party’s leadership has implicitly and explicitly endorsed rather than confront these increasingly dangerous elements of society. They seem intent to go to the grave with Trump, and it is foolhardy to assume that even a decisive electoral defeat of Trump will guarantee a peaceful transition of power. Such is the gravity of this time on the clock of the world.

Where does higher education go from here? While the pandemic has unleashed a new fiscal crisis and “shock doctrine” response, it has affirmed the key place of the university as a site of struggle. Scholarly research and expertise have proven indispensable to public health, promoting general wellbeing and exposing glaring inequities, while challenging and answering the gross incompetence of government officials. Upholding the basic tenets of higher education for the post COIVD world means we must continue to defend science in the public interest, affirm courageous and compassionate teaching, protect the status of graduate students and contingent faculty, and make college free and accessible for all. But these are baseline goals that do not even begin to address the glaring contradictions within academia.

I am mindful that engaged scholars can offer context, perspective, and pointed questions, but that we cannot claim the ability to lead or guide movements that must emerge and evolve through their own struggles. Those struggles belong to us, after all, only insofar as we join them. I am also mindful of the fact that statements are a dime a dozen these days. Particularly when coming from the mouths of academics, statements often read as tiresome and trite—not unlike the performative acts of cops kneeling with protestors or mayors pledging to do better… only to follow up with teargas, batons, and mass arrests.

As such, it is incumbent on those of us connected to academia to exert as much influence, defy conventional standards, disrupt the oppressive status quo, and foster substantive change in the places where we can immediately register an impact. Recognizing the patterns of exclusion and complicity that are ingrained in the history of our field variously known as “American Studies,” “American Civilization,” and “American Culture,” we must constantly and consciously hold our own organization accountable to the expectations we set for others.

The following are ten examples of concrete steps leaders of higher education, particularly those in predominantly white institutions, can take to address structures that reproduce antiblackness and white supremacy:

  1. Every institutional statement rightly expressing remorse or outrage at the death of George Floyd and other victims of racist violence must include substantive steps that institutions will take to confront antiblackness and white supremacy in admissions, hiring, retention, research, curriculum, fundraising, alumni and community relations, and athletics. We must remember that the Third World Liberation Front strikes fought not only to establish Ethnic Studies colleges but also for open admissions and accountability to tribal communities and working-class communities of color beyond the campus.
  2. Institutions should fully research and provide reparations for their active role and complicity in slavery and Jim Crow. Land acknowledgements should include substantive measures for institutions to make restitution for their active role and complicity in genocide, colonialism, and the dispossession of land from Indigenous peoples. Doing this work correctly means recognizing the grounded expertise of academic and community-based Black, Indigenous, and Ethnic Studies scholars, as well as providing employment and compensation that properly values this expertise.
  3. All schools should require intersectional knowledge of race and ethnicity to graduate. But we can push much further. Public university systems, like the University of California and University of Texas, should take the lead in making coursework on race and social justice required for admission of first-year and transfer students. This would compel immediate changes in high school and K-12 curriculum with a spillover effect on writing and publishing.
  4. Following the demands of student activists at the University of Minnesota, institutions should renounce ties and contracts with law enforcement agencies that systematically promote state violence and discrimination. Campus security forces should not be armed, should not have arrest power, and should not collaborate with ICE. The concept of the campus as a “sanctuary” to protect undocumented immigrants provides a model for interrupting state repression more broadly. Degree-granting programs should not serve as proxies for police academies. Instead, the university should function as an incubator for alternative models of conflict resolution rooted in abolitionist principles. Institutions must “ban the box” for university-based jobs and remove barriers to access, aid, and employment for currently and formerly incarcerated students and other justice-involved persons.
  5. Institutions need independent, external assessments of their leadership and administrative structures to eradicate antiblackness and white supremacy. Amy Cooper of the Central Park 911 scandal was a product of elite universities, which are filled with thousands like her in positions of power and influence read to weaponize white fragility at a momentʻs notice and perpetuate structural violence on a routine basis. The constant gaslighting and retaliation against those who challenge these structures must cease. As many have noted, the toothless “diversity and inclusion” statement or plan has become the academic version of sending “thoughts and prayers” to victims of mass shootings.
  6. Institutions must end the use of sham internal investigations into racist and heteropatriarchal discrimination and violence. As we have seen with the police, institutions are generally incapable of reforming themselves and quickly succumb to obvious conflicts of interest. Any institution that is not annually documenting the number of racial discrimination complaints it has sustained and remediated is almost certainly not taking any effective measures against institutional racism. Instead of top-down control by administrative appointees, offices conducting Title IX and civil rights investigations should involve direct input from diverse members of the university and conduct independent investigations led by mutually trusted third-party experts on equity for members of protected classes.
  7. Institutions must cease the repression and silencing of activists and protestors on their own campuses. A growing number of students have been subjected to arrest or academic discipline for demonstrating against entrenched structures of antiblackness and white supremacy. Students of color are often the ones rendered most vulnerable, including those from the #NotAgainSU movement led by Black students at Syracuse in February 2020 and Latinx students who protested the presence of Border Patrol at the University of Arizona in March 2019. Graduate student workers who struck for a cost of living adjustment at UC Santa Cruz have launched an academic boycott of the UC system in response to retaliatory firings.
  8. Institutions must defend academic freedom and free speech rights when they are threatened by governmental bodies and private actors from outside the university. The attempt to silence pro-Palestinian scholars and students at UCLA, my alma mater, is but one among many disturbing examples. We must end the double standard that exists within institutions that protect the First Amendment rights of white supremacists, while allowing or endorsing campaigns that seek retaliation against dissident voices.
  9. Institutions must prioritize the health not only of their own workforce but also the communities surrounding their campuses. It is not enough for colleges and universities to be good neighbors. Those that run hospitals have a particular responsibility to devote resources to eliminating health disparities. We can learn from the community activists who won a protracted campaign for the University of Chicago to open an adult Level I trauma center in 2018, the first on the city’s South Side in three decades. Such measures constitute concrete means to reverse the displacement and dispossession caused by institutions that have directly and indirectly advanced gentrification.
  10. Institutions must take steps to reverse the corporatization of higher education. Wealthy universities have become sites of obscene privilege where a senior administrative appointment serves as an entry ticket to the 1 percent. Despite some visionary exceptions worth highlighting, we have increasingly witnessed the rule of higher education by these 1 percenters driven by an alliance with the billionaire investor class. Colleges and universities increasingly resemble hedge funds and real estate investment trusts that value students as collateral in the form of future tuition payments. Institutions must divest from prisons, fossil fuels, and other toxic industries that aggravate systemic oppression and cause underlying conditions of societal inequity.

This list is neither meant to be exhaustive nor a ranked list of demands made in the voice of communities beyond the ASA. It is only meant to illustrate measures that higher education institutions can take to demonstrate they are serious about meaningful social change and equity.

As we strive to meet the immense challenges of this moment, I draw continuous inspiration from the dedicated work of the ASA’s socially conscious members and supporters. For our 2019 conference in Hawaiʻi, we centered the radical intellectual work and activism of Indigenous women and women of color at sites like Mauna Kea to advance the concept of “building the revolution as we fight.” Many of you answered our call to resist the destructive, genocidal effects of this rotting system, while acknowledging the imperative to create alternative means of survival and models of community from the ground up to address social problems that those in power cannot and will not solve.

Working with president-elect Dylan Rodriguez, the 2020 Program Committee has crafted a phenomenal agenda for Baltimore under the timely theme, “Creativity Within Revolt.” As their call cogently stated, “Revolt is a condition of being in ‘America’ for those who refuse to (or simply cannot) tolerate its normalized domestic and global productions of state and extra-state violence. Beyond notions of social justice, progressive electoral and policy change, or funded and publicly recognized grass roots resistance, revolt expresses a will toward collective being that radically challenges, displaces, and potentially abolishes life-altering, people-and-planet destroying relations of dominance.”

For a collective of scholars, artists, community organizers, and educators of many kinds, the ASA annual meeting serves as one of our most crucial moments of engagement, interaction, and solidarity. Given the volatile state of the world, we can’t know for certain whether or when we will be able to meet again. Those with understandable concerns about the status of our 2020 conference should know that we have suspended our pre-registration requirement and will not in any way penalize those who need to withdraw.

But amid these perilous and shifting conditions, we must struggle to find ways to stay connected, informed, and relevant. We invite our members and friends to watch, discuss, and debate featured sessions on vital topics like intersectionality, climate justice, and Indigenous resurgence from our 2019 conference and prior events through the ASA’s YouTube channel. For example, we honored Maori scholar-activist, Linda Tuhiwai Smith, and her monumental book, Decolonizing Methodologies, whose examples of dialogic research and teaching based on relationships that center reciprocity and mutuality are particularly instructive now. We also encourage you to follow the ASA’s Freedom Courses, a new series of virtual plenaries that began last month with a panel on YouTube examining “Mutual Aid” as a people’s movement.

As we look to educate ourselves and respond to the endless requests to educate others about the roots of our systemic problems, I also believe that the engaged scholarship of ASA participants is the perfect complement to the messages coming from the grassroots. For example, the John Hope Franklin Prize honors the most outstanding publications in our field. In the past two years, it has been awarded to Black Studies scholars Imani Perry (May We Forever Stand) and Kelly Lytle Hernández (City of Inmates), whose work confronts the centrality of white supremacy and state repression to US history, while recognizing how Black struggle and creativity have illuminated liberatory possibilities for a multitude of peoples.

We can also point to the guiding light from recipients of the ASA’s Angela Y. Davis Prize for those have applied or used their scholarship for the public good: Haunani-Kay Trask, Barbara Ransby, Steven Salaita, Robin D. G. Kelley, Rosa-Linda Fregoso, George Lipsitz, and Ruth Wilson Gilmore. And we should, of course, add Angela Y. Davis herself to that list. The time for calling these and other visionary scholars and activists “ahead of their time” is over. Read their work and learn from their praxis. These are the times of radical awakening for which they have prepared us.

In closing, part of what prompted me to write this message is so I could signal a series of steps the ASA will be taking to listen to, learn from, and support the advancing struggles of this period. We must vow to do more to recognize those who are continually working to confront and abolish state violence. As always, I welcome your comments, suggestions, criticism, and participation. As the calendar moves forward and I begin my year as ASA’s past president, I know that Dylan, then Cathy Schlund-Vials will take this work to higher levels. Thank you for your attention, your work, and for being part of ASA.

Another world is necessary. Another world is possible. Another world is already being born.

Scott Kurashige


Thank you to Chaplain Whitney and the Agnes Scott Wellness Center for hosting the candle light vigil yesterday for #Scotties to hold space for and uplift the names of #GeorgeFloyd #BreonaTaylor, #AhmaudAubrey and the many others we’ve lost to racism and violence. May we continue to say their names and seek justice for them. #BlackLivesMatter

A message from Whitney Ott '03, President, and Giselle Fernandez Martin '98, Immediate Past President, Agnes Scott Alumnae Association

The Agnes Scott Alumnae Association Board of Directors stands against racism and intolerance. The tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and countless others are a painful reminder that many of our Scotties, in particular those in our Black Scottie family, continue to face hardships in the face of systemic racism, violence and injustice in our country. We share in your sorrow and outrage, and the Alumnae Board stands by each of you. We are an organization of strong, diverse leaders committed to building better Scottie communities. Accordingly, we must recognize these human rights issues and take them seriously. Now more than ever, our actions are critical. It is our duty as Scotties to educate ourselves, engage in difficult conversations and learn from one another so we can live up to Agnes Scott’s mission to “engage the intellectual and social challenges of our times."

Here are two ways to engage:

  • Consider adding these books to your reading list: "Between the World and Me" by Ta-Nehisi Coates, "The Color of Law" by Richard Rothstein, "Black Like Me" by John Howard Griffin, "The New Jim Crow" by Michelle Alexander, "So You Want to Talk about Race" by Ijeoma Oluo, "White Privilege" by Paula S. Rothenberg and "White Fragility" by Robin DiAngelo.
  • Participate in the Gay Johnson McDougall Center for Global Diversity and Inclusion's Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Courageous Conversations.

You can watch and read about the first conversation in the series, “Anti-Racist Work Begins at Home," now.

From: Christal Albrecht
To: All Personnel
Subject: diversity and inclusion

Hello everyone,

In light of the protests and violence going on in cities throughout our nation, I feel compelled to send out a message of solidarity in support of diversity, inclusion and human rights.

Like many, I have been horrified by the needless deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. These tragedies have heightened the awareness of structural racism against African Americans persistent in the United States.

At ACC, we are dedicated to ensuring that all students have equal opportunity access to education and a better future. Our Core Values position us “to be caring, inclusive and welcoming, valuing all members of the ACC family.” We celebrate the diversity in our student body and in the communities we serve.

We welcome the opportunity to assist our African American students, staff and community members who face daily challenges because of the color of their skin. We wish to help resolve the longstanding injustices within our community and nation. We join in seeking justice for the victims and commit to listening to those who are hurt most by the destructive force of institutionalized racism.


Subject: A Message on Racism and the Pain in Our Communities

Date: Sunday, 31May, 2020 at 15:58:01 Eastern Daylight Time

From: AU President Sylvia M. Burwell

Dear AU Community,

I am usually a measured person, I believe that focus and hard work brings change, but today that is not enough. I write to you sad, frustrated, and angry. The horrific acts of violence against Black communities break our hearts. I just want to scream STOP! The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery lay bare the deep wounds of racism that have plagued our country for too long. My heart goes out to everyone hurting from these unacceptable tragedies and the centuries of injustice they represent.

The anguish in so many communities is the effect of systemic racism that tears at the fabric of our society. We have experienced this pain firsthand on our campus. We know we have more work to do to combat racism and foster inclusive excellence. We have to listen, to live our values through active anti-racist practices, and to confront all forms of discrimination, bigotry, and hatred in our society. While COVID-19 makes it difficult for us to gather and address this heartbreak together, we are here for our community. If you need support, please reach out to our university resources, including the Dean of Students' office, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, the Kay Spiritual Life Center, the Counseling Center, and the Faculty/Staff Assistance Program (FSAP).

While the journey toward a more just society is demanding, we must each take steps that propel us all forward. At American University, our educational and research mission, our committed faculty and staff, and our students give us the opportunity and the obligation to take up this challenge. We will build on the work of our scholars who engage on the problems of racism, criminal justice reform, and societal disparities. We must take responsibility to educate ourselves and others about the issues and structures that perpetuate racism so we can work to change them. We will listen and learn from those who have experienced these tragedies and who live with the fear and pain of racism every day. And we must reject the fear and violence that some would use to further divide us.

In these overwhelming times, please take care of yourselves and each other. Let us acknowledge the pain so many are feeling and find ways to support the Black community. Let us remember those who have suffered and lost from racism and hatred. And let us find strength in our shared humanity and our hope for justice.

Be safe and be well.

Sylvia M. Burwell

President, American University


FROM: Jack C. Cassell, Chairman, Board of Trustees

SUBJECT: Board of Trustees Spring 2017 Meeting Summary


The Board of Trustees held their spring meeting on Thursday, May 18, and Friday, May 19, on AU’s new East Campus. Committee meetings were held on Thursday and the full meeting on Friday. A number of newsworthy items came from the two days, which I want to share with you.

Recent Racial Incident

A key item was the board’s full review and discussion of the racist hate crime that targeted members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, including our recently elected Student Government president. The status of the investigation by AU police, in conjunction with the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia and the FBI is ongoing. To protect the integrity of the investigation, additional details will not be forthcoming. The president and board are continuously updated on the investigation; we fully support President Kerwin’s commitment that the university will not rest until those responsible are identified and brought to justice.

The board strongly stated that it believes an attack on any member of the AU community is an attack on all of us; and while significant efforts have been made to create a truly diverse and inclusive campus community, there is much more to do to achieve our ideals. The board acknowledges that parts of our community do not feel supported. The board pledges to increase its own efforts to work with the AU leadership and campus community to address systemic racism in all of its forms and to strive to make AU a model campus for inclusion. The board unanimously approved a resolution to rededicate its efforts on this topic that is vitally important to our campus community and our future.

Neil Kerwin Steps Down May 31

This was the last Board of Trustees meeting with Neil Kerwin as president, as he steps down on May 31 after serving for 12 years (including two as interim and ten as permanent president). To honor his achievements of more than a decade as president, the board announced that he will become president emeritus upon the conclusion of his term this month.

American University’s growth in standing and stature has been exceptional under President Kerwin’s leadership based on any number of measures—including academics, facilities, selectivity, research, faculty hiring, profile among national universities, and various other metrics. At the board dinner on Thursday evening, we were proud to announce that more than one million dollars has been raised for the Kerwin Family Emergency Financial Aid Fund—first established by Neil and Ann Kerwin to help enrolled students whose financial circumstances have changed to address immediate financial hardships. Donors and friends provided gifts to the fund in honor of Neil’s leadership, with 100 percent of the board participating in this important effort.

Further, the board announced that the building currently housing the School of Public Affairs (Ward Circle Building), has been renamed Kerwin Hall in honor of Neil Kerwin’s more than four decades of service to American University—as president, provost, dean, alumnus, and student.

Other Board Actions

In other action, the board passed resolutions to thank outgoing trustees for their service, including Shyheim Snead as student trustee; Larry Engel as faculty trustee; and Gisela Huberman, who is leaving the board after 12 years as trustee. The board approved the creation of four new degree programs: an MS in Agile Project Management, an online program in SPExS; an MS in Instructional Design and Learning Analytics, an online program in SPExS; a BA in Dance in the Department of Performing Arts/CAS; and a joint degree/BA in Global International Relations between AU SIS and Ritsumeikan University in Japan.

The plenary featured a presentation of a new mobile tour app—resulting from a collaboration between the Sony Corporation and American University. This pilot program is an innovative effort to help potential students and their families to not only learn about—but also to experience—AU via mobile device.

Following the public portion of the meeting, the board met in executive, then closed executive session. The next meeting will be the annual board retreat on September 14, at Airlie.

And on June 1, we welcome Sylvia Mathews Burwell to campus as she begins her tenure as AU’s 15th president. She attended the May 19 board meeting and has worked with the board, President Kerwin, and the cabinet over the past several months to provide an orderly transition.

Subject: A Message of Support from Beth Muha and Mary Clark

From: American University Office of Human Resources

Dear Colleagues,

The deaths in recent weeks of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery leave us heartbroken and enraged yet again over the persistent systemic racism and hatred in our country. It is even more difficult at a time we cannot be together in person as a community. Despite our distance, we stand in solidarity with our Black staff, faculty, students, and alumni. We want to stress the importance of taking care of ourselves as well as each other, as we try to cope with the emotional turmoil of ongoing racial trauma.

We ask managers to touch base with their staff, offer support, and keep communication open. This is a difficult period of anxiety, fatigue, frustration, anger, and despair. For our Black colleagues and colleagues of color, trying to go about living and working while experiencing these and many other emotions may be taking a toll. Staff who need some time off for self-care should work with their managers to take a sick day or some hours of sick leave, and we ask everyone to take steps to take care of yourself and each other.

If you or members of your team are feeling overwhelmed, please take advantage of our campus resources such as the Faculty Staff Assistance Program and Kay Spiritual Life Center.

We ask faculty to consider the pain their Black students and students of color may be experiencing and support them through this time. CTRL has resources available for faculty to address racism in their classes and use antiracist teaching practices to foster a more inclusive classroom. In addition CTRL will host a forum on recent events for faculty; they will send the details soon.

AU will continue to advance racial equity in an ongoing and systemic way as part of our Inclusive Excellence efforts. In response to these most recent events, community members may join the Kay Spiritual Life Center on June 7th at 5pm EST for a service on white privilege and racism. Staff and faculty who are interested in learning more about race and racism may want to explore the new portal from the National Museum of African American History and Culture with tools for reflection and learning including resources for parents and caregivers.

This week is Staff Appreciation week, a time we honor the contributions of all our valued staff. This year, our week of celebration is also one of reflection and self-care. Let us take the time we need to process, and also to move forward as we continue our work towards a more diverse, equitable, inclusive, and antiracist future for AU.

Beth Muha

Assistant Vice President of Human Resources

Mary Clark

Deputy Provost and Dean of Faculty

Subject: Support for Students and Faculty in Summer 2020 Classes

From: Dean of Faculty

Dear Summer 2020 Faculty,

Thank you for everything you are doing to support our students during a time when so many of us are deeply struggling with the impacts of systemic racism in our country. Even as you each grapple with the ongoing trauma, many of you have reached out for guidance regarding how best to support our students who are enrolled in summer 2020 classes. For that, we thank you, and offer a few thoughts:

  • Be proactive about naming and addressing the impact of systemic racism—especially on our Black students, colleagues, faculty, and families--which is especially acute in this moment. CTRL’s Faculty Resources on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion may prove helpful in guiding these conversations: https://edspace.american.edu/deiresources/
  • Approach these as ongoing discussions; the pain is acute right now, and it is critical to hold space now for processing and reflection. But it is equally important that we continue these discussions with each other and with our students over the course of the semester. We have an obligation to engage in anti-racist work every day, not just around nationally triggering events.
  • Continue to critically evaluate the materials you assign. Consider how materials (or the absence of them) may impact students in your courses.
  • Affirmatively ask how your students are doing, and ask about the support they may need. Consider multiple ways for students to share their experiences and needs with you: while some students may want to have direct conversations via video, others may feel more comfortable conversing over phone or email, or providing feedback via anonymous surveys.
  • Consider whether you can provide academic flexibility for your students during this time. This could include, but is not limited to, providing attendance policy flexibility, assignment extensions, or alternate assignment opportunities for students who may be struggling.

We are each available to consult with you over the course of the summer. Please know we are here to support you and our students.

With deep gratitude,

Mary, Jessica, Wendy

Mary Clark, Deputy Provost and Dean of Faculty

Jessica Waters, Dean of Undergraduate Education

Wendy Boland, Interim Dean of Graduate Studies

Subject: Invitation: Faculty Discussion to Support Equity and Justice at AU

From: CTRL

Dear Colleagues,

All of us at CTRL grieve following the most recent, racist murders of Black persons. We recognize now, and always, that we must act to critically examine current practices and policies in our own work in order to dismantle those that allow overt, systemic, and all racism to exist.

We invite you to a faculty conversation to discuss how we, as faculty, can continue to support equity and justice in our capacities at AU.

We hope you will join us on Thursday, June 11th, from 2:00 – 3:00pm EST. There will not be registration for this event. On Thursday morning we will send another email with Zoom meeting information. Please note this meeting will require you to have an authenticated, American University Zoom account.

Whether you are able to attend or not, we offer the following resources as a starting point. We recognize everyone comes to this work at different levels. For some, this might be an introduction to a rich field of antiracist work. Others are leading scholars in this area. If you are looking for different resources or if you have resources you would like to discuss adding to the CTRL website, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

  • Center for Teaching, Research & Learning. (n.d.). Faculty resources on diversity, equity & inclusion.
  • Sathy, V. & Hogan, K. A. (2019, July 22). Want to reach all of your students? Here’s how to make your teaching more inclusive. Advice guide. The Chronicle of Higher Education.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions. We look forward to seeing you on Thursday at 2:00pm.


Center for Teaching, Research & Learning

Dear Faculty, Staff, Students, Alumni, and Families,

As of late Friday evening, I had not yet found a single theme for my weekly message to you. There is a lot on my mind. Classes are done and reading period ends tomorrow. Faculty members are reading thesis work and papers; they will soon be grading the exams for which students are preparing. I always look forward to reading students’ thesis work and hope to find time for it in the next couple of weeks.

Ordinarily, we would be looking forward to senior assembly, senior week, and Commencement, but there is nothing ordinary about the circumstances that have robbed our seniors of those experiences. I feel terrible about the activities and events seniors are having to forgo. I’ve been finding it difficult to rise above my sadness at the many kinds of loss we are seeing and experiencing. It is difficult to comprehend the magnitude of the lives and livelihoods that have been lost to this pandemic and those that will still be lost. How are we to take this in without feeling despair? How can we feel a sense of despair and know that it is part, but not all, of what’s available to us? There is the inspiration that keeps coming from frontline workers in every field. There is the beauty of this campus and the region with those soft Appalachian Mountains that remind me of my native Virginia.

Yesterday was a somewhat typical day for these times. I met with the presidents of the independent colleges and universities in Massachusetts to discuss possible guidelines for opening up in the fall. I met with my counterpart presidents in the Five College consortium about the possibilities for collaboration, and then with the senior staff about our own efforts to prepare for several possible scenarios for the fall. I had fun working with our events team on a virtual senior celebration and with our Bicentennial planning committee about new and adaptable ideas for the College’s celebration, starting this fall and extending through fall 2021. I was delighted to receive the names of students willing to serve as an advisory group to us on decisions for fall. And, in the minutes between meetings, I read and replied to emails.

In the back of my mind, all through the day, was distress over a loss that is unrelated to COVID-19, one that I imagine has troubled us all—the killing of Ahmaud Arbery over two months ago in Georgia and the video that has only now brought it to the nation’s attention and led to an investigation. How horrifying it is, how infuriating. The racism in our country that persists and is displayed out in the open could not be more troubling. I grew up in the midst of hatred and bigotry: the violent rhetoric, the threats, warnings in articles about the rape of white girls by black men left at my place at the kitchen table, chain gangs of black men on rural roads, minstrel shows, and physical violence. I am lucky, only in retrospect, to have been considered early on as an outsider, somehow wrong by virtue of who I seemed to be. It forced me to create a distance for myself and to be “overly sensitive” to what I heard and saw. From Charlottesville to COVID-19, we are experiencing ample evidence of what the long history of racism has wrought and how much of it persists. Those of us who are white have got to take stronger, braver, and more concerted stands against the increasingly overt displays of white supremacy and racism. We have work to do here in our own college community, and a great deal more that urgently needs to be done beyond. Seeing both sides as “good” is to take the wrong side.

I had thought of writing to you this week about the importance of public universities and the high stakes in current decisions about federal funding for states and localities. Far too many institutions—public and private—face untenable financial circumstances as a result of COVID-19. Even our wealthier institutions will not escape the damaging effects of this pandemic and will need the continued support of alumni. I hope for federal funds for states and localities because we cannot afford, as a country, to have our public institutions of higher education weakened and, some, even decimated. Sometimes I wish everyone had a realistic view of a United States without a flourishing and diverse higher education sector, a country and a world without the teaching and research, the inventiveness and economic impact for which higher education in this country is known. We need all kinds of post-secondary opportunities, not one at the expense of others. The diversity of post-secondary education has long been our great strength. I lived it in my own family. My younger brother was placed in a “slow” track in school because of learning problems that were nameless back then. In a fifth-grade science experiment with a homemade wooden maze and two hamsters, I thought I had proven that his anti-seizure medication, not his lack of intelligence, had made him “slow.” But he never got off the “slow” track and I am obviously still angry about it. Had it not been for the local community college he attended as a fireman, he would not have had access to any education after high school. My older brother went to a nearby junior college on a football scholarship. He played in a junior college national championship that we drove to Savannah, Georgia, to watch. If not for football, he may not have advanced beyond high school, either. And had his football not helped support his education, I may not have made it to college, a public college that charged only $1200 a year in tuition.

Because of my background, I have an allergy to the forms of snobbery that can run rampant among those who think only the big or little Ivies provide a decent education or a worthwhile career credential. Even at William and Mary, I had wonderful professors who nevertheless repeatedly referred to people who came from the rural part of Virginia where I grew up as “a bunch of ignorant rednecks.” I knew people who may have seemed to fit the description, but I was also offended by it and it contributed to a sense that I was an outsider at college, too. I got a truly great education at the University of Wisconsin, one I’d put up against any other I could have gotten. When I arrived at Cornell to begin my career as a faculty member, people would sometimes struggle to remember where I got my degree. “You got your Ph.D. at, was it Michigan or Minnesota?” they’d say. I was surprised at their inability to distinguish among institutions west of New York. I’d make a joke out of it, but I genuinely found it strange. Our great midwestern public research universities are quite different, one from another, though together with other publics, they teach by far the greatest number of students and produce a very significant proportion of the important research that is done.

Unfortunately, there is also the populist sport of tearing down elite colleges and universities, no less and, at this moment, possibly more destructive than the elitism people believe they’re fighting. Some of this comes with the human tendency to compete. Some of it arises out of a legitimate worry about prestige, warranted or not, and the advantages it confers. Too much of it results from cynical political efforts to undermine the authority of science; the efforts at cross-cultural understanding; the benefits of bringing together talented people from every region and group in this country and also around the world; and respect for data, evidence, and expertise.

I wish more institutions of higher learning had the student-to-faculty ratios that Amherst can afford. Students flourish as a result of those ratios. The intensity of intellectual exchange gives rise to surprising and important connections that push knowledge and understanding in new directions. It also gives rise to lifelong friendships and bonds between students and professors, students and staff. The world needs its Amhersts. I often find myself wishing I could have been a student here.

Elite institutions can do more to create greater access, success, and equity in the world—but without their particular contributions, the world would be a poorer place. The world needs its Amhersts, but not only its Amhersts. To lose the gift of our great public universities will make us all poorer. I urge those of you who are so inclined to advocate actively for federal funding for the states and localities; this need, like so much else, has been turned into a partisan political issue, but its outcome has the potential either to help protect or greatly to weaken, and even to break, some of our great public institutions, which are the economic, social, and cultural engines of so many states and the nation as a whole. I owe the great gifts of my life to my education. I know the difference it can make.

Thank you for listening. Those are my thoughts today.


APSA Statement Condemning Systemic Racism

The recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery have reignited protests and calls for justice in the United States and across the world. These murders are among the latest in a long history of police brutality and violence upon members of the African American community. The American Political Science Association recognizes and condemns in the strongest terms the systemic racism that contributed to these deaths and shares the justified outrage it has provoked. We strongly support the right to protest and are alarmed by the government’s violent responses to peaceful protesters, including excessive uses of force in the name of order. We are also alarmed at the opportunistic criminal conduct of some who do not share the protesters' commendable goals. These actions are a severe violation of democratic principles.

Political scientists have long examined the linkages between race, power, governance, social injustice and oppression. This scholarship has made an invaluable contribution to our discipline and to public discourse. It has illuminated the sources and structures of pervasive inequality and human rights abuses in the United States, as well as the resulting social, political, and public policy consequences. A more just society will require more of this knowledge but also action by all of us within the discipline to examine and address how our own programs, procedures, teaching, and scholarship may be shaped by or contribute to upholding, rather than dismantling, systems of oppression. As an association, we recognize our responsibility to elevate the existing scholarship, support scholars, and promote new research and pedagogy in this area, and continue to examine our own policies and programs towards the realization of a more informed and just society.

From: Alumnae Relations at Barnard

Subject: Denouncing Anti-Black Violence

I hope this message finds you and your loved ones safe and well.

As the United States continues to confront the harsh realities of inequality and systemic racism, and demonstrations grow across the country and around the globe, I want to reach out to Barnard alumnae and echo the sentiments below, shared over the weekend by President Sian Leah Beilock.

The Alumnae Association of Barnard College stands in solidarity with our Black alumnae, students, faculty, and staff, and in support of all those who are finding ways to contribute to their communities in this struggle for justice.

President, Alumnae Association of Barnard College

Dear Members of the Barnard Community,

Although we are not physically together at the moment, I have seen so many ways in the past several months in which the Barnard community has stepped up to support one another — even in the darkest moments of loss on our campus and in our community. It is in this spirit of support that I write to you today to denounce, in the strongest possible form, the anti-Black violence and rhetoric that is currently unfolding across the nation.

The recent killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and others serve as horrific reminders of how structural racism is enacted in this country. The pain that these injustices inflict, especially to members of the Black community, is immeasurable. And that these atrocities have occurred during the current pandemic, which has disproportionately affected people of color, only adds to the distress. The fact that people of all ethnicities are gathering in protest, even while many states are just beginning the process of a gradual reopening, further demonstrates the pain inflicted by the inequalities that continue to plague our society.

Barnard is an institution that aims to interrogate racism and systematic discrimination in all its forms and to produce knowledge and actions that help address entrenched disparities in our society. One example is the work being done at the Barnard Center for Research on Women around interrupting criminalization and transformative justice. I encourage you to learn about and get involved in this important work that we are fortunate to have at Barnard.

Every institution, including our own, has work to do here. Our educational mission demands that we speak up when we see violence against other human beings and relentlessly commit to the creation of a more just society.

There are resources available to you in these difficult times. Students can call Furman Counseling Center at 212-854-2092 for consultation and referral to counseling resources in their local community during the summer months. Faculty and staff can make use of our Employee Assistance Program through Humana at 800-448-4358.

I also encourage you to look for ways to support Black communities and those in need across the nation. Vice President of DEI Ariana González Stokas, the Barnard Center for Research on Women, the Athena Center for Leadership, and Barnard SGA are all sources of information and have resources you can access.

There are moments in history that test who we are and what we stand for. There are many ways to struggle for justice. There are many ways to express solidarity. The first is to commit to anti-racism and to find, even in small ways, how we can contribute in our own work toward racial justice and equality.

Please take care of yourself and each other during these challenging times.

Sian Leah Beilock


A Message to the College Community from President Botstein

Stevenson Library at Bard College.

“On behalf of the entire Bard College community, I want to express our solidarity with all who grieve for the deaths, with all who live in constant fear of the brutality of racial discrimination, and with all who find themselves without hope in these dark and violent times. [...] Something has to change in a way that actually helps the lives of our fellow citizens and neighbors of color.” —Bard College President Leon Botstein

Dear Members of the Bard Community,

I am writing to all of you today with sentiments that I know are widely shared throughout the Bard College community.

Words cannot properly express the anger, sadness and despair each of us feels at the murder of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis, the killing, by two civilians, of Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick Georgia, and the murder, once again by officers sworn to uphold the law, of Breonna Taylor, in Louisville, Kentucky. The victims were all black; the perpetrators were all white.

On behalf of the entire Bard College community, I want to express our solidarity with all who grieve for the deaths, with all who live in constant fear of the brutality of racial discrimination, and with all who find themselves without hope in these dark and violent times.

As we all continue to follow the unfolding national crisis, I also wish to express Bard’s support for the journalists who have covered and continue to report on these events and their aftermath, particularly those of color such as CNN’s Omar Jimenez, who have been punitively targeted by the police because they are professionals of color. Not only are black lives in danger, but our fundamental civil liberties, including freedom of the press are at risk today.

The Bard College community includes members and families connected to Bard’s main campus in Annandale, Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and Bard’s seven public High School Early Colleges in New York City, Newark, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Cleveland, and New Orleans. Bard’s family includes the students and their families in the Bard Prison Initiative, Bard’s Microcolleges in Brooklyn and Holyoke Mass., and our Clemente Courses throughout the nation. The majority of the students Bard serves across its network are non-white, and nearly half come from families in poverty.

The mission of this nation’s universities and colleges requires faith in the proposition that language and reason are the proper shared instruments of politics and society. Places of learning are dedicated to the belief that, in the long run, the pen is indeed mightier than the sword. Bard takes pride in its commitment to these ideals.

However, if we are to redeem these noble and just convictions, we must confront the complacency and hypocrisy with which this country has dealt with the systematic injustice based on race that is visible every single day. The COVID-19 pandemic has made the tragic consequences of our tolerance of economic and social inequality plain, as we watch Americans of color suffer disproportionately from the epidemic and the national failure to combat this new disease and its spread.

We must do more than express outrage. Something has to change in a way that actually helps the lives of our fellow citizens and neighbors of color. We have witnessed too many of our nation’s failures to make progress in the matter of racial justice after eruptions of civil unrest. The failures to make sufficient progress, during Reconstruction, after the racial violence of the 1920s, the broken promises of Brown vs. Board of Education of the 1950s, and the dashed hopes after the urban riots of the late 1960s remain vivid in our collective memory. To add insult to injury, we seem to accept with striking passivity the divisive hostility, the open appeal to prejudice, the incompetence, mendacity and ignorance that now represents the Executive Branch of our Federal Government.

We have come to accept as normal the persistence of discrimination, the toxic link between race and economic justice, in which the quality of our public schools plays a central role, and the daily experience of fear on the part of people of color. Universities and colleges must no longer accept the unacceptable that we have the power to change: a substandard education for people of color, particularly in our cities. In an era when the rich have become richer, and when the technological consequences of economic inequality—the digital divide---have accelerated, how can we tolerate the status quo?

I want to assure each and every one of you that Bard College will continue to do its utmost to lead in the task of articulating a better vision of democracy and government and a better reality for all in our country in the sphere of education. Bard’s mission is not restricted to the pursuit and dissemination of knowledge. It seeks to forge a link between what is true and what is right and good, a connection between epistemology and ethics. Bard is proud to be an institution committed to combating injustice through education. Its investment in educational access for historically underserved populations is in support of the cause of a more just and civil society.

I recognize this is a deeply frightening, frustrating, and challenging time for students, faculty, and staff, particularly those of color. On behalf of the College, please know that Bard is with each of you in spirit, even if, for the time being, we cannot be physically together. In the face of these difficult circumstances, our commitment and resolve is to work together to play our part in building a better future. We will try to do our best as the nation confronts its failures and, guided by its better angels, resolves to change, and realizes the promise of freedom and justice for all.

Leon Botstein


July 21, 2020

To the Bard College Community,

Thank you for the warm welcome extended to me during my inaugural semester at Bard College. This is the first of several updates that I will share, highlighting progress on diversity/inclusion initiatives during this challenging time in our nation’s history. It is my goal that everyone who lives, works, and/or visits Bard be unapologetically empowered to bring their “whole self” to campus - honoring their unique calling to be change agents in their local, regional, and/or national community.

Please know that I am working diligently to connect with as many people as possible, while simultaneously honoring COVID-19 social distancing guidelines. As a recent addition to the College’s COVID-19 Response/Planning Team, I am pleased to observe the genuine concern for the holistic needs of a diverse community. In response, I commit to partnering with campus colleagues and local municipalities to proactively address the many racial and socioeconomic disparities of this plague. However, I do feel compelled to share my opinion that the Coronavirus attacked us when our country was already suffering from a “pre-existing condition” - systemic racism.

I’ll begin by explaining that in my vernacular “Black Lives Matter” (BLM) is a full and complete sentence that requires no editing. This movement was never named “ONLY Black Lives Matter.” Therefore, I do not spend significant energy debating the language of a historical movement (i.e. “All lives Matter”) when Black and Brown bodies are the primary ones being assassinated in the street by those who took an oath to “protect and serve.”

The higher education community has reason to demand institutional action. The shooting of Botham Jean, Atatiana Jefferson, and Breonna Taylor in their own homes should legitimately ignite feelings of civil unrest on a college campus. Blocking a person’s airflow with an arm or a knee is not a reasonable response to the selling of loose cigarettes or an allegation of forgery. Furthermore, execution is not an appropriate response to an unarmed man running AWAY FROM a police officer. When I think about these life-ending circumstances, “I can't breathe!”

When an unarmed Black therapist asks a police officer why he shot him, “I don't know” is not an acceptable response. This is particularly alarming, as the therapist intentionally remained supine on the ground with his hands in the air, working fervently to keep his special needs client calm and in a non-threatening posture. Furthermore, the murders of Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, and Antwon Rose, Jr., should justifiably ignite feelings of rage in young adults, as all three of these individuals were killed prior to their 18th birthday. This is a clarion call for the leadership of Bard graduates.

Sadly, this felonious behavior is not new. The only new aspect of it is the cell phone video footage that makes it difficult to deny the systemic racism underpinning these murders. Yet, as a microcosm of the larger society, Bard College and the surrounding communities are not immune to the painful realities of racism and implicit bias.

Although it is a public thoroughfare, racial slurs targeting Black students on Annandale Road are a Bard College problem. A student cannot reasonably be expected to learn or function in class if their mental health and self-esteem are attacked by the simple act of crossing the street.

Microaggressions and implicit bias are commonly reported experiences of students of color - including Bardians - who attend predominantly White institutions (PWIs). This magnifies the marginalization experienced when those who instruct, counsel, program, clean, protect, repair and support the institution do not look like them or identify with their experience. Finally, as a Black man, I too have experienced the fears of walking through Red Hook and/or Tivoli wearing a face mask and the anxiety of wondering whether or not a routine traffic stop will be the last encounter of my life.

It is my belief that all of us - faculty, staff, and students - play a pivotal role in transforming Bard students into civically engaged global citizens. This is a reasonable expectation for the alumni/ae of a “private college for the public good.” Therefore, we must remain vigilant in this moment and use this sociological crisis as a catalyst for action.

I have spent a significant portion of my time supporting and listening to students and colleagues who are trying to make sense out of this senseless loss of life. For some, these conversations are essential to healing and their ability to effectively support the institution when responding to demands for action. As a result of these meetings, I have proposed a three-phase plan of action to help move campus diversity issues forward in a sustainable manner:

I. Phase 1: The healing and care for the immediate emotional needs of the campus community. Answering the cries of hurting people remains a priority. The acknowledgement of pain (both verbally and in writing) and the provision of emotionally safe healing spaces must occur if people are legitimately expected to move forward in a productive manner.

A sampling of some of the diversity, equity, and inclusion activities at Bard during the earlier part of June include:

• A campus-wide Candlelight for Vigil for Justice, Love, and Solidarity

• A letter from President Botstein

• A letter from Counseling Services

• A letter from the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts

• A check in session with the Professionals of Color - a group of (non-faculty) employees from historically marginalized ethnic identities who are committed to enhancing the campus experience for students and employees of color

• Library: Creation and dissemination of an Anti Racism Resources and Statement

• Reflecting on the Moment: Video Series on community activism and engagement in the name of racial equity and justice.

• Student Reading Initiative: Black Playwrights

• Black Talks: Student Panel

• An invitation from the Mayor of Tivoli offering a community conversation in response to constituent concerns about local policing policies

• Reflecting in the Moment: Black & Blue All Over

• What the1960’s Can Teach Us About Today in the Wake of the Murder of George Floyd

• A Student of Color Debriefing Session - A Forum to Aid the Healing Process

• In the Moment: The Power Behind Revolution - Essay Series

• College Officials Meet with Dutchess County Human Rights Commission

• Statement from the Center for Civic Engagement

• Men of Color Emotional Check-In (Brothers at Bard)

Again, this is just a small representation of the many activities occurring on and around the campus during this time of unrest. In addition, as a reminder, campus counseling continues to be available during the summer.

Also, regarding the financial disparities of COVID - 19 that further compound this issue, a request was approved for the Bard Student Emergency Fund to remain an ongoing initiative under the auspices of the Council for Inclusive Excellence (CIE). With the support and leadership of our campus Development professionals, we will continue to solicit financial contributions to support students experiencing unforeseen financial challenges. This funding complements the institutional and government resources already allocated to support this effort.

Phase 2: Empowerment, preparation, and education for action. This phase includes solidifying the needed educational, human, and fiscal resources to sustain long-lasting change.

I am currently reviewing the structure of the Council on Inclusive Excellence and reconstituting the Campus Climate Committee/Bias Incident Community Response Team - these entities are charged with ongoing data collection, planning, and action for institutional progress forward. For example, data garnered from a survey that I recently administered to the Professionals of Color (another CIE working group) will now provide vital information on the experiences of professionals working at the campus who identify as members of historically marginalized communities.

Although the primary focus of my position is administrative in nature (i.e. marginalized student support, professional staff, strategic planning, diversity training, development, community relations, etc.,), I am excited about partnering with academic colleagues on inclusive pedagogical instruction/coaching, the review of curricular and programmatic offerings, and faculty engagement as panel participants, subject matter experts, and co-organizers of collaborative institutional programming. These initiatives are a few of the preliminary aspirational desired outcomes - all of which require the brilliance and leadership of Bard’s phenomenal faculty and talented academic administration. I look forward to supporting this work in sustainable, meaningful ways.

To ensure that student voices remain heard, my office is establishing a Dean of Inclusive Excellence Advisory Board consisting of the student leadership of all affinity-based clubs and organizations. This ensures direct student access to the institution's chief diversity personnel when concerns arise. Diversity-centered partnerships with local and county municipalities are also being secured. Also, although no formal policy on racial and ethnicity-based harassment currently exists, a collaborative team of campus leaders is working diligently to ensure that a policy is in place by the start of the fall semester.

Phase 3: Evaluating/strengthening successful systems and incentives. Pending COVID regulations, the fall semester will include the development of a long-range diversity strategic plan that ensures unit-level engagement and accountability. We cannot let this moment pass without a clear (written) commitment to a sustainable and inclusive future. Additional future actions also include the exploration of a department-level diversity assessment tool. These instruments provide individual departments an opportunity to engage in transparent conversations about the role of diversity/inclusion in their current service or program delivery.

Furthermore, a Campus Affiliate Chapter of the National Coalition Building Institute will be launched in the fall. The benefits of this affiliation include options for curriculum integration, (free) diversity training/workshops on demand, student engagement programming, controversial issues expertise, and the potential to consider this cultural/inclusion training model as an essential part of the new student/employee onboarding experience.

Given the vital role of athletics to campus life, I am honored to have been appointed the Diversity and Inclusion Designee for our athletic program. In addition to being an avid fan of college athletics, this role provides me an ideal opportunity to support athletic operations through an equity and inclusion lens. For example, I am currently serving as the Chairperson of Excellence in Athletics – A Coalition to Support Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Bard College Athletics. With this dedicated cadre of student athletes, athletics staff members, and interested partners from across the institution, I am absolutely confident that the Bard College Athletics Department will further its commitment to diversity in permanent and sustainable ways.

In addition to athletics, another co-curricular passion of mine is college gospel choirs. I was elated to relaunch the Bard College Gospel Choir in the spring, as I know that this group will have a tremendous impact on the campus. In addition to supporting the spiritual needs of some students while the campus ministry team explores grant funding for more sustainable options, my doctoral dissertation research focused on the perceived impact of college of gospel choirs on the retention of African American students at predominantly White Universities. Therefore, I am excited about re-engaging in this work and the higher-level benefits that will be potentially realized for the campus.

You are aware that President Botstein has appointed me to serve as chair of the recently announced President’s Commission on Racial Equity and Justice at Bard College. Although I am happy to serve in this role, the journey of institutional self-examination is not an easy one. It requires honest conversations, transparency, and a willingness to challenge long-standing assumptions and practices - even when the dialogue is uncomfortable to hear or experience. For the Commission's work to be effective, EVERY member of the Bard community must be willing to hold themselves individually accountable for their role in making Bard College a more welcoming environment to live, work, and learn. On behalf of this forward-thinking and strategically-focused commission, we look forward to your support of our work.

In closing, this correspondence is in no way intended to resolve all fears and concerns surrounding this national trauma. Although I and colleagues across campus will continue meeting to evaluate, refine, and create campus-wide initiatives, I fully appreciate that these actions fall short in addressing the pain that prompts the creation of a Black Lives Matter movement. However, it is my firm belief that through transparent dialogue; the ability to step outside of one’s self and view issues with a more critical lens; and a commitment to a diverse, equitable, and inclusive campus, we can significantly augment the role of diversity and inclusion in institutional decision-making, thereby better equipping our graduates for success in a diverse, and at times tumultuous, world.

I look forward to your support as we collectively examine, re-evaluate, and challenge the status quo at Bard College - “A Place to Think.”


Dr. Kahan Sablo,

Dean of Inclusive Excellence

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Responding to the Death of George Floyd

By the Office of the President

Bethel community:

We reach out to each of you today with broken and grieving hearts. On Monday, May 25, a handcuffed black man named George Floyd died after being pinned to the ground with the knee of a white police officer on his neck. Three other police officers at the scene refused to intervene. Their refusal to act was a powerful demonstration of what silence and inaction in the face of brutal injustice leads to for many people of color in our nation.

For me (Jay), this brought back memories of the death of Philando Castile in 2016, when I said, “It is dangerous to be a man of color in America." Four years later, the same can be said today. It is still dangerous to be a person of color in America.

For me (Ross), this strikes home as I reflect on the reality that safety and risk for my black grandsons are dramatically different than they are for my white grandson. Trustee and Pastor Rod Hairston challenged us at our Board of Trustees meeting yesterday: “How would you feel if George Floyd were your son, your nephew, your father, or your brother? He is our brother. Racism is very simple: It is sin. It’s that simple.” And for many of you, Pastor Hairston’s question isn’t hypothetical. Because of the color of your skin or your children’s skin, you experience trauma-inducing instances of racism every day.

Along with our partners at Converge, we grieve for the families and friends of those whose lives have been taken—people like Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and countless others. As truth-seekers, we are called to recognize these tragedies for what they are: evidence of systemic racism. As reconcilers, we are called to uphold the worth and dignity of all people. As Christ-followers, we are called to live out the teachings of Jesus by seeking justice for George Floyd’s death.

We condemn racial and judicial discrimination in all forms. We pray for healing. And we are committed to ensuring that Bethel will be a community that works for justice, peace, and unity among all people. In the next week, the Office of Christian Formation and Church Relations will host a time for us to pray, share, and come together as a community.

Jay Barnes, President

Ross Allen, President-elect

Racism and Educational Mission

Dear Members of the Bates Community,

As a nation, we continue to enact and re-enact race-based violence and murder. These brutal patterns are the work of centuries and decades, they are baked into the structures that define our society, and they are carried forward by the perverse intention of some and the broad indifference of many. Over the past several months we have been reminded again, in particularly painful ways — by the killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis; Breonna Taylor in Louisville; Ahmaud Arbery near Brunswick, Ga.; Tony McDade in Tallahassee; and Sean Reed in Indianapolis — of our capacity for brutal acts based on race.

On behalf of Bates College, I condemn these acts of extreme cruelty and the long history of racial injustice and violence against black, brown, and indigenous people that have made them possible and dangerously routine. Over 50 years ago, on April 9, 1968, following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., Benjamin Mays, Bates Class of 1920, president of Morehouse College, and lifelong mentor to Dr. King, spoke of the same pattern of violence, shock, and inaction, when he stepped to the lectern to deliver King’s final eulogy:

A century after Emancipation, and after the enactment of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, it should not have been necessary for Martin Luther King Jr. to stage marches in Montgomery, Birmingham, and Selma, and go to jail 30 times trying to achieve for his people those rights which people of lighter hue get by virtue of their being born white. We, too, are guilty of murder. It is time for the American people to repent and make democracy equally applicable to all Americans.

Plainly, we have failed to heed Dr. Mays’ call. As an educational institution, we have an urgent responsibility to prepare our students to be conscious, informed, and ethical actors in the world. This cannot happen unless we teach them the history and modalities of racism, equip them with the tools to fight against it, and motivate them to act for justice as they carry out their lives.

The work of racial equity and antiracism is central to our mission, and it should guide the actions we take every day as an institution and as individual members of this community. We know from our students, faculty, staff, and alumni of color, and others who care deeply about these issues that we have a long way to go to protect members of the Bates community from racist acts. We have an even longer way to go to foster a campus and culture where every student is supported for success across all aspects of their college experience and all students feel the ownership and belonging that are crucial to personal growth and transformation.

The atrocities that we have witnessed over the past several months are not, in the vernacular of 2020, merely evidence of “hot spots” of racial unrest. Events and attitudes that are the product of generations and high intention must be met with an extraordinary depth of commitment and a determination to make, and hold ourselves accountable for, tangible progress.

The work of antiracism is difficult work. But we are committed to this work, and to making democracy, in the words of Benjamin Mays, “equally applicable to all Americans.”


Clayton Spencer

The Work of Antiracism at Bates

Dear Members of the Bates Community,

In light of the national crisis arising from ongoing police killings of black people and accompanying public outrage at the ways in which we persist in diminishing the value of black lives, I wanted to reach out to affirm my personal commitment and that of the college to our faculty, staff, students, and alumni of color and to the work of antiracism.

I want to respond, as well, to members of our community who have been in touch with me recently to learn what Bates is doing concretely to disrupt structural racism on this campus, in the lives of our faculty and staff, and in the education of our students. I also want to share the plans we have now for intensifying our efforts, and how we will hold ourselves accountable for progress.

Before turning to specifics, I want to acknowledge the deep pain and hurt felt by black, indigenous, and people of color who are members of the Bates community. These are heavy times, as we find ourselves in the midst of three interlocking crises – the pandemic, the worst employment economy since the Great Depression, and race-based killings and the devaluation of black lives. Any one of these crises alone would be powerfully disorienting and fear-inducing, but taken together they can feel overwhelming, not least because each of them lays bare the same deep cleavages and profound injustices on which our society, including Bates College, is built.

Speaking with students of color over my time at Bates, I have learned again and again that I do not have the lived experience to begin to grasp the pain and isolation they feel on a daily basis as they navigate life on this campus. But I do understand that it is a serious failure when we continue to fall short in making “the emancipating potential of the liberal arts” a reality for all of our students, faculty, and the community as a whole. We know that black, indigenous, and people of color at Bates are subject to racist acts, and we know that we have not achieved a campus and culture where every student is supported for success across all aspects of their experience, and where faculty and staff from traditionally underrepresented groups are adequately supported in their professional growth and development. These failures go to the essence of our mission, and I regret that we have not made greater progress in closing the gap between mission and reality at Bates, particularly for our students, faculty, staff, and alumni of color.

I also take it as a call to action. The issues of structural racism that Bates partakes of are long-standing and deeply ingrained, and overcoming them will depend on sustained, collective effort across the institution. In doing this work, we are building on foundations laid by others. I want to recognize the leadership, intellectual contributions, and efforts of many people who have worked at Bates over decades to create a more just and equitable environment at the college. In particular, early faculty-led efforts, in response to student interest and critique, created curricular paths that introduced important disciplinary perspectives to our campus, and challenged historic and normative traditions in the academy. These are now encompassed within Africana, American Studies, and Gender and Sexuality Studies. Many faculty and administrators, as well, served in an array of institutional roles that are precursors to the current Vice President for Equity and Inclusion, the Office of Intercultural Education, and ongoing faculty efforts to promote curricular transformation and inclusive pedagogy.

Moving forward, we will continue to center the work of equity, inclusion, and antiracism as a core institutional priority and build on the efforts that have been undertaken with particular focus and energy over the past several years. We will take the following specific actions:

  • We will ask each member of senior staff to develop a plan for racial equity work in their part of the college by September 1.
    • This past academic year, the entire senior staff and I participated in intensive racial equity training with an outside consultant, and each member of the senior staff was charged with carrying forward racial equity work in their own organization.
    • I have asked each member of the senior staff for a report on progress to date and plans for the coming academic year by September 1.
    • We will synthesize and share this information during the fall semester.
  • We will expand racial equity training across the college.
    • In addition to senior staff, more than a third of staff across the college (218) have participated in racial equity training over the past three years, as have 34 faculty. The goal will be to make racial equity training available to all staff and faculty over the next two years and thereafter on an ongoing basis.
    • In order to create internal capacity for racial equity education and training, I have committed a discretionary Mellon presidential grant to fund a position of “Director of Equity and Inclusion Education,” reporting to the Vice President for Equity and Inclusion. The search for this position is well advanced and we are optimistic that it will be successful.
    • We are also in the process of creating a website to provide readings, videos, blog posts, and other resources to members of the Bates community seeking to learn more about antiracism.
    • We took the important step of elevating our Chief Diversity Officer position to Vice President for Equity and Inclusion (VPEI), who serves as a member of the senior staff. The work of the VPEI includes assessing the campus climate and needs of the college through the lens of equity, inclusion, and antiracism, and collaborating with colleagues across the college to develop specific strategies and plans to move the work forward.
  • We will extend our efforts in curricular transformation, inclusive pedagogy, and the support of all students for academic success.
    • Bates is one of 57 colleges and universities across the country that won a $1 million, multi-year grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Inclusive Excellence Initiative. The goal is for any student at Bates who is interested in STEM to be provided with an inclusive curriculum, support structures, and dedicated faculty and staff mentors to ensure that they have the opportunity to thrive. We received the grant in 2018 and our work under its auspices will extend through academic year 2022–23. Our efforts and progress to date are described here.
    • We have undertaken similar work in curricular transformation and inclusive pedagogy in the Humanities and Humanistic Social Sciences with the support of a $1.2 million grant from the Mellon Foundation. That work will continue through 2024.
    • Moving forward, the Dean of the Faculty will work with colleagues to extend these efforts across the curriculum at Bates, phasing the work as appropriate, because these initiatives are very faculty intensive. The goal is to provide Bates faculty with ongoing professional development in inclusive pedagogies and evidence-based practices that lead to equitable outcomes for our students.
  • We will work actively to promote policies, practices, and structures that support faculty from minoritized and marginalized groups in their work at Bates and in their academic careers.
    • Our hiring practices will continue to improve the ways we are building the Bates faculty for the 21st century. The Active and Inclusive Search Plan is an effective tool, and we have seen important gains in the tenure track searches over the past several years. For example, in the past five years, almost half (49%) of the new hires for tenure-track positions are black, indigenous, and people of color.
    • Bates joined the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD) in the fall of 2018 in response to interest and recommendations from faculty of color. We will continue the opportunity, begun last year, for pre-tenure faculty in their first or second year to participate in the year-long faculty success program offered by the NCFDD.
    • The Tenure and Promotion Review Committee will begin in the fall to socialize with the faculty changes that it is considering to broaden and clarify the standards and processes for reappointment, tenure, and promotion. The call for a review of these processes reflects our desire to ensure that our standards for evaluation eliminate bias to the extent possible, recognize the importance of inclusive pedagogies, and embrace emerging fields of scholarship. The entire faculty community will have opportunities in 2020–21 to ensure that the language incorporated into our handbook is clear with respect to substance and process and reflects our shared aspirations for the faculty of Bates.
    • The Committee on Personnel (COP) will continue the practice, adopted two years ago, of beginning its work each year by studying the ways that bias can be embedded in the materials used in the evaluation of faculty. The objective is to elevate awareness of bias on the COP and strive toward equitable processes for reappointment, tenure, and promotion.
  • We will extend systemic and structural change across the entirety of the student experience.
    • The Office of Admission will continue to recruit, admit, and enroll students from historically marginalized backgrounds, building on the enrollment of two of the most racially diverse classes in the history of the college with the Classes of 2023 and 2024.
    • Our Student Affairs staff has taken the lead over the past several years in providing racial equity training for its entire staff and holding each area of its operations accountable for tangible progress. This work will be continued in the coming academic year, and it encompasses many aspects of the student experience.
    • Student Affairs departments have overhauled their policies and procedures so that they are clear and available to all students in a fair and equitable manner. These policies apply to a broad range of student support services, including Accessible Education, the Academic Resources Commons, Counseling and Psychological Services, and Health Services.
    • Equity- and inclusion-related programming has been added to a number of areas, including training for leaders of student organizations and clubs and training for student staff in residential life. Additional programming focused on equity includes Breaks at Bates, Purposeful Work initiatives to ensure equitable access to resources and programs, and new racial equity programming as part of first-year orientation. Additionally, equity and inclusion values are being embedded in a comprehensive student leadership framework, funded by the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation, that will inform the further development of 20 leadership programs across the college.
    • The Vice President for Equity and Inclusion is in the process of completing hiring and planning for the Bobcat First! Program in the Office of Intercultural Education (OIE), which supports first generation to college students across all dimensions of their Bates experience. Additionally, they will appoint a student advisory committee for the OIE that will provide a leadership opportunity for students to shape the work of the OIE as well as racial equity work across campus.
    • In the coming academic year, we will assess the Student Support Advising system with the explicit goal of improving support for black, indigenous, and students of color.
    • Leadership and staff in the Office of Security and Campus Safety have undergone multiple series of racial equity training, including training on procedural justice and de-escalation techniques. A Security Advisory Council (SAC), composed of students, has been appointed to work with the office on a range of issues, including issues of bias and racism. A number of recommendations from the SAC have been implemented, including posting student-facing policies on the website, student notifications when a report is written about a particular student, and the availability for a student to provide their account of an incident prior to a conduct meeting. In addition, the office has increased efforts related to relationship and community building with students. In the coming year, the office will undergo additional training and will invite the Lewiston Police Department to join.
  • We will fundraise, and assist students in fundraising, for efforts related to antiracism.
    • The Bates Student Anti-Racism Coalition is a group of student clubs led by the Africana Club, the Black Students Union, and the Caribbean Students Association, with support from the Bates College Student Government and a range of Bates-recognized clubs. The Coalition has come together to initiate a fundraiser for three racial justice organizations that work to support black communities: Color of Change, #FreeThemAll, and Liberation Farms Somali Bantu Community Association. Information on how to contribute to this effort will be forthcoming from the Coalition early this week.
    • Two Bates trustees will match gifts made by alumni to support a new series of Purposeful Work internships for Bates students working at organizations committed to ongoing racial justice work. Information on this challenge will be released the week of June 22.
    • In addition, the financial aid challenge currently offered by an anonymous Bates donor will be expanded to match new gifts to the Benjamin E. Mays Scholarship Fund, which is a financial aid endowment fund established through a gift from the estate of Dr. Mays, with a preference for an African American student. The fund has been added to over the past 35 years through gifts by alumni, parents, and friends.
  • We will improve our support for, and engagement of, our alumni of color.
    • In January, 2020, the former Director of the Office of Intercultural Education joined the College Advancement office to evaluate alumni engagement programs through the lens of equity and inclusion and to lead the development of programs designed to increase our support for alumni of color.
    • We will begin enacting the resulting plan at the beginning of the new academic year.

To succeed in these efforts, and particularly to create a body of progress that is greater than the sum of the parts, we need actively to seek to understand the experiences of the black, indigenous, and people of color in the Bates community. We need to talk to each other and listen to each other. We need to explore issues of inequity and injustice with the rigor we apply to other subjects. This won’t happen unless we demonstrate that we are, collectively, willing to identify, acknowledge, and address issues, and that we have the commitment and capacity to repair harm and make change.

This work has always been important to Bates, it is urgent in this moment, and it is the right and human work to do. I am grateful, as ever, for your help and solidarity as we carry it forward together.



Bates Student Government Statement/Fundraiser

Dear Bates Community,

Over the course of the past few weeks, protests across all fifty states have called for equal justice and an end to racist policing within the United States. Black people and people of color are forced to fear for their lives at the hands of police, even while they are in their own homes. This is unconscionable. As the movement sweeping our nation has demonstrated, now is the time for real action and change.

We, as an alliance of Bates Clubs, Bates’ Anti-racism Coalition, are taking informed civic action. Stemming from the work of Africana, Black Students Union, Caribbean Students Association, and Student Government with support from collective clubs, our coalition is seeking donations for racial justice organizations that work to support Black communities in and around the Lewiston-Auburn area. These organizations include Color of Change, #FreeThemAll, and the Liberation Farms Somali Bantu Community Association. We ask that you join us in supporting the hard work of these organizations. If you have the means to do so, please strongly consider a financial contribution to the Bates’ Anti-racism Coalition GoFundMepage. If you do not, please show your solidarity by protesting, writing to your representatives and the local police department, or having conversations in your own communities.

This international movement sparked by the murder of George Floyd has already made tremendous, unprecedented progress highlighted in the Minneapolis City Council’s promise to dismantle their police department, the same department which employed the four officers responsible for the murder of George Floyd. Minneapolis, however, is just one city among many plagued by long histories of racial inequity and structural injustice, and Lewiston is no exception. The city of Lewiston has been a place of academic and personal growth for all of us. It is time that we use the values instilled in us as Bates students to promote racial justice and equality in Lewiston and the surrounding communities. In the words of the Bates mission statement, now is the time for each of us to uphold our responsibility to “take informed civic action” and be “responsible steward[s] of the wider world.”

In Solidarity,


Black Student Union

Caribbean Students Association

Student Government

Earth to Bates

Environmental Coalition

Feminist Collective

Immigrant Engagement Club

International Club

Latinos Unidos

Sangai Asia


The Strange Bedfellows

Sunshine Society

Women’s Ice Hockey

Olivia Eaton

Bates Robinson Players

Women of Color

South Asian Student Association

Dance Club


Circus Club

Bates Outing Club


Muslim Student Association

Bates Coding Club

Bates Builds

Cold Front

Womxn's ultimate frisbee team

Bates Dems

Jewish Student Union

College Guild

Garden Club

Bollywood Club

Bates Video Game Club (BGC)

High Altitude Ballooning Club

Men’s Lacrosse

Bates Swim and Dive

Black Lives Matter

Lyle Roelofs

Berea College stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and those peacefully demonstrating against police brutality across the country and around the world. Our founding in 1855 by radical abolitionists, the Reverend John G. and Matilda Fee, as the first interracial and coeducational college in the South underscores our unwavering commitment to equality and equity. Black lives mattered to Rev. Fee and the early founders of Berea. When the Kentucky legislature passed the Day Law in 1904, prohibiting integration in private schools, Berea College took the fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court because Black people would have had little chance for education in Kentucky without Berea College. The Court ruled against Berea College, and it was forcibly segregated in 1910.

Stripped of its founding mission for over four decades, the College struggled for nearly a century to reclaim an interracial heritage that includes such notable African American graduates as Carter G. Woodson – known as the father of Black history; Julia Britton Hooks, a teacher, suffragist in the fight for women’s rights, and the grandmother of former NAACP executive director Benjamin Hooks; and James Bond, the grandfather of civil rights activist Julian Bond.

Grounded in a history of activism, Berea College demonstrated its commitment to human rights through its participation in the monumental March on Frankfort, Ky., in 1964 and the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965. Throughout the past 40 years, dedicated efforts to recruit, enroll and retain a diverse student population, combined with increased hiring of African Americans in faculty and staff positions, have resulted in a campus community where nearly half of the students identify as people of color.

Still…we can and must do more. This moment calls for our support. Our history demands it.

Here are several examples of the work we’re already doing to ensure Berea College continues to live fully in its mission to educate blacks and whites together, living up to its motto: God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth (Acts 17:26). We reaffirm our commitment to interracial education, diversity, equity and inclusion, and dismantling white supremacy and systemic racism. Berea College commits to the following:

  1. Increase our efforts in recruitment, enrollment and retention of African American students from Appalachia and urban areas within our enrollment territory.
  2. Create an endowment to support the Carter G. Woodson Center for Interracial Education and the programs it offers.
  3. Establish an endowed professorship in interracial education who is charged with creating a curriculum in interracial education that has a particular emphasis on understanding and equality among all peoples.
  4. Continue to support dialogue on race and education in a bi-annual symposium. The Carter G. Woodson Center for Interracial Education would collaborate with the Black Cultural Center, Student Life and the African and African Studies department to host the event, which will feature discussions on issues of equity in America and what the College and the community can do to dismantle white supremacy and systemic racism.
  5. Endow the Civil Rights Tour, hosted by the Carter G. Woodson Center, as an educational program that explores important locations involved in the Civil Rights movement in the American South.
  6. Introduce courses in Native American studies into the Berea College curriculum to educate students about the history of indigenous people in Kentucky and throughout Appalachia.
  7. Continue to support collaborative diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives through the office of the Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Berea College is guided by eight Great Commitments, among them one that asserts the kinship of all people. Standing in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, the College strives to uphold its commitment to creating an equitable educational community that welcomes, supports and values all members. We invite institutions of higher learning throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the South to join us in our support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Our calling to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly

President Livingstone's Statement on Racism and Violence

My heart is broken as I join with our Baylor students, faculty, staff and alumni in deep grief and prayer over the pain, fear, anger and injustice caused by disturbing events of racism and violence in our nation. As a Christian university, we are called to offer the grace and peace of Christ to others. These continued heartbreaking acts emphasize the great need for all of us to come together as a people, deepen our capacity for compassion and meaningfully address the systemic issues that allow them to happen again and again. Today, I joined my Big 12 Conference colleagues in releasing a statement underscoring the Big 12’s core commitment of “fostering a culture of inclusivity and respect in our campus communities” and how “acts of racism and violence, no matter their origin or target, contradict this core commitment.” Baylor stands with our fellow Big 12 universities in this shared commitment and in the call for “all Americans to join together in addressing matters of racism and injustice in a united, meaningful way.”

From: Baylor University

Subject: Resolution on Racial Healing and Justice

Dear Baylor Family,

These are extraordinary times in our nation and in higher education, and I am honored to be the Chair of Baylor’s Board of Regents as we walk through these days together. I am equally honored to be working alongside the selfless, committed Administration of our University.

Over the past months, as each of us has been fully awakened to the injustices faced daily by our brothers and sisters of color, we have been challenged to ask ourselves not only where our own personal biases have taken hold, but also where the organizations we lead and serve have opportunities to denounce racism and pursue change and a brighter future.

President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D., whose leadership has already yielded multiple initiatives to examine and institute systems and conversation that lead to change, has engaged the Board in vital conversations about Baylor’s response and future actions. The Board has offered its full support and committed to work hand-in-hand with University Administration to ensure Baylor is taking tangible steps to pursue equality and justice for our students, faculty, staff and all of the Baylor Family.

The Board of Regents has issued a resolution to codify its dedication to these efforts and to document the actions it will take to further the pursuit of a University committed to excellence in all things and striving to openly and actively ensure a campus community where every individual feels valued and equally a part of the pursuit of the University’s mission today and for the future.

The Resolution issued by the Baylor Board of Regents may be read in its entirety below.

Working together for a stronger Baylor University,

Mark Rountree

Chair, Board of Regents

Baylor University

Baylor University Board of Regents

Resolution on Racial Healing and Justice

June 25, 2020

The mission of Baylor University is to educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service by integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment within a caring community. That Christian commitment is inconsistent with racism in any form. Baylor has an opportunity and an obligation to pursue racial healing as an expression of our Christian faith and adherence to Biblical principles of justice and love.

Baylor was chartered on February 1, 1845, by the Republic of Texas, and Baylor accordingly reflected the times in which it grew as an institution of higher education during its first decades of operation in the community of Independence, located in Washington County, Texas.

We understand and acknowledge a number of the Baptist leaders and their congregants who began moving into Texas in the 1830s, primarily from the southern half of the United States, owned enslaved persons and held racial views common in that era. These early Baptists eventually included Baylor’s three founders – Judge R.E.B. Baylor, Rev. James Huckins and Rev. William M. Tryon – most members of its initial board of trustees, and several early leaders of the institution.

During Baylor’s infancy, a number of University leaders and prominent individuals connected to the institution supported Confederate causes and engaged in the fight to preserve the institution of slavery both during and following the Civil War, including some serving as members of the Confederacy’s armed forces.

THEREFORE, Baylor University recognizes its historic roots and initiates the process of racial conciliation.

BE IT RESOLVED that the Baylor University Board of Regents openly acknowledges the University’s historical connections to slavery and the Confederacy and must pursue opportunities to inclusively explore and engage in significant conversations about this aspect of the institution’s past.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board of Regents and University denounce racism in all its forms as being inconsistent with Baylor’s Christian mission and the teachings of Jesus Christ and remain committed to instituting and promoting tangible and systemic changes to ensure fair and equitable policies and practices and to holding individuals accountable for such actions and activities that contradict such policies and practices.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the University acknowledges the need to strengthen its commitment to a vibrant, diverse campus community and will intentionally listen to those affected by racism and shall develop a plan to initiate campus-wide conversations; to take steps to increase racial and ethnic diversity of our students, faculty, staff and Administration; and to recognize the significant contributions of the Black community throughout Baylor’s history.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board of Regents, as an extension of the Administration’s important, ongoing work of racial conciliation and as part of this process, hereby establishes a Commission on Historic Campus Representations at Baylor University, an advisory committee established to provide guidance on presenting Baylor’s history as the University continues working to foster an environment through which racial equality is inextricably linked to its mission, and in which students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of color know they are valued and loved throughout the Baylor community, both on campus and in all reaches of the Baylor Family.

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Commission on Historic Campus Representations shall review the historical context of the University and its connection with all statues, monuments, buildings and other aspects of the campus in reference to their physical location, placement and naming, and provide observations for consideration by the Administration and Board of Regents.

AND BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that this resolution be shared with all constituencies of Baylor University in a spirit of openness and transparency and with an expression of the Board’s recommitment to providing a Christ-like compassion and dedication to equality, justice and conciliation at Baylor, throughout our state and nation and among all people.

The Baylor University Board of Regents this twenty-fifth day of June two thousand twenty:

Mark Rountree

Chair, Board of Regents

Baylor University

Members of the Board of Regents

Juneteenth— June 17, 2020

From: Brandeis President Ron Liebowitz

Subject: Clarifying action plans to address systemic racism issues at Brandeis

Dear Brandeis Community,

I want to clarify one part of the message I sent out last week regarding the action plans aimed to address racism on our campus.

Thanks to messages I received from a number of colleagues, and a good discussion with our Faculty Senate last week, I see how my message lacked clarity and specificity when it comes to the intended composition of the groups to draft the action plans. Allow me to clarify and also apologize for the confusion.

The names listed in the memo are those who will be responsible and accountable for submitting plans to me by September 1. I had not intended to limit membership to those involved in the reporting process. I anticipate that each group of action plan leaders will invite individuals to submit ideas and develop the action plans. Mark Brimhall-Vargas, Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, will coordinate these plans with each other and our institutional mission and values.

If someone, or a group, prefers to contribute to the action plans outside the structure I outlined in my email message, I invite and encourage them to do so. They should submit their ideas and recommendations to those responsible for each action plan, or to any office they feel is appropriate, and that office will then share the recommendations with the responsible administrators.

I am aware of the additional burdens we have placed in the past on a small number of individuals, and so I wanted the noted administrators listed in my previous email message to bear the burden of organization and the compiling of these plans. The content, however, must come from the community.


Ron Liebowitz

Standing Together Against Racist Violence

June 1, 2020

Dear Members of the Brandeis Community,

George Floyd’s killing was cruel, inhumane, and contemptible. The injustice of violence against black people must stop.

The history of our great university is intertwined with the pursuit of justice. Brandeis was created in response to antisemitism and bigotry. We cannot tolerate discrimination, hatred, or violence against another person based on their race, religion, or background. These values are as important today as they were at our founding.

These are not just words or noble ideas. These are principles that inspire us at Brandeis to educate, to learn, and to act.

With that in mind, I join with Mark Brimhall-Vargas, chief diversity officer, in calling for us to come together, even if virtually. In the message Mark sent on Friday, he mentioned two different events happening this week. The Heller School is hosting a conference, “Co-Constructing Racial Justice through Life and Work.” And Mark will host “Coming Together to Face Systemic Racism.” I hope you will join me in attending both.

As Brandeisians, not all of our experiences are shared ones. We come from different backgrounds and have different perspectives. But I know that there are some things we have in common. This includes an unwavering commitment to justice, equity, and inclusion. It includes respecting other people, no matter their background.

I hope to see you at one of the events tomorrow or the next day. Let us come together to express our commitment to ending racist violence.



Transforming our campus to eliminate systemic bias

June 9, 2020

Dear Members of the Brandeis Community,

Black Lives Matter.

Last week, I wrote to all of you saying violence against Black people must stop. The killing of George Floyd by police was inhuman, contemptible, and tragic. We gathered together virtually, and I heard many of you express outrage, fear, and the exhaustion of living with cruel racism in your lives and on our campus.

I said then that we must do more; we must do better.

In that spirit, I am announcing an initiative that will transform our campus and address systemic racism. I have asked key administrators to develop and submit action plans in the next 90 days.

  • These action plans must include ongoing, significant engagement with members of the campus community. We must listen, and understand the kinds of systemic racism, bias, and ill-treatment experienced by Black members of our community. But we must go further than dialogue and understanding. We must rapidly move toward concrete change.
  • The action plans I am calling for must be transformational, including new approaches regarding the roles and responsibilities of Public Safety, the Department of Community Living, Human Resources, Athletics, the Academy, and all of us who are charged with creating and sustaining a safe, respectful environment for learning and living.
  • Action plans must be developed with broad input from diverse constituencies. Black students, Black student organizations, other students of color, other student organizations, faculty, members of each of the aforementioned departments, and other staff should all be invited to be part of the drafting process.

I am asking the following administrators to develop and submit these action plans by September 1:

  • Executive Vice President Stew Uretsky, Vice President of Campus Operations Lois Stanley, Vice President for Human Resources Robin Switzer, and Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police Ed Callahan for the plans for Public Safety and Human Resources
  • Vice Provost for Student Affairs Raymond Ou, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Tim Touchette, and Director of Athletics Lauren Haynie for the plans for Community Living, Residential Life, and Athletics
  • Provost Lisa Lynch, Dean Eric Chasalow, Dean Dorothy Hodgson, Dean Katy Graddy, Dean David Weil, and Vice President Lynne Rosansky for the plan for the Academy and its constituent Schools

Despite concerted efforts to address past incidents on campus, discrimination and bias continue to be issues for us at Brandeis. While we have piloted a number of initiatives, most of them voluntary in nature, across the university, we are committed to a more comprehensive approach to addressing racism in order to build stronger, more respectful relationships within the community.

Our university was founded on principles of inclusion that are as relevant today as they were in 1948. As I said at the community virtual gathering last week, we have not always lived up to our ideals, but those ideals — our values — point us in the right direction. The administration and I are committed to moving beyond “business as usual” and requesting voluntary efforts for change. We must work together to build a community that is diverse, welcoming, and free from bias and discrimination.



Clarification regarding action plans to address issues of systemic racism at Brandeis

June 16, 2020

Dear Brandeis Community,

I want to clarify one part of the message I sent out last week regarding the action plans aimed to address racism on our campus.

Thanks to messages I received from a number of colleagues, and a good discussion with our Faculty Senate last week, I see how my message lacked clarity and specificity when it comes to the intended composition of the groups to draft the action plans. Allow me to clarify and also apologize for the confusion.

The names listed in the memo are those who will be responsible and accountable for submitting plans to me by September 1. I had not intended to limit membership to those involved in the reporting process. I anticipate that each group of action plan leaders will invite individuals to submit ideas and develop the action plans. Mark Brimhall-Vargas, Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, will coordinate these plans with each other and our institutional mission and values.

If someone, or a group, prefers to contribute to the action plans outside the structure I outlined in my email message, I invite and encourage them to do so. They should submit their ideas and recommendations to those responsible for each action plan, or to any office they feel is appropriate, and that office will then share the recommendations with the responsible administrators.

I am aware of the additional burdens we have placed in the past on a small number of individuals, and so I wanted the noted administrators listed in my previous email message to bear the burden of organization and the compiling of these plans. The content, however, must come from the community.



Celebrating Juneteenth

June 19, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

I invite us all to join in a celebration today of Juneteenth. This year, perhaps more than in other years, it seems particularly important that we acknowledge this special day and all that it means for us.

Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery in the United States. The date refers to the day in 1865 — more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued — when African Americans in Galveston, Texas first learned of their freedom.

The recent violence against Black people reminds us that we are still fighting racism in this country. We have come a long way since 1865, but it is clear that in 2020 we still have much work to do to combat racism and bigotry.

I recently announced a new initiative to address systemic racism on the Brandeis campus. Because I recognize that it is time to move beyond discussion and study, I have asked for a set of action plans to be submitted to me by September 1. I look forward to working with all of you to convert recommendations in those plans into tangible change on our campus.

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to justice, equity, and inclusion.



From: Pamela J Conlin

Subject: BGSU Foundation Board: Injustice anywhere threatens justice everywhere

Dear Foundation Board members,

As our country grapples with the recent events underscoring racial and social injustice, I’m sharing the following message from President Rogers, sent to our campus community this afternoon. It is appropriate to make a statement underscoring BGSU’s commitment to shared respect and an honest willingness to listen, learn and evolve as a community. We have a large number of students who were looking for a response from BGSU regarding the tragic event in Minnesota, and we wanted to share this message prior to a scheduled protest that is occurring in downtown Bowling Green this evening.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Pam Conlin

Vice President for University Advancement

President & CEO, BGSU Foundation, Inc.

From: BGSU President Rodney K. Rogers

To: Pamela J Conlin

Subject: Injustice anywhere threatens justice everywhere

BGSU remains committed to diversity and belonging.

May 31, 2020

Dear Pamela,

Like you, the response to the senseless death of George Floyd has filled me with many emotions, from anger to sadness. Many of our friends, families, colleagues and peers have made their voices heard or participated in demonstrations across Ohio and the nation.

The recent incident is beyond a tragedy, and it joins what seems an endless list of racism, discrimination and acts of hate that threatens the very fabric of who we should aspire to be.

I know that there is nothing I could say today that would fully heal the pain and hurt that our community, especially those of color, is experiencing. I also recognize that my background affords me many advantages. However, as president and a person who strives to be decent and understanding of others, I have a responsibility and a desire to speak up. Our unjust and inequitable past that has scarred our nation for centuries continues to stain our present and has no place here. We must demand a different and brighter future.

I have been reflecting about just what this means for Bowling Green State University. We believe we are a community where each of us can belong. One of the many things that makes our University so vibrant is that our reach does not stop in Bowling Green or in Huron. We have students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends in Ohio, Minnesota, Georgia and beyond.

While the senseless death of George Floyd did not happen in our own backyard, it does not mean we are immune to injustice. You see, the truth is, I do not have an answer or solution, but collectively, I am confident we must try to find a way forward, and it must be more than dialogue. It will require us to take action based upon a common and shared vision for what we wish our own community to be. Together, we must meet this moment head on, and build bridges and be committed to change using a process of shared respect and an honest willingness to listen, learn and evolve as a community. We can do better, we must do better. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere threatens justice everywhere.”


Rodney K. Rogers, Ph.D.


From: Bowdoin College

Sent: Thu, Jun 11, 2020 7:25 am

Subject: A Message from Clayton Rose

June 11, 2020

To Bowdoin students, faculty, staff, and alumni,

I have been involved in the work of diversity and inclusion as a white ally for thirty years—in the business world running a diversity and inclusion effort, as a mentor, in my research and teaching, and here at Bowdoin. I believed that I was doing good work, that I was making a difference. But these past few weeks have caused me to reflect on this work, and it is clear that, whatever I have done—am doing—it is not enough. Not nearly. I have come up well short as an ally, and I need to learn how to be better and how to make a more meaningful difference in the fight against racism and to the aspiration of being anti-racist. I am at work on this.

I would like to ask the white members of the Bowdoin community do the same—consider what you can do to be a better ally to make a real difference in this fight and to join me in honest reflection and in the consideration of how to change ourselves and to make change in the world. To begin, please watch two videos; they will take about twenty minutes of your time. The first video shares a powerful truth offered by three members of our faculty—Professors Judith Casselberry, Tess Chakkalakal, and Ayodeji Ogunnaike—at a gathering Monday evening on the Quad, exactly two weeks after the murder by police of George Floyd. The second video presents the thoughts, released last Friday, of four-star general Charles Brown—the new US Air Force chief of staff.

Please take the time to view these videos, and to reflect on what they say about where we are as a country and the work that we need to do individually and collectively.

As for our College, we talk proudly about preparing our students to tackle the most difficult challenges and to lead in solving the world’s biggest problems. This is real. We are genuinely successful at this. But, when it comes to racism, we have not lived up to our promise.

This past November, Bowdoin marked the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Africana Studies Program, the African American Society, and the John Brown Russwurm African American Center. Even as we celebrated our Black alumni and students, and the community, scholarship, and programs, we acknowledged the challenges and lack of progress that have confronted Black Americans and our Black community at Bowdoin over those fifty years. The sad truth is that we have not done enough. We are a powerful, privileged institution, and we are obligated not just to stand on the side of what is right, but to fight for it, to make it real in what goes on here and in how we educate, and to prepare our students to lead.

Deliberate, focused, and persistent commitment and action are required if we expect these outcomes to be different. With this in mind, we will start by moving forward on the following work:

  • Require and support every division of the College to develop a plan for the education of its members on institutional racism and anti-racism, building allyship, and creating a more diverse work environment.
  • Ask the appropriate faculty governance committees to examine how the faculty can provide robust educational opportunities for students to engage across the curriculum with the phenomenon of institutional racism, its persistence, and the inequalities, injustices, and harm that result.
  • Create the mechanisms to have greater success in recruiting more Black faculty and staff, and in providing them with the opportunity to thrive and succeed. This will also be true for faculty from other communities of color.
  • Create the mechanisms to have greater success in recruiting more Black students, and students from other communities of color, and give them the support necessary for success. This includes more athletes of color.
  • Significantly improve the engagement and understanding of all students with the issues of structural racism, its persistence, and its outcomes.
  • Create the programming to substantively engage all members of the campus community in the skills to discuss the issues of difference, race, and racism.
  • Engage, educate, and collaborate with the alumni body on the work of understanding and ending structural racism and supporting anti-racism.
  • Collaborate with other academic institutions in this work.
  • Collaborate with state and regional partners to identify and adopt practices that address the eradication of institutional and structural racism.
  • Provide the resources necessary to ensure that these measures are carried out.
  • Develop specific goals and metrics with respect to all of the above, and make the progress and results fully transparent.

We will create and share a specific plan for this work by the time classes begin in the fall, and will solicit the engagement of faculty, staff, students, and alumni in the development of this plan.

We have been in this place many times before—where we see and participate in a collective cry of outrage over the horrific history and evidence of racial violence in this country, but little actually changes. My commitment is to carry out this work and I am accountable for the results. It is through progress and success in this effort that we will make clear Bowdoin’s commitment to this fight, and that we stand in solidarity with our Black community—students, faculty, staff, and alumni.



From: [email protected]

Sent: Wednesday, June 3, 2020 1:01 AM

Subject: Following up on Monday's Letter to the Community

June 3, 2020

Dear Friends,

On Monday, I sent a letter to the BU community to express my horror at the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd at the hands of police officers and others motivated by their hatred of Black people. I tried to express my condemnation of a racist system that is deeply embedded in American life and creates an environment where the murder of Black people and their systematic exclusion from social and economic justice is a daily part of this country’s existence.

Many of you read that letter and have told me I did not do a good job in expressing how I felt about this tragic situation and the state of our country. Hundreds of you spoke from the heart, and I hear you loud and clear. Talking about the return to campus in the same breath as the deaths of those individuals, as I did in the letter, was a mistake. Your concerns have pushed me to reflect on what is most important to say to you at this moment. So if you will allow me one more opportunity.

The entire Boston University community condemns what has transpired in Minneapolis and every other city where African Americans have been killed and racism has been tolerated.

The lives of our Black students, faculty, and staff, and all Black lives, matter. The deaths of Black men and women at the hands of racists should shake every other soul in this nation and make us understand and share your anger.

Racism is an affront to humanity. At universities, of all places, we should understand that by not reminding ourselves of this every day, by not assuming responsibility for its eradication, we aid and abet its perpetuation. And yes, while Boston University has taken a number of steps to fight racism and promote social and economic justice, we need to assume even more responsibility, which we will do and you will see in the months ahead.

I am sorry that I disappointed so many of you on Monday. It was the last thing I wanted to do. Like you, I am sickened by what has happened and continues to happen in our country. In my letter, I spoke like the engineer I was trained to be, trying to look ahead to a time when our community can work together to push out racism and bigotry. Today, this letter is from my heart, and my heart is with all of you who feel the dehumanizing sting of racism, and who lose a part of your own life every time a Black man or Black woman is murdered because they are Black.


Robert A. Brown


From: [email protected]

Sent: Tuesday, June 16, 2020 3:21 PM

Subject: Day of Collective Engagement: Racism and Antiracism, Our Realities and Our Roles

June 16, 2020

Dear Boston University Community,

We are currently experiencing one of the most significant human rights moments of our lifetimes, as people in all 50 states and around the world have mobilized in horror in response to the killing of yet another unarmed Black person by the police. This movement was sparked most recently by the heinous murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, but is also in response to the deaths of countless Black people as a result of centuries of racism and racist policies and structures. The racial disparities which undergird so much of contemporary American society have also been laid bare in the disproportionate toll the COVID-19 pandemic has had on American communities of color. As a community of individuals committed to the attainment of knowledge and pursuit of the truth, we believe it is the responsibility of the entire University community to listen, learn, think critically about, and collectively reflect upon these issues deliberately and with the seriousness they deserve. What is racism? What are the policies that animate, perpetuate, and protect it? How did we get here? How do we change the policies and practices that perpetuate racism? These questions are essential at this moment in our history. And, exploring them is a necessary first step if we are ever to successfully address systemic racism. So, to begin, we will examine, learn, and reflect.

On Wednesday, June 24, we will turn our collective attention to exploring these and other questions during a University-wide Day of Collective Engagement: Racism and Antiracism, Our Realities and Our Roles. The day will begin at 8:30 am with an opening plenary titled “A Conversation on the History of Racism.” This will be followed by a series of concurrent sessions, a Town Hall led by University leaders, and multiple closing debriefing sessions moderated by staff, faculty, and administrators.

We will soon launch a website with details about the day’s schedule and how to access sessions. We ask that all faculty and managers ensure that all classes, meetings, and events currently scheduled for June 24 be rescheduled on another day so that all members of our community can fully participate in these dialogues.

We look forward to coming together as a community to start what must be an ongoing conversation about this vitally important issue.


Robert A. Brown


Jean Morrison

University Provost and Chief Academic Officer

Crystal A. Williams

Associate Provost for Diversity & Inclusion and Professor of English

June 2, 2020

Dear Members of the Boston College Community:

The senseless death of George Floyd while in police custody has left millions in our country shaken, angry, and wondering how is it possible in our day that another black person in America could die in such circumstances. I share those feelings and questions, and I particularly ask how we at Boston College, members of an academic and faith community, can and should respond to the inhumane, racist behavior so evident last week in Minneapolis.

First, I invite you to join me in praying for George Floyd—whose brother described him as a God-fearing person and a man of peace—and for his family and all those who mourn his death. May God give them the strength and consolation they need at this time of devastating loss and sorrow.

In addition, we must condemn the racial prejudice and profound injustice leading to this latest shocking loss of a black person’s life in our country. Reflecting its Jesuit, Catholic heritage, Boston College insists that everyone should be treated with dignity, respect, and grace. It is essential that all of us review our lives to ensure that we act in accord with the Gospel mandate to love God and neighbor. Hatred and racism have no place anywhere, and we are called to challenge such behavior when manifested not only in our community but also in our nation and world.

Finally, it is essential that we remain people animated by faith, hope, and love and not let frustration, anger, and violence prevail. I believe especially helpful and appropriate for us today are words in the eighteenth chapter of the Gospel of St. Luke: “Pray and not lose heart.” And strengthened by our faith and bonds with one another, we must recommit ourselves to promoting a society where all have the possibility of life, liberty, and justice.

William P. Leahy, S.J.


June 10, 2020

Dear Members of the Boston College Community:

America today stands as a nation divided and wounded because of longstanding tensions concerning race, police conduct, and civil liberties. The current anger, division, and alienation result from long-term, systemic causes, and they call for resolution of underlying issues through immediate and sustained action. To move forward, it is essential for everyone to acknowledge and affirm that Black Lives Matter.

For centuries, universities like Boston College have provided venues for engaging critical contemporary questions and concerns and developing effective responses. Consistent with that heritage and influenced by Catholic social teaching, we write to describe how Boston College proposes to help contribute to addressing issues related to racism and racist behavior in our country in 2020 and beyond.

First, the University will establish The Boston College Forum on Racial Justice in America, which will have two key purposes: 1) provide a meeting place for listening, dialogue, and greater understanding about race and racism in our country, especially ideas for dealing with current challenges and planning for a better future; and 2) serve as a catalyst for bridging differences regarding race in America, promoting reconciliation, and encouraging fresh perspectives. Vincent Rougeau, Dean of the Boston College Law School, will be the inaugural director of the Forum, working closely with the President and senior leadership of Boston College as well as a national board of advisors.

The Boston College Forum on Racial Justice in America will begin by hearing from the victims of racism. It will invite individuals to speak about their experiences of racism, police misconduct, job and housing discrimination, healthcare inequities, and wealth disparity to recognize these realities, honor the dignity of those who have suffered from them, and help increase empathy and understanding. The Forum will also ask community and religious leaders, government officials, and members of law enforcement to comment on their efforts to foster community building and public safety in support of the common good. Participants will be offered the opportunity to describe their hopes and dreams for the future. The Forum will sponsor speakers, panels, and seminars about key issues regarding race and needed changes in attitudes and structures. It will also encourage scholarly exploration of conditions that result in racism and racist behavior, and suggest responses and solutions.

Second, the Division of University Mission and Ministry at Boston College will offer a series of multi-faith services to pray for healing and reconciliation in our local community and nation, and implore God’s help in surmounting the sins and effects of racism, injustice, and violence. BC Campus Ministry will seek to establish partnerships with faith communities in the Boston area for dialogue and neighborhood service activities, and it will initiate efforts to enable elementary and high school students to discuss experiences and beliefs concerning race, community, justice, and the future with undergraduates at Boston College. Intercollegiate athletes at BC will also reach out in new ways to youth in metropolitan Boston to build bonds and provide mentorship through sports and academics.

Third, Boston College will strive through its recently announced integration with Pine Manor College and related establishment of the Pine Manor Institute for Student Success to recruit and graduate more underrepresented, first-generation students. This Institute will build on the successes of Pine Manor College in helping students facing major challenges in their pursuit of higher education obtain college degrees, and it will work closely with existing academic outreach programs at BC. Boston College has designated $50 million of its endowment to support activities of the Pine Manor Institute, and it intends to seek additional funds from various sources.

Finally, Boston College will keep working to be true to its mission and values as a Jesuit, Catholic institution of higher education. It will continue emphasizing the importance of the liberal arts and sciences as well as core curriculum courses because they help students engage central issues and ideas, develop skills in analysis and critical thinking, and become more whole, more human, and more free from ignorance and prejudice. These commitments urge Boston College to work for racial justice and to create opportunities across the curriculum for students and faculty to engage in the scholarly exploration of race through a range of disciplinary perspectives. In addition, Boston College will maintain its current commitment to need-blind admission and to meeting the full-demonstrated need of all accepted undergraduate students. Doing so has enabled many underrepresented and underserved students to earn degrees at “the Heights.” The University also will continue strategic investments in such programs as the Thea Bowman AHANA Intercultural Center, Options through Education, Learning to Learn, and the Monserrat Coalition, which have helped numerous students thrive academically and personally, as evidenced by the 96% graduation rate for the most recent cohort of Pell-eligible students. Boston College has also accepted an invitation to join QuestBridge, a highly respected program involving 42 of the nation’s best colleges and universities that helps thousands of talented and high-financial need students apply and gain admission to its partner schools.

We ask you for your advice and support in regard to The Boston College Forum on Racial Justice in America and related initiatives. Working together we can accomplish great things, and help Boston College, our nation, and the world be more just and more at peace.


William P. Leahy, S.J.,


David Quigley,

Provost and Dean of Faculties

Joy Moore,

Vice President for Student Affairs

John Butler, S.J.,

Haub Vice President for University Mission and Ministry

From: The Diversity Leadership Group (Kim Cassidy, President; Mary Osirim, Provost; Jennifer Walters, Dean of the Undergraduate College; Cheryl Horsey, Chief Enrollment Officer; Gina Siesing, CIO & Director of Libraries; Darlyne Bailey, Professor & Dean Emeritus, GSSWSR; Kathy Tierney, Director of Athletics; Ann-Therese Ortíz, Associate Dean for Equity, Inclusion, & Community Life; Vanessa Christman, Assistant Dean for Access & Community Development; Rod Matthews, Multimedia Services)

Date: June 11, 2020

Re: Annual Report, DEI Framework for Action, 2019-2020

We write this year’s report in the context of racist killings that have taken place in the U.S. through this spring and of evidence of deep racial disparities in health outcomes and economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. These each point to grave inequalities in our American systems—inequalities that have demanded attention and action for years. We also write in the context of anger expressed by many students and alumnae about racism at Bryn Mawr, and about the College’s communications about the current moment of protest for racial justice.

This report represents our commitment to remain accountable for the steps we have taken to act on goals we have set for ourselves, and to acknowledge the potential that this time offers for deeper change.

The College, inclusive of the graduate programs, made building an institution-wide commitment to address structural and institutional racism a priority over the past six years. As is evidenced in the annual reports published since this time, many people on campus have worked to advance this commitment and meaningful changes are in process. We have also made mistakes or omissions in some of our efforts, and are determined to learn from them. We reaffirm our commitment to accountability—to measuring our progress, to re-examining and revising as we move forward.

The College as an institution and many members of our community have not always recognized or addressed the full extent of pain that Black students, faculty, and staff have experienced. And we now find ourselves at a new moment in the U.S. that asks us to revisit our work to redress inequities and racism, and to reconsider the role of the College in a broader social movement for racial justice. In 2019 the Board of Trustees added a commitment to racial equity part of its mission statement, and to take responsibility for elements of white supremacy culture within our institution. We are obligated to hold ourselves accountable to that goal, and to continually review, revise, and recommit to it. We must keep advancing our ongoing work as we also realize the imperative of this moment.

This is a multi-generational commitment, undertaken with diligence and urgency, but also a long-term commitment. It requires that we continue to remember that this institution, like all others, are part of the problem; that we need and must be open to guidance; and that we cannot be afraid to look carefully at who we are.

We are sharing some early plans at the same time we release this report, and we will take care to seek input from the community. We aspire to create a shared sense of purpose. As we have seen even over the past several days in our country, our impact is amplified when we work together.

The report that follows reflects work done in the past academic year, 2019-2020, to advance diversity and equity at Bryn Mawr. The College has prioritized its work to address institutional racism and other forms of systematic disparity, and to build a more equitable community in six broad areas:

  • Increasing support and services for students
  • Revising faculty hiring practices to build a more diverse faculty
  • Enacting equity in staff policies and practices
  • Engaging and acknowledging racism and bias in the College’s past and present
  • Identifying structural racism and disparities across the College with help from outside experts, and pursuing change in college and departmental policies and practices
  • Providing education to faculty, staff, and students on racism and other forms of systemic bias.

We want to acknowledge the effort of all of those—students, faculty, and staff—who have contributed to progress over the past year and to express our gratitude for our efforts to build a better Bryn Mawr. We acknowledge that one year of action, no matter how productive, is insufficient to address 400 years of national racial trauma or to 135 years of bias and disparities at this institution. Each year’s work is nonetheless essential to redressing harms and building institutional culture and practices that serve the interests of all members.

2019-2020 Report on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Framework for Action

Support for Students

New Staff Appointments:

  • Ann-Therese Ortíz, Associate Dean for Equity, Inclusion, and Community Life, has brought new leadership to DEI work and to the Pensby Center and its programming. In addition, she is leading a review of the Bias Incident Reporting process and has delivered training, workshops, and mediation across the College.
  • Ellen Farr was appointed to the new position of Assistive Technology Specialist, and is working with students, faculty, and staff to improve student access to the curriculum.
  • Joi Dallas, a new Residential Life Coordinator, served as advisor to the Enid Cook ’31 Center and worked with students to develop robust programming, including Community Nights, Friendsgiving, and a virtual Legacy Day.
  • Kim Taylor was appointed as Bi-College Title IX Officer in February. The College has obtained grant funding to support sexual misconduct prevention programming and Title IX training.
  • Nora Woods serves in the new position of Interfaith Chaplain. She has offered individual and group pastoral counseling, support for spiritual life, and interfaith services. In addition, Pensby hired a student manager to supervise the kosher kitchen.

Student Services:

  • In response to student requests, the College increased support for undocumented and DACAmented students. Dean Ortíz now serves as staff liaison for students who are undocumented, DACAmented, or from families with mixed immigration status. She is providing attention to specific needs of this community, including a central website, workshops, and outreach; offices partnering in this work include Career and Civic Engagement, which offered a career workshop for undocumented students. The College also continues to provide group and individual sessions with immigration attorneys (also available to international students), and to lobby Congress for permanent protections.
  • Pensby and the Dean’s Office has convened a First-Generation/ Low-Income (FGLI) Steering Committee, which created a listserv, website and blog, other means of connection, FGLI Friday Workshops, and oversaw Breaking Barriers and developing recommendations to improve our support of students.
  • Pensby created a Food Pantry open to students during college breaks, and collected supplies and warm outerwear for those in need. Access Services and its student advisory group have developed informational materials for students with disabilities. This will be an ongoing project.
  • Dean Walters has initiated an Advising Review Committee to assess our approach to student advising and explore alternative approaches using a racial equity lens.
  • The Counseling Services offered psycho-educational groups and workshops tailored for students with different social identities and experiences and introduced new educational and advocacy services to assist students with navigating health insurance processes.
  • The Career & Civic Engagement Center (“the Center”) and Alumnae/i Relations and Development launched Mawrter Connect, an enhanced networking platform launched for alums and students. An important feature of this platform was the ability for people to selfidentify around dimensions of diversity to allow for more meaningful connections in areas important to the Bryn Mawr community. The Center is also beginning a partnership with Elivade, a networking platform for Black and Latinx students and professionals co-founded by Bryn Mawr alumna Edisa Rodriguez.
  • The Center worked with AMO groups to launch the AMO Partnership Pilot Project in 2019 to bring alumnae/i to campus for events and programming that represent the diverse student body. Visiting alumnae/I are asked to meet with AMO groups during their visits. The Center fully funds this initiative.
  • The Center co-sponsored a TriCo Diversity Employment Showcase and led a BMC prep event in fall 2019. In partnership with Center staff, Rachael Bacchus ’20 developed a Diversity Internship Workshop.
  • The Center collaborated with Access services to provide new resources about accommodations needed for internships, and to work with organizations to ensure supports for student interns.

New Student Opportunities

• The College is establishing bridge programs for medical school admission for first-gen, low income students from underrepresented groups with the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and with Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine.

Faculty Hiring and Support

Faculty Search Outcomes:

  • From 2015 to 2019, the percentage of tenure and tenure-track faculty who identify as AfricanAmerican, Latinx, Asian American, Pacific Islander or Multiracial has increased from 19% to 30%. We understand that we have not made as much progress in STEM fields as in other parts of the curriculum. Provost Mary Osirim is focusing on this issue with chairs of upcoming faculty searches.
  • Of the nine successful faculty searches in AY ’19-20, four (44%) resulted in hiring a U.S. citizen who identifies as a person of color.
  • Athletics secured a NCAA Minorities and Women's Internship Grant for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Search Practices and Education:

  • Provost Osirim and the faculty Committee on Appointments changed the faculty search process to require a diversity and inclusion statement from all candidates for faculty positions.
  • Using tools from the Race Matters Institute, the group reviewed and revised the description of the College and its values to communicate a commitment to inclusion.

Staff Policies and Practices

  • As of May 31, 2020 and after a multi-year effort of redirecting salary increases to our lowest wage positions, the College achieved a minimum wage of $15/ hour for all permanent positions.
  • In consultation with the College’s Senior Staff and as a result of our work with Race Matters Institute, Human Resources created a new comprehensive staff recruitment and hiring manual based on current best practices for inclusive job descriptions, searches, and hiring procedures that is now being used for all staff searches. As with faculty searches, descriptions of the College used in job ads have been revised to attract a more diverse pool of candidates.
  • A module on diversity, equity and inclusion has been added to the supervisor training sessions. About 75% of staff supervisors have completed the training so far.

College Histories

  • The College began to implement recommendations in the June 2019 reports of the Telling Histories and History Infrastructure Working Groups. Progress included:
  • Establishing a Histories Advisory Committee to the President, including faculty, staff, and students
  • Revising the overview of College history on the College’s website to acknowledge the legacy of bias and its harms.
  • Initiating discussion with Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Project about options to create a memorial that tells a more comprehensive history of the College and of what has been lost by policies of exclusion.
  • Plan for a new exhibit, People Who Built Bryn Mawr, to recognize underrecognized, varied and important contributions to the College by staff, faculty, and students across the past 135 years.
  • Creating a single location on the College website to find resources for pursuing projects on the College’s histories and digital archives of past projects
  • Creating opportunities for students to engage the College’s archives for scholarly projects on the College’s histories, including a Praxis Course taught by Professor Ignacio Gallup-Diaz, “Telling Bryn Mawr Histories”; summer archival internships (in 2020 on the Summer School for Women Workers in Industry); and the Telling Perry Histories oral history project, overseen by the Pensby Center and Residential Life, supported by College Archives and Alumnae Relations and Development, and funded through a LITS Digital Projects grant.
  • Establishing an Oral Histories Steering Group to create policies and structures to guide oral history projects and identify opportunities for training. The Black at Bryn Mawr Tour, led by Jada Ceasar ’20 for the past three years, is offered by students paid by the College. The Tour is offered as part of THRIVE; for alumnae/i at Alumnae Volunteers Weekend and Reunion; at Family Weekend; and on request of departments and other groups. For 2020-2021, the student leader will be Khari Bowman ‘21.

Identifying Racial Disparities and Making Structural Change

Alumnae Relations and Development (ARD):

  • Made diversity, equity, and inclusion the focus of training and planning at the annual summit for alumnae volunteers, and followed up with clubs and other alumnae groups to rethink events and outreach.
  • Following training with the Race Matters Institute, created an internal leadership group to review practices and policies; to create goals and metrics for outreach and inclusion for FY21; and to create structures to keep these goals top of mind for all staff
  • Continued education, including a workshop with Dean Ann-Therese Ortíz.

Career and Civic Engagement Center:

  • The Center annually reviews disaggregated participation data in all events, programs, funding opportunities, and appointments it offers to identify any gaps that exist and to create outreach strategies to address those gaps.
  • Center staff are working to create explicit DEI strategic goals for 2021-2024 drawing on the results of a student-led project from the Advancing Diversity in Higher Education course and on tools from workshops offered by Race Matters Institute, CITE, and Dean Ann-Therese Ortíz.

Enrollment (Admissions and Financial Aid):

  • The College increased financial aid for all students with demonstrated financial need. These changes included giving $2,000 more grant aid to our lowest income students and reducing summer savings expectations for all need-based financial aid recipients.
  • Undergraduate Admissions staff continued work to build equitable review processes for admissions applications.
    • All admissins officers again participated in bias training before application review season.
    • Beginning in 2020-2021, the Cllege will use “Landscape,” a service of the College Board, to ensure that application review is done with awareness of obstacles and disadvantages faced by candidates from poorly resourced schools and communities.
  • Undergraduate Admissions continues to seek new partnerships with community-based organizations (CBOs) and is developing an MOU with Evanston Scholars, a non-profit CBO in greater Chicago, to build outreach to low-income, first-generation, and students of color.


  • Focused on staff recruitment through a DEI lens. 25% of new hires in the past year have been from underrepresented groups, an increase from 20% the previous year.
  • Reviewed student employment data, and made changes to student recruitment to increase awareness of opportunities for students of all demographic groups.
  • Formed a DEI Working Group to prioritize and continuously take action around anti-racist professional development and building equitable and inclusive practices.

The Campaign for Anti-Racist Literacy at BMC (CARLA):

  • This grassroots group (launched in 2018) of staff, faculty, and students continued developing an anti-racist framework, leading BMC to center anti-racism and encouraging action steps including: meeting with President Cassidy with considerations for the appointment of the next Provost; direct outreach to faculty to enhance participation in the Posse Plus retreat; and alignment of course proposals and evaluations with anti-racist goals.

Board of Trustees:

  • The Committee on Trustees has continued to act on its multi-year effort to building more diverse Board membership and leadership.
  • Beginning in spring 2019, the Board of Trustees devoted substantial time to education and to review and revision of practices using a racial equity lens. This work was led by members of its Equity and Inclusion Working Group, co-chaired by Patrick McCarthy Ph.D. ‘80 and Jomaira Pujols Salas ’13.
    • In Octber 2019, the Board held a retreat on diversity, equity, and inclusion facilitated by the Race Matters Institute.
    • In February 2020, each Bard committee used tools provided by RMI to review its practices and set priorities for work
    • The Cmmittee on Trustees has assumed oversight of continued actions.

Education for Staff, Faculty, and Students

  • Workshops led by expert outside facilitators took place on advising (faculty and deans); on multi-dimensional diversity in the workplace (staff and faculty); on microaggressions and microreparations, and on writing support as an equity issue (GSSWSR faculty); and on multicultural competencies in the doctor-patient relationship (Postbac Program).
  • The 2020 Summer Syllabus Writing Workshop, open to all faculty, is focusing on a decolonizing framework in developing our syllabi and our classes.
  • Some faculty took part in the Pennsylvania Consortium for the Liberal Arts’ Faculty of Color Symposium.
  • Major workshops on inclusive classrooms were postponed when the Community Day of Learning was cancelled due to the pandemic. These will be rescheduled for 2020-2021.
  • The Pensby Center presented workshops for enrollment staff, deans and student life staff, LITS staff, Career and Civic Engagement Staff, Alumnae Relations and Development staff, and at New Employee Orientation.
  • Pensby offered workshops and trainings for students in THRIVE, the Postbac Program, and GSAS.
  • Multiple administrative departments participated in anti-bias training, including Campus Safety and Communications.
  • Pensby offered book discussions and seminars for faculty and staff on racism and white privilege in the classroom.
  • Several departments—including LITS, the Center for Career and Civic Engagement, and Alumnae Relations and Development—have established internal DEI teams to lead and support colleagues in continuing education and program development.
  • The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and Athletics Department co-sponsored a "Big Cheesecake Panel" to discuss diversity in athletics recruitment for student-athletes, coaches and staff.
  • BMC and HC Departments of Athletics and PE planned workshops for student-athletes, coaches and athletics staff on unpacking anti-racism and privilege and creating an inclusive culture. These were cancelled due to COVID-19, and are being rescheduled for 2020-2021. Nevin Caple, a nationally recognized speaker, will facilitate.
  • If travel conditions permit, Athletics Department staff will attend the re-scheduled NCAA Inclusion Forum

May 31, 2020:

The Breath of Life

The LORD God formed the human from the topsoil of the fertile land and blew life's breath into his nostrils. The human came to life. (Genesis 2:7, Common English Bible)

Dear Bucknellians,

Over the past months we have all learned of the terrible consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, but relatively few have witnessed or described the horror of dying from this disease. In the end, victims suffocate as less and less oxygen is available to their blood, despite ventilators and all the rest that medicine brings to bear. It will likely be many months before a vaccine is developed, and in the meantime many thousands more will die. This past weekend, we passed the 100,000 mark of COVID-19 deaths in this country. We all want to be inoculated against losing our breath — the breath of life — seeing our life slip away, crying out, perhaps, for our mothers to save us.

The awful reality of this pandemic is amplified when one considers how differentially our nation’s populations suffer under its murderous grip, signaling again just how far from ideal are our health-care system, our social infrastructure, our commitment to equality, and, I’m afraid, our conception of what it means to be human. The fact that black people are more than twice as likely as white people to die from COVID-19 in this country is an appalling reminder of where we are, and where we need to be, in America.

But now we see, of course, another appalling reminder of where we are in this nation, as again we witness the senseless terror of yet another person killed because he is a black man. George Floyd lost the breath of life not over days, but over minutes. Starved of oxygen just the same, under the knee of a white law enforcement officer, he called out for his mother too, but to no avail, as his life was stolen away. This is an atrocity; there’s no justification, no excuse. The question now is: Will there be justice?

For all members of our community who feel and have felt the weight of that knee upon them, sometimes for decades, and sometimes right here on our campus, we are with you. We call out those who deny the dignity, the freedom and the peace of others. And to all of the Bucknell community: It is more important now than ever that we work diligently to do what we can, where we can, to end this terrible scourge, this stain on the fabric of our nation. If education is not the answer, then what is? What are we otherwise doing here?

A few days ago I was sitting in the MLK Garden behind Vaughan Literature as my two little boys were riding their bicycles around the Malesardi Quadrangle. Staring at the bust of Edward Brawley, Bucknell’s first African American graduate, I read again and again Dr. King’s quote on the pedestal, which states that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We have to do better. As an institution, as a community and as a nation. We must do better. And the onus is on us to transform the institution, the community and the nation. Each of us bears that responsibility differently, but our collective investment is what a community requires. I look forward to the days when we are back together, here, and can work together to build that better community, that better nation and that better Bucknell.


John Bravman


From: President John Bravman and Board of Trustees Chair Chris O’Brien

Sent: Monday, June 15, 2020 11:17 AM

Subject: Actions to Support Diverse Communities

Dear Members of the Bucknell Community,

In recent days many of you have reached out to us personally, posted on social media, or signed petitions on Change.org and elsewhere to express your frustration and anger regarding the circumstances surrounding the brutal murder of George Floyd and the many other cases of racial injustice in our country. You have asked Bucknell to take a deeper look at how it can do more to make meaningful change. We hear you and are committed to leading the University in that work. Black lives do matter at Bucknell.

In President Bravman’s Breath of Life email, we reaffirmed that Bucknell can and must do more when it comes to issues that focus on justice, equity and human rights. As an institution of higher education, we have an obligation, as our mission statement and our strategic plan clearly state, to address historical and emerging barriers to equity and inclusion and provide all students, faculty and staff the structures and programs to thrive on campus and in a diverse world. This includes overcoming racism.

In the midst of these trying times, our challenge and opportunity is to find ways to bring all members of our community together to build a learning and work environment that is inclusive in fact and not merely in rhetoric. Although our work necessarily will be extensive and ongoing, some immediate actions we are taking are as follows. Other actions will follow, including development of evaluation and reporting processes, and all will be complementary to the existing efforts of the President’s Diversity Council, the Provost’s office, Student Affairs and many others.

Being Heard

There are far too few opportunities for Bucknell’s diverse communities to truly and authentically be heard. You’ve told us this many times. In the past few weeks there have been a few such opportunities, including Zoom meetings, for which we are grateful, but we know that these must not be organized just in the wake of tragedy. We understand that if people cannot be heard, learning is impossible.

We also understand that those who hear must truly listen and strive to understand, and must include those who have the special responsibility of nurturing the University at the highest levels. To this end, the president’s senior team, the Operations & Management Group (OMG), will henceforth include the Associate Provost For Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. Furthermore, the OMG will create more opportunities to listen to individuals and groups concerning their experiences at Bucknell and how our work must evolve to make Bucknell better. Similarly, and at least annually, the Board of Trustees will, as a whole, directly engage with diverse members of the community on critical issues concerning the University. These forms of engagement, and others, along with ongoing assessments thereof, will help all of us further identify actions that lead to sustainable change.

Employee Training

As part of a systematic effort to build a more inclusive and diverse environment, we will design and institute a strengthened and more permanent set of programs that address such common workplace issues as unconscious bias, search process design and systemic pay disparities. Part of this effort will be aimed at new employees and the on-boarding process, but the training and reviews we build will be required of all employees and units. Additionally, college and divisional leaders will pursue training and professional development opportunities to raise workplace awareness of racism and other forms of discrimination, and to define action steps to create a more welcoming and inclusive environment at the University. One essential component of that improvement must comprise building and retaining a more diverse faculty and staff.


As an academic institution, the curriculum is at the center of our mission. As Provost Elisabeth Mermann-Jozwiak said recently in a faculty and staff town hall meeting, we are committed to incorporating the study of injustice and inequality across the curriculum. We are already doing this in parts of the institution, but we can and will do better. Consistent with the call in the Plan for Bucknell 2025 to study the feasibility of a University Core Curriculum, we will include in this analysis coursework centered on the role of privilege in contemporary society. This will further the goal of developing students who, in the words of our mission statement, “serve the common good while seeking to promote justice in ways sensitive to the moral and ethical dimensions of life.”

Creation of an Anti-Racism Fund

Overseen by the Office of the Provost, an Anti-Racism Fund will support campus-wide anti-racism and anti-bias efforts including but not limited to facilitator training, resource materials, curriculum development, and faculty, staff and student education and programming. Until our financial picture for the next budget year is clearer, this fund will be seeded by a reallocation of existing resources while also becoming a designation for philanthropic support.

Search for Our New Director of Multicultural Student Services

Our current director recently announced she is leaving Bucknell for an opportunity at another institution. We immediately posted the search for her successor with the goal of filling this critical position as soon as possible.

The University’s work continues to be supported by our faculty and staff partners engaged in, for instance, the Griot Institute for the Study of Black Lives & Cultures, the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity & Gender, and Multicultural Student Services, amongst many others. We also will continue building upon the work of the Diversity Plan as we complete its second iteration. We ask members of our campus community to take advantage of these programs and resources and the dedicated staff who, through these initiatives, continue to focus on creating a more inclusive and welcoming Bucknell. For more, please visit this website.

Looking Ahead

We want to make clear, both personally and on behalf of Bucknell, that we need to do better. We must maintain the will and allocate the resources to do all we can as a University to cultivate an academic environment that is socially just, equitable, inclusive, accessible and diverse. We will address it in our educational programs, in our teaching and scholarly work, and in our engagement and related activities. In the coming weeks and months, you will hear more from us and other members of our campus community as we continue to find collective answers to the persistent issues we all know but too infrequently recognize.

We must and will do better moving forward. And this must be everyone’s responsibility. We owe it to our current students, faculty and staff. We owe it to the communities and organizations where our students become not only contributing members, but also leaders. We owe it to our future students. And we owe it to our society. It won’t be easy, but it is critically important, and we all need to join the conversation and take action if we are to make progress against racism and discrimination.


John Bravman, President

Chris O’Brien ’80 P’18 ’20, Chair of the Bucknell Board of Trustees

Dear Members of the Brown Community,

Unjust legacies of slavery and violence rooted in anti-Black racism have beleaguered this nation for centuries. These legacies appear today in both blatant and subtle ways, and are structural, systemic and persistent. They are obstacles to equity: in education, economic opportunity, policing, health care, housing, criminal justice and more, and threaten the lives and livelihoods of Black people in this country. These conditions are not new, but the brutal murder of George Floyd and countless others in the last few months have forced global attention on the realities that people of color, and especially Black people, face and fear in their daily lives.

Brown University, with its own well-documented direct ties to the trans-Atlantic slave trade, has sought to address the enduring presence and impact of racism and bias on campus, and to contribute to discourse, policy and outcomes through education, research and service. Through the extensive and deliberate work of so many students, staff, faculty and alumni, Brown remains deeply committed to this work, and to cultivating an environment in which every person is treated with dignity and respect.

While we have made progress in diversifying parts of campus, substantial work remains specifically in addressing anti-Black racism. Universities like Brown have a role to play in dismantling systemic racism by providing pathways for equity and access, advancing knowledge and enacting change locally and globally through teaching, research and public engagement.

We are writing to share steps that Brown will take immediately and over the longer term to more effectively drive necessary change on and beyond our campus to address anti-Black racism.

First, we want to acknowledge that Friday, June 19 (Juneteenth), is commemorated and celebrated in the U.S. by many as a day that marked the end of slavery. Brown will offer this as a paid day off for Brown employees, providing time to reflect on the national climate regarding issues of race, to learn more specifically about anti-Black racism, and to think about what each of us can do individually to promote change. There are a number of resources available to support this, including those offered by the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, and the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity. Essential onsite staff who are unable to take June 19 as a day off should work with their supervisor to arrange for an alternative day.

The further steps outlined in this letter are a set of initial actions the University will pursue, aligned with Brown’s mission. Additionally, we know that including students, faculty, staff and alumni in identifying significant ways to effect real and meaningful change is essential for the work we will do together, and we’ll develop additional action steps following a process of community engagement.

Task Force

The scourge of bias, structural racism and violence against people of color, and particularly African Americans, runs long and deep, and addressing the origins and implications on and beyond the Brown University campus requires an intensive and comprehensive undertaking. The President will appoint a Task Force to focus on anti-Black racism, which will be asked to issue a set of recommendations by spring 2021. The Task Force will be co-chaired by Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity Shontay Delalue and Associate Professor of Religious Studies Andre C. Willis, and membership will include faculty, staff, students and alumni, including members appointed through a process involving the various governance bodies (SAC, GSC, UCS, MSS, FEC, BAA, etc.).

Research and Education

Central to Brown’s mission is advancing knowledge, raising awareness and contributing to policy discussion, debate and change through research and education. Building on the exceptional work taking place across campus — in the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, and in many schools, institutes, departments and centers — the University will establish a seed fund to support research and education aimed at addressing anti-Black racism and police violence. The fund, to be administered by the Office of the Provost and the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity, will provide grants to individuals or groups from academic and administrative departments to support scholarship and programming to advance awareness and understanding, and effect policy changes related to anti-Black racism specifically, and structural racism more generally. Details for proposal submission will be shared in the coming days.

In addition, through the various centers and departments on campus, the University will sponsor programming aimed at educating our community about the consequences of and strategies to combat anti-Black racism in the U.S. and throughout the world. Professor Tricia Rose, director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, will coordinate these efforts.

Educational Equity and Access

The 2006 report of the Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice underscores the importance of addressing today’s legacies of slavery through education, both by expanding access to Brown and also improving educational opportunities for marginalized students in Providence and Rhode Island.

In the coming year, the Office of College Admission will launch an initiative to intensify outreach efforts to attract and recruit more African American/Black undergraduate students to Brown with the goal of admitting a more diverse student body. Brown has a vibrant Black alumni community that, as students and now as alumni, has helped shaped the institution in innumerable ways. Brown is dedicated to continuing to recruit, matriculate and graduate more African American/Black students and those from other underrepresented demographics to ensure the institution continues to provide equitable opportunities to individuals who have been historically barred from access to higher education and to enhance the educational benefits of a diverse student body.

Brown has long and deep connections to the Providence Public School District, though engagement efforts have been diffuse and decentralized, often lacking strategic alignment with the school district’s priorities and overall accountability. Over the last year, Brown has been deeply engaged in discussions with city and state educational leaders to identify specific ways for the University to support efforts to strengthen teaching and learning in the Providence Public Schools. Drawing on the expertise and resources of Brown’s Annenberg Institute for School Reform, Department of Education, Swearer Center for Public Service, and other departments and centers across the University, we are developing a set of initiatives that align with the school district’s plans.

These efforts will require resources. We are committing to fully fund, no later than the end of this calendar year, the Fund for the Education of the Children of Providence, which was established in response to the report of the Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice. With discussions underway with the Commissioner of Education and the new Superintendent of Providence Public Schools, details on this initiative will be announced in the coming months.

Strengthening Partnerships to Improve Opportunities and Outcomes

Brown has a long and valued partnership with Tougaloo College, a historically Black college in Mississippi. As part of efforts to respond to the current national climate and fortify the partnership, Brown’s School of Public Health and Tougaloo College recently announced the Health Equity Scholars program. With the goal of expanding voices and perspectives in public health by changing the makeup of public health leadership, the scholars program will begin by admitting up to five Tougaloo graduates into Brown’s Master of Public Health program this fall and in subsequent years. Scholars will receive a full-tuition scholarship, enhanced mentorship and internships focused on training the next generation of public health leaders. We will work over the coming academic year to identify additional avenues for expanding upon the Brown/Tougaloo partnership in response to current times.

Review of Campus Policing Policies and Practices

Activism locally and globally is raising important questions about policing in the 21st century. It is important that we do this on our own campus in a thoughtful and rigorous way, and engage our community in the process. Brown University’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) was already scheduled for an external review this summer, and we have retained Margolis Healy, a nationally recognized campus safety and security consulting firm, to lead this comprehensive external assessment. Through this process, we will evaluate campus safety needs and consider the relevant policies, practices and organizational structure required to ensure security on our campus. The review will also consider critical questions related to the reimagining of community policing that are responsive to campus community voices and the national dialogue around policing. The process will include information gathering from diverse constituencies including students, specifically those from marginalized groups; student organizations; faculty; staff; DPS members; and other community members.

Community Voices

We have heard from graduate, undergraduate and medical students, staff, faculty and alumni with voices of fear, anger, hope, exhaustion, urgency and duress. Many centers, departments and campus-based organizations have created forums to discuss recent incidents of anti-Black racism and violence, join in solidarity, plan protest, offer care and comfort, and become more educated and aware. The University will also convene a range of sessions organized through the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity to hear from the community. What we learn through this process, as well as information gathered in the past, will guide our work in the 2020-21 academic year.

We have heard from so many in our community for a call to action. We bring to this effort a shared sense of urgency as well as perseverance, as there is much to be done. We will need the entire Brown community to actively work together for real and meaningful change. By doing so, we can confront the entrenched forces that have prevented progress, equity and justice. We recognize this will not be easy and at times will be uncomfortable, but systemic change is never easy. This is Brown’s role and part of our mission, and thus it is our responsibility.


Christina H. Paxson, President

Richard M. Locke, Provost

Barbara Chernow, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration

Dear Members of the Brown Community,

Unjust legacies of slavery and violence rooted in anti-Black racism have beleaguered this nation for centuries. These legacies appear today in both blatant and subtle ways, and are structural, systemic and persistent. They are obstacles to equity: in education, economic opportunity, policing, health care, housing, criminal justice and more, and threaten the lives and livelihoods of Black people in this country. These conditions are not new, but the brutal murder of George Floyd and countless others in the last few months have forced global attention on the realities that people of color, and especially Black people, face and fear in their daily lives.

Brown University, with its own well-documented direct ties to the trans-Atlantic slave trade, has sought to address the enduring presence and impact of racism and bias on campus, and to contribute to discourse, policy and outcomes through education, research and service. Through the extensive and deliberate work of so many students, staff, faculty and alumni, Brown remains deeply committed to this work, and to cultivating an environment in which every person is treated with dignity and respect.

While we have made progress in diversifying parts of campus, substantial work remains specifically in addressing anti-Black racism. Universities like Brown have a role to play in dismantling systemic racism by providing pathways for equity and access, advancing knowledge and enacting change locally and globally through teaching, research and public engagement.

We are writing to share steps that Brown will take immediately and over the longer term to more effectively drive necessary change on and beyond our campus to address anti-Black racism.

First, we want to acknowledge that Friday, June 19 (Juneteenth), is commemorated and celebrated in the U.S. by many as a day that marked the end of slavery. Brown will offer this as a paid day off for Brown employees, providing time to reflect on the national climate regarding issues of race, to learn more specifically about anti-Black racism, and to think about what each of us can do individually to promote change. There are a number of resources available to support this, including those offered by the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, and the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity. Essential onsite staff who are unable to take June 19 as a day off should work with their supervisor to arrange for an alternative day.

The further steps outlined in this letter are a set of initial actions the University will pursue, aligned with Brown’s mission. Additionally, we know that including students, faculty, staff and alumni in identifying significant ways to effect real and meaningful change is essential for the work we will do together, and we’ll develop additional action steps following a process of community engagement.

Task Force

The scourge of bias, structural racism and violence against people of color, and particularly African Americans, runs long and deep, and addressing the origins and implications on and beyond the Brown University campus requires an intensive and comprehensive undertaking. The President will appoint a Task Force to focus on anti-Black racism, which will be asked to issue a set of recommendations by spring 2021. The Task Force will be co-chaired by Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity Shontay Delalue and Associate Professor of Religious Studies Andre C. Willis, and membership will include faculty, staff, students and alumni, including members appointed through a process involving the various governance bodies (SAC, GSC, UCS, MSS, FEC, BAA, etc.).

Research and Education

Central to Brown’s mission is advancing knowledge, raising awareness and contributing to policy discussion, debate and change through research and education. Building on the exceptional work taking place across campus — in the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, and in many schools, institutes, departments and centers — the University will establish a seed fund to support research and education aimed at addressing anti-Black racism and police violence. The fund, to be administered by the Office of the Provost and the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity, will provide grants to individuals or groups from academic and administrative departments to support scholarship and programming to advance awareness and understanding, and effect policy changes related to anti-Black racism specifically, and structural racism more generally. Details for proposal submission will be shared in the coming days.

In addition, through the various centers and departments on campus, the University will sponsor programming aimed at educating our community about the consequences of and strategies to combat anti-Black racism in the U.S. and throughout the world. Professor Tricia Rose, director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, will coordinate these efforts.

Educational Equity and Access

The 2006 report of the Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice underscores the importance of addressing today’s legacies of slavery through education, both by expanding access to Brown and also improving educational opportunities for marginalized students in Providence and Rhode Island.

In the coming year, the Office of College Admission will launch an initiative to intensify outreach efforts to attract and recruit more African American/Black undergraduate students to Brown with the goal of admitting a more diverse student body. Brown has a vibrant Black alumni community that, as students and now as alumni, has helped shaped the institution in innumerable ways. Brown is dedicated to continuing to recruit, matriculate and graduate more African American/Black students and those from other underrepresented demographics to ensure the institution continues to provide equitable opportunities to individuals who have been historically barred from access to higher education and to enhance the educational benefits of a diverse student body.

Brown has long and deep connections to the Providence Public School District, though engagement efforts have been diffuse and decentralized, often lacking strategic alignment with the school district’s priorities and overall accountability. Over the last year, Brown has been deeply engaged in discussions with city and state educational leaders to identify specific ways for the University to support efforts to strengthen teaching and learning in the Providence Public Schools. Drawing on the expertise and resources of Brown’s Annenberg Institute for School Reform, Department of Education, Swearer Center for Public Service, and other departments and centers across the University, we are developing a set of initiatives that align with the school district’s plans.

These efforts will require resources. We are committing to fully fund, no later than the end of this calendar year, the Fund for the Education of the Children of Providence, which was established in response to the report of the Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice. With discussions underway with the Commissioner of Education and the new Superintendent of Providence Public Schools, details on this initiative will be announced in the coming months.

Strengthening Partnerships to Improve Opportunities and Outcomes

Brown has a long and valued partnership with Tougaloo College, a historically Black college in Mississippi. As part of efforts to respond to the current national climate and fortify the partnership, Brown’s School of Public Health and Tougaloo College recently announced the Health Equity Scholars program. With the goal of expanding voices and perspectives in public health by changing the makeup of public health leadership, the scholars program will begin by admitting up to five Tougaloo graduates into Brown’s Master of Public Health program this fall and in subsequent years. Scholars will receive a full-tuition scholarship, enhanced mentorship and internships focused on training the next generation of public health leaders. We will work over the coming academic year to identify additional avenues for expanding upon the Brown/Tougaloo partnership in response to current times.

Review of Campus Policing Policies and Practices

Activism locally and globally is raising important questions about policing in the 21st century. It is important that we do this on our own campus in a thoughtful and rigorous way, and engage our community in the process. Brown University’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) was already scheduled for an external review this summer, and we have retained Margolis Healy, a nationally recognized campus safety and security consulting firm, to lead this comprehensive external assessment. Through this process, we will evaluate campus safety needs and consider the relevant policies, practices and organizational structure required to ensure security on our campus. The review will also consider critical questions related to the reimagining of community policing that are responsive to campus community voices and the national dialogue around policing. The process will include information gathering from diverse constituencies including students, specifically those from marginalized groups; student organizations; faculty; staff; DPS members; and other community members.

Community Voices

We have heard from graduate, undergraduate and medical students, staff, faculty and alumni with voices of fear, anger, hope, exhaustion, urgency and duress. Many centers, departments and campus-based organizations have created forums to discuss recent incidents of anti-Black racism and violence, join in solidarity, plan protest, offer care and comfort, and become more educated and aware. The University will also convene a range of sessions organized through the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity to hear from the community. What we learn through this process, as well as information gathered in the past, will guide our work in the 2020-21 academic year.

We have heard from so many in our community for a call to action. We bring to this effort a shared sense of urgency as well as perseverance, as there is much to be done. We will need the entire Brown community to actively work together for real and meaningful change. By doing so, we can confront the entrenched forces that have prevented progress, equity and justice. We recognize this will not be easy and at times will be uncomfortable, but systemic change is never easy. This is Brown’s role and part of our mission, and thus it is our responsibility.


Christina H. Paxson, President

Richard M. Locke, Provost

Barbara Chernow, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration

Letter from Brown’s senior leaders: Confronting racial injustice

As communities confront ongoing anti-black racism, University leaders wrote to the Brown community to express deep sadness and anger regarding incidents that continue to cut short the lives of black people.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Brown University’s senior leaders shared the following message about confronting anti-black racism and racial injustice with the University’s community of faculty, staff, students on Saturday, May 30, and with all Brown alumni on Monday, June 1.

Confronting racial injustice

Dear Brown Community,

We write to you today as leaders of this university to express first deep sadness, but also anger, regarding the racist incidents that continue to cut short the lives of black people every day.

The sadness comes from knowing that this is not a mere moment for our country. This is historical, lasting and persistent. Structures of power, deep-rooted histories of oppression, as well as prejudice, outright bigotry and hate, directly and personally affect the lives of millions of people in this nation every minute and every hour. Black people continue to live in fear for themselves, their children and their communities, at times in fear of the very systems and structures that are supposed to be in place to ensure safety and justice.

The anger comes from knowing that we have been here before, and in fact have never left. Rallies and protests across the country are raising voices about ongoing injustice in the wake of the killings of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, KY, and George Floyd in Minneapolis. As a nation, we might have thought there would be some real change after the deaths of Freddie Gray and Sandra Bland, both who died in police custody in 2015, a year in which some justice organizations reported more than 100 police shootings of unarmed black people in the United States. And this was after our nation mourned and protested the ongoing epidemic of racism with the 2014 deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and countless others before and after that year.

All of these deaths “launched national conversations” about anti-black racism. And we know that so many in our community keep asking how many times these conversations have to happen before there is real change. We know there are so many in our community hurting and deeply frustrated, and things are made worse by a pandemic that doesn’t allow us to be together and is disproportionately killing black people. We have not been able to gather in some of the ways that usually unite us to build collective understanding, mourn and make calls for action.

We hope that wherever you may be, you seek to effect change in your communities in the ways that make sense for you while preserving your health and safety in this time of COVID-19. And this does not apply only to members of our community residing in the United States. Tragic and traumatic examples of injustice against racial, ethnic and religious minorities persist around the world, resulting in horrific instances of brutality, incarceration and death. Our local and national government leaders need to hear from us as individual constituents in their communities consistently and persistently on issues of racial and ethnic injustice.

As a university, we have tremendous resources in our departments, centers and institutes that can help our community and our society interrogate the persistent and deeply disturbing issues related to race, racism and police violence in America. In the weeks and months to come, we will leverage the expertise of our faculty, staff and students to develop programming, courses and research opportunities designed to advance knowledge and promote essential change in policy and practice in the name of equity and justice.

We are a community that does not condone acts of racism, discrimination or violence. This cannot be accepted as “normal.” We must continue to demand equity and justice for all people, inclusive of all identities. And we must continue to care for and support each other, especially in this time when we are apart.


Christina H. Paxson, President

Richard M. Locke, Provost

Amanda Bailey, Vice President for Human Resources

Andrew Campbell, Dean of the Graduate School

Russell Carey, Executive Vice President for Planning and Policy

Barbara Chernow, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration

Cass Cliatt, Vice President for Communications

Shontay Delalue, Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity

Joseph Dowling, Chief Executive Officer, Investment Office

Jack Elias, Senior Vice President for Health Affairs, Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences

Eric Estes, Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services

Eileen Goldgeier, Vice President and General Counsel

Sergio Gonzalez, Senior Vice President for Advancement

Marguerite Joutz, Chief of Staff and Assistant to the President

Larry Larson, Dean of Engineering

Bess Marcus, Dean of the School of Public Health

Kevin McLaughlin, Dean of the Faculty

Jill Pipher, Vice President for Research

Bill Thirsk, Chief Digital and Information Officer

Michael White, Chief Financial Officer

Rashid Zia, Dean of the College

To Our Legacy Leaders Across White America:

I write at my wits’ end and with exhausted patience. I write on behalf of those who do not have the privilege to worry about their patience draining as they watch the news or their wits thinning as the next hashtag emerges; instead, they are, as they must be, focused on their blood draining in the street and the air thinning in their throats as they are shot down and suffocated under the knees and at the hands of the very people who are sworn to protect and serve them — all while white America watches it unfold, too silent and too much waiting in the background.

Yes, my heart breaks for our nation and the sickness that is the systemic racism and white privilege that we, you and I, as a people, are allowing at an incalculable cost. But in this time and space, it is not my heart that matters. It is the hearts of black moms seeing a video of another black son crying out for his mother as his life slowly drains from his body. It is the heart of the man disrupted from bird watching by a woman whose 911 call is riddled with a weaponizing subtext that anyone who looks like him knows all too well. And sadly, it is the hearts of all parents who send their black and brown children into the world every day, terrified that their son or daughter could be next.

While I do not pretend to fully grasp or understand the weight of this constant terror that people of color in our nation live with (and often die under), I can use my unearned privilege to call out a system that seems institutionally designed to have human beings imprisoned or murdered for doing just about anything — walking, jogging, driving, wearing a hoodie, and yes, birdwatching — while black. And to borrow Nancy Armour’s words from her recent USA Today column, when I say “privilege,” I am not referencing the economic sense, although that is real and tragic in and of itself. I am naming the privilege that is the “ability to go about daily life without being judged at first sight or having the innate fear that your mere existence will bring you harm.” And if we do not believe that privilege exists or cannot recognize it, then we are not only a perpetuator of a system that benefits us, we are a real and actual danger to people of color.

To be sure, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and what it has brought to bear on us at California State University, Fullerton and our leadership team — and all it has wrought and imprinted upon us as a nation and all leadership teams — it would be easy to miss or dismiss the events that reveal the true plague upon our communities. But my heart, my faith, and my God will not let me do that, and I feel certain that I am not alone among my colleagues. I feel sure that many are similarly disgusted, incensed, and moved to tears by what is rearing its visage in our communities, wreaking havoc in our institutions, and playing out upon the streets of our country.

To those allies I say we need to not just be moved to tears, but to action. To not just wring our hands, but ring the alarm. To not just stand by, but stand up. To not just talk about the issue, but know when to shut up and listen to those whose lives are upended by it. To not just whisper in shaded corners, but shout out from whatever platform we have been given.

Indeed, there comes a time when inaction reveals more than betrayal of principle. It portends complicity and acquiescence, if not quiet permission. That time is long past due. These black and brown lives are our students, our future, our Eden. If we do not hear their cries, listen to their lived experience, and step out and stand up for and with them, we will surely perish ourselves as a people and as a nation. For one need only click on the television or social media to see that the ties that bind us as Americans are fraying and the bonds that quilt us as a people are at their ridged limit.

I write only after direct communication with multiple leaders of our black community in and around Orange County. Leaders like Dr. Thomas Parham, Dr. Ivan Pitts, Dr. Ralph Williamson, Dr. Dawn Person, Dr. Soraya Coley, and Lt. Col. Ron Coley (Ret). I write only after listening to what they say must happen; that all leaders in this nation — not just black leaders but all leaders — need to stand and be counted, to step up and out, to speak truth and work for systemic change.

And so I write to you, calling you out as I do myself. We, each of us, are in positions of leadership, positions of privilege, positions of influence. We tolerate, enjoy, and dare I say defend, the paradigms and institutions that have at their very inception insidious whiffs and seedings of racism and privilege for some at the expense of the other.

To you (to us) I say, it is time. It is past time. Time is up. We must face who we are, how we live, what we allow and turn our faces from. To do so is not traitorous or heretical any more than a peaceful black knee bending in protest of a murderous white knee is unpatriotic or un-American. On the contrary, kneeling with, standing for, and speaking out on behalf of our black and brown communities is not only the very definition of patriotism, but what we must do with greater courage and conviction if we hope to see the human spirit endure.

It seems that we have been put here with purpose and, for some of us, with privilege. Can we recognize our purpose and use our privilege to effect change? Can we do so not just in our classrooms and boardrooms, but in our streets and parks? Not only among our students, faculty, and staff, but throughout our communities? Not only in our heads, but in our hearts?

We often talk of existential threats. I say we have met that threat and it is clear. It is staring us in the face, reflecting in the mirror, smirking at us on video screens, rising from the shadows of persecution with the stench of marginalization and manipulation, ignorance and complacency, privilege and power.

Unchecked it has and will again shoot someone as they jog in the street, choke someone to death as others beg for empathy, or call the police with a false charge in the hope that similar atrocities befall another innocent person of color – and no one will stop it.

I want to stop it. Our black and brown communities want to stop it. I am sure in my heart you want to join us in stopping it. Now and forever.

And so I ask, might we begin to talk as a people to bring that dream to fruition? Might we talk of action to change; of stepping up and speaking out? Might we as leaders seek, no, demand a national convening, a renewed dedication, and a reaffirmed determination to face this enemy; to root out this insidious institutional racism; to exhaust privilege and give way to justice, equity, humanity? Will you each commit aloud to this? Will you join me? Will you seek out, organize and galvanize with our communities of color to face this challenge; come together at the local, state, and national level; lend your name, character, reputation and, dare I say privilege, to this effort? Will you?



Framroze M. Virjee, JD


June 5, 2020

Dear California Community College Family,

With the goal of improving outcomes for all of our students, over the past three years we have been committed to implementing the Vision for Success reforms with equity at the core of our work. Over the past three months, this system has mobilized to help 2.1million students in the middle of a global pandemic. With equity at the forefront of decision-making, our faculty, staff, student leaders, administrators and trustees have responded with resources such as, Wi-Fi, laptops, hot meals, emergency loans and online education for our students. Most recently, our system and our students are hurting and they are outraged because of the systemic racial injustices that still exist in our country. In this moment, we need to use our positions of privilege, influence and power to make a difference.

More than 69 percent of our students identify with one or more ethnic groups—this means that we serve the most diverse student populations in all of higher education. On Wednesday, the Chancellor’s Office hosted a “Call to Action” webinar. Chancellor Oakley and system leaders called for our system to actively strategize and take action against structural racism. We cannot say that we are equity champions and be afraid to have open dialogue about structural racism. In this webinar, Chancellor Oakley called for action across six key areas that will require their own work plan and all of you to help us implement and hold us accountable. Specifically, the “Call to Action” asks for our system to mobilize around:

  1. A System wide review of law enforcement officers and first responder training and curriculum. Our system trains the majority of law enforcement officers, firefighters and EMTs in California. We have an opportunity to transform our communities by leading the nation in training our law enforcement officers and first responder workforce in unconscious/implicit bias, de-escalation training with cultural sensitivity, and community-oriented/de-militarized approaches. This work must be led system wide in partnership with the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC), faculty at our colleges, Career Technical Education Deans, workforce education practitioners, local communities and key stakeholders such as the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST).
  2. Campus leaders must host open dialogue and address campus climate. The murder of George Floyd, ongoing violence projected in the news, increased unemployment, poverty and inequality impact every single community. Now more than ever, our students, faculty, staff and administrators need to feel a sense of agency and must have open and honest conversations about how we come together as an educational community to keep building inclusive and safe learning environments. Our campuses already use surveys, focus groups and town halls to address campus climate, but building community virtually requires new strategies and tools. This work must be led by our campus CEO’s/Presidents in partnership with district trustees, campus police, chief student service officers, campus student leaders and their community.
  3. Campuses must audit classroom climate and create an action plan to create inclusive classrooms and anti-racism curriculum. As campus leaders look at overall campus climate, it is equally critical that faculty leaders engage in a comprehensive review of all courses and programs, including non-credit, adult education, and workforce training programs. Campuses need to discuss how they give and receive feedback and strive to embrace the process of feedback as a productive learning tool rather than a tool wielded to impose judgment and power. Faculty and administrative leaders must work together to develop action plans that provide proactive support for faculty and staff in evaluating their classroom and learning cultures, curriculum, lesson plans and syllabi, and course evaluation protocols. Campuses also need to look comprehensively at inclusive curriculum that goes beyond a single course, such as ethnic studies, and evaluate all courses for diversity of representation and culturally-relevant content. District leaders should engage with local faculty labor leaders to review the tenure review process to ensure that the process promotes and supports cultural competency. Additionally, districts should be intentional about engaging the experiences, perspectives and voices of non-tenured and adjunct faculty in the equity work of the campus. This work must be led in partnership with campus CEO’s/Presidents, college faculty, chief instructional officers, chief student service officers, the ASCCC, the Student Senate for California Community Colleges (SSCCC) and campus student leaders.
  4. District Boards review and update your Equity plans with urgency. It is time for colleges to take out their Equity Plans and look at them with fresh eyes and answer the question of whether it is designed for compliance or for outcomes. College leaders, both administrative and academic, must have candid conversations about the limitations and barriers to pushing their equity plans and agenda further, and where there are opportunities and support to accelerate the work. Colleges will need to pull together a cross-campus team, including research, human resources, technology, faculty, support services, classified staff and others to focus on naming the barriers, identifying solutions, and then rallying the full campus to engage in meeting the needs. Equity plans must take into consideration the non-credit and adult education students, who consist of close to a million students in our system, and make up some of the most vulnerable and socially disadvantaged groups. We have all seen campuses do what was previously considered impossible as they responded to COVID-19; it is time to channel that same can-do attitude and community resolve towards addressing equity and structural racism. This work must be led system wide in partnership with district trustees, CEO’s/Presidents and all campus leaders at all levels.
  5. Shorten the time frame for the full implementation of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Integration Plan. In 2018, the Board of Governors of California’s Community Colleges (Board) mandated that our system create a plan to address diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in our workforce and learning environments. This work culminated in a unanimous vote September 2019 where the Board adopted a new system wide statement for DEI that impacts the mission of our system, the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) reports submitted by our districts and funding allocations for EEO funds. In addition to a new statement, the Board approved the DEI Integration Plan with a call to fully implement 68 recommendations over the next five years. Our system cannot afford to wait 5 years. The Chancellor calls for the Chancellor’s Office DEI Implementation Workgroup, the statewide representatives in the Consultation Council and campus leaders to mobilize to implement all tier 1 recommendations in the next 6 to 12 months and to act with urgency to implement tier 2 recommendations.
  6. Join and engage in the Vision Resource Center “Community Colleges for Change.” As an educational community, we all need to continue to invest time to learn. The Chancellor’s Office has created a virtual community in the Vision Resource Center where content, dialogue and modules will be uploaded. Visit visionresourcecenter.cccco.edu. After logging in, under the “Connect” menu, visit “All Communities” and look for “Community Colleges for Change”. Select the community and then click “Join Community” to access the content. This site is open to our entire system.

This call to action does not end here. Our work has just begun. Similar to the Guided Pathways work you have been engaged in, it will take all of us to host honest conversations, call out structural barriers, present solutions and continually measure our progress to hold ourselves accountable for making progress. We invite you to continue to learn with us. Several of you have already emailed us to get access to the webinar recording and resources mentioned by several of the “Call to Action” webinar speakers. Below is a list of those materials.

June 3, 2020 “Call to Action” Webinar recording: https://cccconfer.zoom.us/rec/share/ovNrIr_iyGVJbdLAykXQdaUgOq7seaa8gy Mc-6VeyBz9P_Ku-NHJIQb3iV8uZ3Xt?startTime=1591200002000

Diversity Equity and Inclusion Legislative Report and Integration Plan: https://www.cccco.edu/-/media/CCCCO­Website/Reports/CCCCO_DEI_Report.pdf?la=en&hash=69E11E4DAB1DEBA318 1E053BEE89E7BC3A709BEE

Webinar series by A2MEND. Join this Saturday June 6th at 11 a.m. https://twitter.com/A2MEND2006/status/1268630853002747904

Panelist recommended articles and books: The Racist Roots of American Policing: From Slave Patrols to Traffic Stops


“When Police Brutality Has You Questioning Humanity and Social Media is Enough”

How to Raise a Black Son in America

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice

The Conversation We Must Have with Our White Children

White Fragility: Why it’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin J. DiAngelo

On behalf of our 2.1 million students and the 131 employees in the Chancellor’s Office, we thank you for joining us to learn, listen and act. Together we are a stronger, more courageous, and creative community.

In solidarity,

Eloy Ortiz Oakley, Chancellor

Marty Alvarado, Executive Vice Chancellor of Educational Services and Support

Paul Feist, Vice Chancellor of Communications and Marketing

Barney Gomez, Vice Chancellor of Digital Innovation and Infrastructure

Dr. John Hetts, Visiting Executive of Research and Data

Marc LeForestier, General Counsel

Dr. Daisy Gonzales, Deputy Chancellor

Dr. Aisha Lowe, Vice Chancellor of Educational Services and Support

Kelley Maddox, Vice Chancellor of Internal Operations

Lizette Navarette, Vice Chancellor of College Finance and Facilities Planning

David O’Brien, Vice Chancellor of Governmental Relations

Sheneui Weber, Vice Chancellor of Workforce and Economic Development

June 3, 2020

Dear Members of the Caldwell University Community,

It is with a heavy heart that I write to you today. In the course of the past few painful days and months, we have witnessed the horrific and senseless killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, and countless other people of color who died because of what they look like. It is a tragic reality that the sin of racism, which began over 400 years ago in the United States, remains with us today and is an insidious systemic reality in our society.

Racism is a social evil and conflicts with our university's Catholic Dominican values. As the U.S. Catholic Bishops expressed in a statement issued on May 29, 2020: “People of good conscience must never turn a blind eye when citizens are being deprived of their human dignity and even their lives. Indifference is not an option.” We painfully witnessed the indefensible death of George Floyd at the hands of an officer who swore to protect the public’s safety. We cannot in good conscience remain indifferent to the abuses that people of color endure regularly in our country.

We acknowledge the cumulative pain and trauma that these experiences bring, especially to those members of our community who time and again disproportionately bear the weight of racism. We are united in our fundamental belief that all people possess dignity and deserve respect, and we will not remain silent when any member of our family is harmed.

Together, we will draw strength to face these larger societal challenges, informed by our Catholic and Dominican mission and identity and our value of inclusiveness. We regret that the pandemic does not allow us to gather in person as a community to connect, support, pray and educate each other. However, Caldwell University stands with and offers condolences to the Taylor, Arbery, and Floyd families and the individuals and communities impacted by their deaths.

As a Caldwell family, we embrace the core value of ‘community’; I encourage you to reach out in support of our students, colleagues and neighbors of color who are, without a doubt, feeling the weight of these tragedies. Please let them know they are not alone. Please do not be silent, but speak up for what is right.

For students who may find themselves struggling over these tragedies, please know that Caldwell University's Counseling Services is available to you. You can email a counselor at [email protected] for free and confidential assistance. Tele-counseling services are available.

Similarly, staff and faculty can receive counseling by contacting Caldwell University's EAP, Aetna Resources for Living; information can be found on the Benefits section of the Human Resources website page.

Let us stand together as a community to repudiate the racism that ravages the dignity of human life. Let us live out the core values of Caldwell University.


Nancy Blattner, Ph.D., OPA


Dear Alumnx and Families,

We are sharing the following message, which was sent today to students, faculty, and staff from President Ravi Rajan.

Dear CalArtians,

We’ve begun the fall semester with the U.S. society facing a historic inflection point. In this moment, just before an important election, so much is coming to the fore, including this society’s longstanding problem of implicit cultural bias based upon race and gender.

As President, I implore each of us to ask two questions: How will we confront the structural, systemic, and societal bias threaded through our communities, and how will we honor our commitment to eradicate it?

At CalArts we haven’t yet fully lived up to our aspirational values of access, equity and inclusion. These values present for us, as for society, eternal goals -- things for which we have to continually strive. Moving forward we must do this work with intent, strength and conviction -- because we know that for many artists from underrepresented and minority backgrounds, joining the CalArts community remains opaque, or out of reach.

To be fair, inclusion, diversity, equity, and access work has been part of the CalArts community for many years. Individual Schools and programs have had various initiatives over many years. The Institute hired its first Campus Diversity Officer in 2009. Together as an Institute, in the past three years we’ve conducted the first Campus-wide Climate Survey; aligned support for the Black Arts Collective and other student identity groups with ongoing institute diversity work; conducted a Gender Pronoun Initiative; created direct access to the diversity officer with a private email account at [email protected]; supported the entire student body’s participation in national and local justice movements (ex. Black Lives Matter protests and voter registration); and hosted listening sessions [virtual] for students from underrepresented, underserved, and minoritized populations.

But as an Institute, we need to do more. We will do more. We will strive to include and create more access in ways that increases both representational and experiential diversity at CalArts, and thus in the world’s art-making communities.

Launching ‘IDEA’

This year I’m announcing a major initiative to help jump start our pursuit of inclusion, diversity, equity, and access: an IDEA Cooperative led by the Office of the President. This vital effort will begin in the fall semester, and continue on after, working to bring together and expand the things we have been doing, while fostering additional new initiatives.

Crucially, the structure of this collaborative is geared so that we can work together -- to allow us to better identify, foster, and spotlight the steps we must take to keep building an inclusive, anti-racist community, together. Our undertaking must make these conversations and measures more transparent, a criticism we have heard from students and alum. It should ultimately facilitate more access to sustainable financial support for IDEA work through grants, philanthropy, and open budgeting via the Institute’s established processes.

It is my understanding that some inclusivity efforts in the past were not Institute-wide and may not have had broad leadership support. Thus, the IDEA Cooperative begins with the full support of the Institute’s entire leadership -- the CalArts Trustees have authorized up to $300,000 to be used from the Crisis Mitigation Reserve for the cooperative’s initial start-up costs, and will look for a clear delineation of the ongoing financial commitment for this work in any future annual budget proposed to them.

To ensure ongoing sustainability, the Institute must first perform a rigorous self-evaluation to identify any practices, structures, or individual behaviors that enable racism, sexism, or cultural, civil or social inequity. This first comprehensive “IDEA Assessment” will commence and complete this academic year, paving the way for an action plan to be formed that works to root out these practices, a set of actions to be followed by subsequent assessments so we can gauge our progress.

The action plan that results from this first IDEA Assessment must include some things we already know and have heard from the community. Importantly, it should lay-out the development and oversight of a specific process to address issues of discrimination under Title VI of the federal Civil Rights Act. The quality and quantity of these issues of discrimination in the past few years compel us to do so. Likewise, the plan must continue to support our earnest efforts to build relationships with communities where we have had no, or only limited, ties, including underrepresented racial and ethnic groups.

This year’s IDEA Initiatives

At this time of extraordinary financial pressure, this budgetary direction by the Trustees is no small commitment. As we put these resources in motion, Dr. Eva Graham, Title VI & Diversity Officer, will begin to use the title of Director of IDEA Programs. This year, our IDEA work will include the following key initiatives:

  • IDEA Assessment of CalArts: This evaluation, led by Dr. Benjamin D. Reese Jr., will identify seen and unseen structures, systems, practices, and traditions of bias, racism, and inequity within our community. It will include how we assess and advance our curriculum and pedagogy, the nomenclature we use, and our systems of governance and organization - including all Institute policies and practices. It will make note of cultural racism in the artistic practices represented and taught at CalArts, and the way we structure that work. Dr. Reese is one of the foremost experts in institutional issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and racist structures and cultures in higher education. For 23 years he was the leader of diversity for Duke University. He has over 50 years’ experience in the fields of implicit bias, systemic and structural racism, and diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy, and has worked with over 50 colleges and universities in North America, most recently for Yale University and the University of Wisconsin System, to conduct broad assessments of their DEI work.

  • Leadership and Trustee Training: Dr. Reese will also work with CalArts leadership and Trustees to ensure they understand diversity, equity, inclusion, bias, and structural racism, and their responsibilies as leaders to dismantle any and all white supremacist structures that may exist here.

  • Title VI Discrimination Complaint Process: Dr. Reese also will assess our current processes and recommend a more transparent, central system to resolve discrimination complaints related to Title VI issues of race, color, or national origin.

  • Ongoing Faculty and Staff Training: Starting this year, a systematic training approach will center on unconscious and implicit bias; structural racism; and inclusion, diversity, equity, and access. Dr. Bryant Marks and Dr. Tricia Rose will help us with this training, with Dr. Marks to conduct educational and training sessions on implicit bias directly with students and employees. He is a former senior advisor to the White House under President Barack Obama and founder of the National Training Institute on Race and Equity. Dr. Marks also will partner with Provost Tracie Costantino, faculty, and staff to create media that engage with understanding implicit bias – similar in nature to projects with the U.N.’s HeForShe initiative and the World Resources Institute.

    Dr. Rose will work on implicit bias and racist structures with faculty, create a repository of resources, and help us foment shifts in hiring practices that promote meaningful representation and cultural change. She is Chancellor’s Professor of Africana Studies and Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, both at Brown University.

  • A Strengthened Focus on Indigenous Communities: In the spring we will seek to retain an expert who has experience in academia, is from an Indigenous heritage, and has experience directly working on programming and relationship building with Native nations. This person will embolden our work with and for Native American Indian communities and artists; help introduce new expertise in Indigenous studies; strengthen relationships with native communities; and build financial support to help Indigenous artists become a more active, present part of CalArts. This emphasis will include expanded educational opportunities for Native American students and their communities.

  • Future Arts Leader Development: Through a partnership with the Posse Foundation and its founder, MacArthur Fellow Deborah Bial, we’ll seek to create the nation’s first Arts Posse. This leadership program for undergraduates will prepare a representationally diverse set of leaders and decision-makers in the arts sector, and support this CalArts Posse through significant financial aid and leadership programming for their entire undergraduate experience that follows the Posse model. Thanks to a grant made possible by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Posse board Chair Brad Singer, we will begin work this year toward being able to recruit the first Arts Posse for fall 2022.

Ensuring Accountability and Commitment

Ensuring we’re accountable to ourselves through this work will be critical. To that end, we’ll create an IDEA Task Force that I will assemble and that includes both internal stakeholders from our faculty, staff, students, and trustees, and external ones with expertise at the intersection of race and other critical issues for our community, such as immigration, or indigenous studies. This task force, previously announced this summer, will meet quarterly on an ongoing basis to review the IDEA work of the Institute that took place in the previous quarter, and ensure that the Institute is making progress towards better living our values. The Task Force will do this through frank recommendations that will be published publicly to all. Transparency and accountability are paramount in this work.

Inclusion and social justice aren’t just goals – they’re our identity as CalArtians. We must strive to do as much as we can to live up to the reimagined mission, values, and strategic framework we adopted in March. Being accountable to our core principles won’t always be comfortable, but we must recognize our mistakes when we make them and explore ugly truths -- past, present, and future -- if we hope to move forward. We must be able to show progress in this both representationally and culturally.

Ultimately, we seek to become a global model for inclusive artistic development, artistic study, and anti-racist cultural production. Through our work, we have the potential to raise unheard voices, broaden dialogue, introduce revelatory narratives, and do no less than transform society. Together, we can stand to intensify CalArts’ outsized impact on art-making all over the world.

I believe that, in this moment, history calls us to this urgently, as does our collective conscience. It’s my honor and privilege to undertake this essential work together with each of you. Expect updates and opportunities for participation in the days to come.

With gratitude,


Ravi Rajan

A Message from President Soraya M. Coley

May 30, 2020

Dear Cal Poly Pomona Community:

The murder of George Floyd and the senseless brutality of this tragedy has again laid bare the deep racism that persists in our country.

Like many of you, my sadness and outrage are fueled by an accumulation of grief. I grieve for George Floyd – for Breonna Taylor – for Ahmaud Arbery – and for all those victims we have come to know in recent years, as well as those whose names we have forgotten or never knew. Racism continues to be the defining wound deep within our society. Make no mistake, all of the individuals named above would be alive today, except that they were African American.

We cannot simply pause from our regular lives and daily routines to reflect on the lives lost, as we so commonly do when there has been a national tragedy. To be sure, in these fraught times there is much that occupies our minds – and it can be convenient to conclude that such killings are “awful” or “shameful” or to feel sympathy for families and loved ones affected – and then to resume our daily lives. But that is not sufficient!

For many, these deaths are profoundly personal, acutely evoking painful memories of our own lived experiences and the emotions that are associated with them. We reflect on these life-ending events, faced with the harsh reality that it could have easily been us or those we love.

The words of Martin Luther King Jr., written from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963, continue to have tremendous resonance for the work before us: “We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.”

As an institution committed to educational opportunity for all, diversity and inclusion, and global and social responsibility, I take great pride in the knowledge that Cal Poly Pomona refuses to be a community of “good people” who exhibit “appalling silence.” Indeed, we defy the silence with our literal voices as well as the figurative voices sounded by our teaching and learning and by our unapologetic assertion of our CPP values. Our students, our faculty, our staff, and our communities expect that our values — our regard for humanity and each other — will consistently be reflected in our work, our teaching, and our engagement with one another.

We must continue to demonstrate, uphold and advance these values — now, more than ever — as the character of our country and our collective care for each other are being challenged. This is a time to reflect honestly on the history of our country and those pivotal moments when words, actions, and deeds have aligned to truly deliver on the promise of equal and fair treatment – of respect and dignity for all.

I ask you to join me in recommitting to the values we hold most dear and to carrying out the deeds that make those values a reality for ourselves, our communities, and our nation.

Soraya M. Coley, Ph.D.

Confronting Racism in Our Society

A statement in response to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery

Dear Members of the CMU Community,

Even as our nation struggles to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to bear witness to the reality that systemic racism and injustice pervades our society. The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery are but the latest examples of violent and dehumanizing acts of racism across the country. I am heartbroken and outraged by these tragedies, and I know that the CMU community around the world shares my concern for the victims’ families, and for those in our community who are most impacted by these hateful acts. Please know that we see you, we care about you and we are here for you. While I recognize I cannot fully understand the pain, anxiety and fear these events inflict on Black and African Americans, including many in our own community, I know that it is up to each one of us – no matter our background – to confront and dismantle racism and injustice wherever they exist.

At times like this we must reflect on what we can do to make society, including our own community, more just. It would be inadequate to restate our commitment to respect, value, and foster diversity, equity and inclusion across our community. We know we have much work to do to live out these values at Carnegie Mellon. Learning about each other’s lived experiences; engaging with and supporting colleagues; challenging injustice when we witness it; and, especially, actively listening to each other will truly help us build the campus climate we seek.

Uniting in the face of challenging times is the Carnegie Mellon way. Acts of solidarity at The Fence, community discussions and listening sessions have helped us all grieve and heal together. Although we cannot gather in traditional ways, we will be working in the days and weeks ahead to curate virtual opportunities to consider actions we as a community can take to be the change we wish to see in the world. In the meantime, we ask our entire community to come together, with humility, compassion and empathy, to support one another, including those who are feeling especially vulnerable now.

With great respect for you and every member of our community,

Farnam Jahanian
Henry L. Hillman Chair

June 8, 2020

Dear Members of the CMU Community:

Last week, President Farnam Jahanian reached out to reaffirm Carnegie Mellon’s solidarity with our Black and African-American community in the wake of the tragic killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. We share his outrage, and commit ourselves to working to dismantle the systemic racism that still pervades society more than 60 years after the Civil Rights Movement started.

We write today to provide details on how CMU is moving forward. Following the announcement of the findings of the Campus Climate Task Force this past fall, we articulated a set of goals, one of which was the establishment of a university-wide office dedicated to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Beginning in January, we hosted forums and discussions to hear from students, faculty, staff and alumni to gather our collective aspirations for this office, which will report directly to the provost. Today, we officially announce the launch of a global search for the inaugural Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to lead this office and catalyze its important mission. The pandemic caused us to suspend the start of the search process, but recent events have caused us to realize there is no more time to delay. We look forward to updating the community later this month with details about the search, including the membership of the search committee.

Additionally, all academic and administrative units have pursued the development of DEI plans that, in spite of the pandemic, are entering their implementation phases, ensuring that our efforts are accelerating institution-wide. The new vice provost will assist the units in the continual evaluation and improvement of their plans. These units will be held accountable by the president and provost to confirm that progress is achieved over the ensuing years.

Our primary focus over the last week has been to continue to provide support and care to the students who have been impacted by racism, inequality, inequity, injustice and discrimination. Our health and counseling teams have shared resources on activism, exhaustion, and self-care on their websites along with statements of continued support for our Black community and are working directly with impacted students. Our Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion staff have been working around the clock to further support our students and student organization leaders.

We recognize that this is a time when we need to listen, learn, and act with purpose. Beginning last week, and on an ongoing basis, leaders from the colleges are partnering with experts to curate conversations with members of their communities. This fall we will establish a university-wide forum to address the issues we must face to confront racism and create a more just society. In these forums, we will invite all voices who wish to participate, and ensure that they are supported and able to be heard. Beyond our campus, we will pursue opportunities to engage our neighboring communities in a dialogue about how CMU can partner with city leaders to build a more just and equitable Pittsburgh.

Both of us appreciate the honest and difficult conversations we have had with student leaders over the last week. We have been humbled and impressed by the leadership and advocacy of CMU’s student government and student organizations, and with their engagement of graduate and undergraduate student communities to advocate for the Black student experience on campus. We continue to learn from them and value the continued dialogue on how to do better.

Unfiltered discussion leads to stronger bonds and greater understanding, and we are grateful to have heard from so many of you in response to last weekend’s message. We agree with your frustration that our words must be met with action. You asked pointed questions about how CMU will fulfill its promise to do better. Several of you offered suggestions about tactical solutions to racism across our global campus community, and over the weekend we received petitions with additional proposals for concrete actions. Thank you for being bold and leaning in to tell us what you need from us, for speaking the truth about your experiences, and for giving us feedback on where we have fallen short. In our process of self-reflection, we commit to give all the comments and suggestions we received their due consideration, and to report back to the community on how we will act upon them.

We recognize that real sustainable change comes not through words or one-off solutions but through deep introspection, intentional planning, transparency, genuine engagement with our community members and accountability. We will expand our commitment to combatting the systemic injustice of racism not just in moments of national attention, but also in the quieter times of perceived normalcy that exist between the headlines and protests. University leadership will use our influence and educational insight to combat systemic racism both on and off campus. We aim for Carnegie Mellon to be a model for others as we lead the charge forward, and we know that while we have made some progress, we still have work to do to achieve our shared vision.


Jim Garrett, Provost
Gina Casalegno, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

July 2, 2020

Dear Members of the CMU Community:

I write to you today with a critically important communication on behalf of the leadership of Carnegie Mellon University. In the weeks since the tragic killing of George Floyd in police custody, hundreds of thousands of people have stood up in protest against the racism and systemic injustices against Black Americans that plague our society. The voices raised represent a broad cross-section of our society and they are echoing around the globe. As we witness our nation confronting the legacy of racial injustice, we are committed to ensuring that Carnegie Mellon stands on the right side of history through bold and concrete actions moving forward.

The Carnegie Mellon University community stands unequivocally against racism and the systems that have perpetuated racial injustice. We support those exercising their rights to protest for the protection of the historically marginalized and to speak out against senseless brutality at the hands of police. We join them in proclaiming that Black Lives Matter.

The past several weeks, we have heard from faculty, students, staff and alumni through emails, petitions and conversations. We are grateful for all of your suggestions and have given each one thorough consideration. In particular, I want to acknowledge and thank our Black community members for engaging in an open and constructive dialogue with me, Provost Garrett and other CMU leaders through countless Zoom calls over the past three weeks. I am humbled by the insights gained from listening to these candid and courageous reflections. Too many stories highlighted that the pain associated with systemic racism and structural barriers to access and opportunity in our society has only been heightened by times when CMU has not served its community better, and for that, I am truly sorry. I acknowledge we need to do more and, like so many of you, we seek to respond and hold ourselves accountable to this individual and collective call to action.

During this profound moment of reckoning for our nation and for institutions across our society, we must start by acknowledging that Carnegie Mellon exists within the very system that has failed Black Americans. This is an uncomfortable reality, but if we do not confront it, we will not create true cultural change for CMU or for the communities we serve. It is our responsibility to work together – intentionally and with clarity of purpose – to assure that racism and injustice are not tolerated on our campus and to leverage our position of power and influence in advancing true progress in our society. This is neither a side project nor a temporary distraction. This work is critical to the future of Carnegie Mellon and it demands the sustained commitment of faculty, students and staff across the university. Anything less will simply not be enough.

Commitments and Actions

To make our commitment actionable and accountable, we are putting forth a set of commitments and new initiatives today, which are outlined in more detail in this PDF document and on the CMU website. I encourage you to read carefully through this material, which also seeks to answer many of the questions we have received from our community in recent weeks. All of these actions are drawn from the input of faculty, students, staff, alumni and partners and have been endorsed by CMU’s leadership team, with the support of our Board of Trustees. These efforts also build on the foundation developed through the CMU Experience and Campus Climate initiatives over the past several years, which have focused on promoting a more enriching, inclusive and equitable community for all Tartans.

We undertake this important work bearing in mind that we are an academic community with the ability to create meaningful forums within which constructive dialogue can and should flourish. We also have the power to apply our research and creativity towards creating actionable solutions to society’s most challenging issues. We further recognize that it is our obligation to use our privilege, our influence and our resources to extend the fight for racial equity and justice beyond our campus.

Our commitments span three broad areas of impact: (1) Commitments to the CMU Community; (2) Commitments to the Expansion of Knowledge and Expertise at CMU; and (3) Commitments to Engagement and Economic Empowerment for the Broader Community.

  • We commit to engage every member of the CMU community in working together to build and sustain an inclusive culture that promotes equity for all and is intolerant of racism, discrimination and bias.
  • We commit to recruit and develop a student body that truly represents the vibrant diversity of our nation and the world, where all Black and marginalized students feel supported throughout their education and experience.
  • We commit to recruit, retain and develop Black and underrepresented faculty and staff and to provide all of our employees with an environment that fosters their collective success.
  • We commit to build greater trust, understanding and transparency between the CMU community and the CMU Police.
  • We commit to grow our leadership in the study of racism and systemic injustice for the purpose of influencing public policy and developing meaningful interventions.
  • We commit to partnering with our community to develop positive social innovations that expand access, opportunity and economic empowerment in the Pittsburgh region and reverse the trends of racial injustice and inequality.

In pursuit of these commitments, we have developed 34 concrete actions, with short-, medium- and long-term horizons. Again, these actions are outlined in more detail online and will soon be incorporated into a new, expanded webpage with detailed tracking measures. These steps will also require changes to policies and structures at CMU and we are committed to making this progress.

All of these commitments and related actions will require accountability, leadership and dedicated resources. As announced previously, as a result of the Campus Climate Initiative, we are launching a search for the new position of Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to lead a new university-wide office dedicated to DEI. I am pleased to share that this search will be co-chaired by professors Eric Anderson from the College of Fine Arts and Linda Babcock from the Dietrich College. This vice provost will partner with Provost Garrett and me to hold ourselves and the community accountable for the commitments we are outlining today, and any future actions.

We are at a profound inflection point – for our community, for Pittsburgh and for our global society. I am grateful for the thoughtful input from faculty, students, staff, alumni, trustees and other partners in formulating this road map, which amounts to the boldest and most sweeping plan in our university’s history to promote a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable CMU. I am especially grateful to the leaders of our Black student organizations, as well as the leaders of CMU’s undergraduate and graduate student governments, whose engagement helped shape many of the ideas, and whose partnership we appreciate as we move forward.

Next Steps

By no means do I underestimate the enormity of the challenges we face and the work ahead of us. Especially given the uncertainty caused by the pandemic and the related financial challenges, we will need to engage creatively and collectively on next steps. In the coming weeks, the leadership team will continue to hold conversations with key stakeholder groups, such as Faculty Senate, Staff Council, Student Government, leaders of academic and administrative units, alumni, local partners, and the CMU community members with whom we have been engaging throughout our planning. These conversations will help us fine-tune our strategies and develop the appropriate implementation and assessment plans, with a focus on sharing transparent, measurable progress. We also invite members of our community to send feedback and reflections regarding this work and the university’s commitments.

Inevitably there will be those who think these actions do not go far enough and those who believe they go too far. The truth is: these are deeply complex issues and we do not have all of the answers today. But we know that the only way to find meaningful solutions is to dig into this work together and in a manner that is authentic to CMU.

I want to assure you that these will not be the last actions we announce, and that this is the start of a larger, ongoing effort that must involve every single person in this community. The scourge of racism will only be cured when we all step up to do the right thing and hold ourselves and each other accountable to make meaningful progress.

At CMU, we have always approached major societal challenges with a trademark fearlessness and commitment to impact, and I believe we are equipped with the power to forge a new future. Together, let us embrace this historic opportunity to reshape the arc of justice with passion, conviction, and action.


Farnam Jahanian
Henry L. Hillman President’s Chair

November 2, 2020

Dear Members of the CMU Community,

I am so pleased to share a sample of the work being done across our academic units to build a more diverse, inclusive and equitable community at Carnegie Mellon University.

First, the search for an inaugural Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) is making good progress. We received an impressive group of candidates, which the committee is presently evaluating. We will provide a more detailed update to the university community before Winter Break.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, all of the academic units have launched their 5-Year Strategic Plans for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), and are now in the final approval and early implementation phases this semester, on schedule. These plans embody the commitment, diligence and creativity of the deans, the college plan leads, their committees and collectives, as well as the many faculty, students and staff who have participated throughout the design process. Some examples of projects undertaken under these plans include:

·The Heinz College appointed a Social Justice Committee comprised of students, faculty and staff representatives to envision and design programs, utilizing the college’s relevant scholarship to shape national discourse and policy action. The first program, Reimagining Public Safety, launched on October 30 with a panel sharing diverse points of view on police reform and is open to the entire community.

·The University Libraries debuted their What We Don’t Have exhibit this fall which shows gaps in the archival collections that fail to reflect the diversity of the CMU community and the experiences of faculty, staff and students.

·Dietrich College continues to develop community engagement programs like Arts Greenhouse, an arts and humanities education initiative supported by the College of Fine Arts and in partnership with Pittsburgh Public Schools, Homewood Children’s Village and the Center That CARES. The program fosters the expressive and intellectual development of Pittsburgh’s youth.

·The development of a new general studies course in the School of Drama focused on the core competence of identifying, confronting and overcoming racism in the collaborative theater profession.

·The Mellon College of Science (MCS) has been holding a series ofdialogues for the MCS community in order to empower their faculty, staff and students to identify and work to address racial inequalities in their personal, professional and educational spheres.

·The College of Engineering, in cooperation with the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, hosted the Forum on Inclusive Excellence as part of Homecoming this fall. This forum equipped students, staff, faculty and alumni with resources and tools to help continue advancing DEI efforts at CMU and beyond.

· In addition, the College of Engineering, College of Fine Arts, Mellon College of Science, and the School of Computer Science are conducting searches to recruit associate deans who will lead their efforts on diversity, equity and inclusion. These new leaders will join incumbents in Dietrich and Heinz Colleges, the Tepper School and CMU-Q.

Please get involved in your department, school, college, campus and with the University Libraries. As we move forward, we will continue to identify areas for coordination and collaboration with the new Vice Provost for DEI playing a critical role in supporting these efforts.

In the meantime, Dr. Shawn Blanton, our Interim Vice Provost for DEI, is working to advance institutional DEI goals during the current academic year. This includes helping to expand CMU’s partnership with The National GEM Consortium(GEM) to improve recruitment of underrepresented graduate students. As a result of the GEM program, racially underrepresented students enrolled in our engineering graduate programs more than doubled between 2017 and 2020 and racially underrepresented students now represent more than 20 percent of our domestic graduate students in engineering. In addition, he is partnering with the Office of Admissions to engage historically underrepresented prospective students from the Pittsburgh Public Schools and is conducting an inventory of current DEI activities and programs at CMU.

Dr. Blanton will also administer the new Strategic Faculty Opportunity Fundthat was announced as part of our Confronting Racism action plan and recently made available to the academic deans and department heads. This fund is designed to support the recruitment, retention and development of outstanding scholars in all fields who will contribute to diversity and equity. We are finalizing the process for awarding these funds and look forward to sharing more details about the first round of support being provided in the near future.

The Campus Climate Implementation Steering Committee also continues to meet and act on several university commitments made last fall. The steering committee is planning a climate survey for faculty and staff, which is scheduled to launch in the spring semester. In addition to the committee’s progress on other commitments noted above, a number of new training and awareness programs regarding civility, diversity and inclusion are available to the CMU community. Please look for future updates from human resources and the vice provost for faculty on additional training and programs as they become available.

We continue to be heartened by the efforts of colleagues across the university to create a true sense of belonging for Carnegie Mellon students. Last year we launched the Tartan Scholars program, with a mission to support students who are academically high-achieving but may have experienced opportunity gaps. We have doubled the size of this program, and now 100 first-year students are participating, in addition to the inaugural scholars now in their second year at CMU.

We are also proud to announce the inaugural cohort of Provost’s Inclusive Teaching Fellows are enhancing inclusion and equity in CMU’s learning environment. This year’s projects explore approaches to inclusive excellence regarding course materials and curricula, student projects and assignments, and learning experiences across a variety of CMU disciplines. As part of our recent commitment to confront racism and promote equity and inclusion, future cohorts will expand to twenty fellows, starting next year. The call for applications will be announced early in the spring semester.

There is so much more happening across campus. And yet there is so much more to accomplish, and we are committed to sustaining CMU’s momentum. In the coming weeks, you can expect another update from President Jahanian with additional details about our broader DEI activities, including ways to track the progress of our Confronting Racism and Promoting Equity and Inclusion action plan. Thank you to all of you for ensuring that diversity, equity and inclusion play a central role in our academic mission through your own commitment and effort.


Jim Garrett

Statement on the George Floyd Incident

29 May 2020

By President Steven Poskanzer, St. Olaf President David Anderson

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

As neighbors and as a community, we come together with a united message about the terrible and heartbreaking events that are traumatizing our state. Like many of you, we too are experiencing pain and anger, and together express our hope that we can stand together in our shared grief, anguish, and frustration.

This week, we witnessed another atrocious act of violence against a person of color in the police officer-involved killing of George Floyd. Our hearts go out to Mr. Floyd’s family and to the many others whose lives he touched. This incident in Minneapolis raises profound and troubling questions about police brutality, violence in our society, and institutionalized racism — issues that are critical for us to explore, teach about, research, study, discuss as a community, and address in our individual lives.

We are always working to improve equity and inclusion on our two campuses and throughout our shared community, but this moment once again makes it clear that there is still so much more work to do.

Our strength is defined by how we treat and nurture each other. We are committed to making our community one that supports healing, advocates for meaningful action, and moves forward for a better future together.

Steven G. Poskanzer
President, Carleton College

David R. Anderson
President, St. Olaf College

A statement to the Carleton community

2 June 2020

By President Steve Poskanzer

I reach out to the Carleton community in a time of torment.

Last week’s police brutality that murdered a Black man, George Floyd, is outrageous and terrifying. It has added another layer of fear, pain, and outrage to our senses, which are already battered by a global pandemic whose impact falls disproportionately on the poor, the disadvantaged, Black and African-American communities, and other persons of color.

On Friday St. Olaf and Carleton issued a joint statement of anguish and intention to work together against racism, hatred, and ignorance in our shared community. But I understand—and have heard from so many of you—that the Carleton community itself is reeling, and that many faculty, staff, and especially students are frightened and angry, and seek to hear more from their own College and its leadership at this wrenching time. I hope to begin to address some of these needs in this letter. Today I am writing not just on behalf of Carleton but also from my own perspective, speaking more personally than I usually do. The circumstances warrant this. It might seem that the extent to which we can bear witness to each other’s suffering right now is diminished due to the distances between us, but I am seeing and hearing much distress, and I feel this sharply.

We are all horrified by George Floyd’s death and heartbroken for his family. As many commentators, protestors, and some of you have correctly pointed out, we are rooted in an unending cycle of violence directed at persons of color, especially Black men and women who already bear the legacy of centuries of enslavement and racial violence. Mr. Floyd’s tragic murder at the hands of Minneapolis Police officers has raised yet again deep and profoundly troubling questions about police brutality, violence in our society, and both personal and institutionalized racism.

Certainly these are issues that are critical for all of us at Carleton to grapple with, teach about, research, study, and discuss—and we must take action to help rectify them. Our faculty, staff, and students have much knowledge and valuable insights to bring to this dialogue and the ensuing policy debates. Knowledge gained in this way will let us deepen our understanding, be more thoughtful and engaged citizens, and help us build and maintain the kinds of local, state, national, and global communities in which all will genuinely thrive and be proud to live.

We cannot achieve this shared understanding without also addressing racism and other forms of hatred and ignorance in our individual lives. Each of us must seriously examine our own role and function in our culture at this time, including identifying the blind spots from which we suffer, the prejudices we carry, and the range of our personal responsibility. This has been a focus of my own reading and thinking and conversations in recent days, and I urge all of us—especially those of us vested with various kinds of privilege—to do the same.

And this is also a time where we need to look deeply at our own College and local community and commit ourselves to identifying and addressing the assumptions, prejudices and racism that can grow within institutions. Carleton and Northfield also have such deep-seated problems. We should particularly use this stark and disturbing time to consider and make needed improvements to our College. We must have candid, even if at times necessarily painful, conversations among students, staff, faculty, and alumni about these matters. I will be part of such discussions, and I look in particular to CEDI—Carleton’s Community Equity Diversity, and Inclusion council—to play a leadership role in these efforts, along with faculty and administrative leadership. Some initial actions we will take are to engage with the Black Student Alliance and with the faculty in the Africana Studies Program. CEDI will schedule open talking circles to take place both before and after exams.

While the academic year is drawing to a close, we cannot brush aside these issues to await the return of students and faculty in the fall—particularly when we still face uncertainty about the nature and schedule of the coming academic year. Accordingly, I ask each of you to join in the dialogue now and over the summer about how Carleton can be true to its aspirations and its best self. Just as we have been learning to do our academic work and to run much of the College remotely these last three months, some of this dialogue will need to be virtual. And some of these discussions and the resultant actions will also need to extend into the next academic year so they can draw upon the direct face-to-face exchanges that lead to the deepest understanding and longest-lasting breakthroughs.

Let us engage in this work together.

Steve Poskanzer

First Steps in Demonstrating our Support

8 June 2020

Dear Members of the Carleton Community,

Following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Carleton is establishing a $200,000 endowed scholarship in his memory that will be awarded to aspiring young Black and African-American student leaders beginning this fall. It is important that future generations of Carls remember this time in history and the horror Mr. Floyd’s death represents for all Americans, but especially for the Black and African-American communities. The George Floyd Memorial Scholarship will add to a number of existing endowed scholarships for students of color at Carleton. Funds to establish this endowed scholarship were provided by donors who made unrestricted gifts to the College through bequests in FY2020. With this action, we are affirming the challenge from the president of North Central University in Minneapolis that all colleges in the United States established their own George Floyd Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Additionally, we’ve seen communities come together to protest injustice and meet pressing needs after devastation. Many members of our Carleton community live in impacted areas, and they’ve shared with us their ideas about organizations in need of our support. On behalf of the students, faculty, and staff of Carleton, donations of $10,000 are being made both to A Mother’s Love and to the Harold Mezile North Community YMCA Youth & Teen Enrichment Center. These two organizations are working to meet the needs of residents in Minneapolis, and we are pleased to lend the College’s financial support to their efforts. Carleton is able to make these two gifts with funds from the President’s Discretionary Fund.

We furthermore encourage employees of the College to make personal contributions to organizations of their choice, as their financial circumstances allow.

Financial contributions make up just a small part of the many efforts we know the Carleton community and the College, itself, are making—and will make—in this time of change. We are inspired by the actions and generosity of our students, alumni, faculty, and staff, and we encourage all of us to consider the ways we can personally help organizations that are lending support in this difficult moment.

Additional steps will be taken in the weeks and months ahead. We look forward to the opportunity to work together as a community to advocate for and seek justice and equality.

Steve Poskanzer

Bev Nagel
Dean of the College

Fred Rogers
Vice President & Treasurer

Carolyn Livingston
Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students

Tommy Bonner
Vice President for External Relations

Art Rodriguez
Vice President and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid

George Shuffelton
Faculty President

Elise Eslinger
Vice President and Chief of Staff

June 5, 2020

Dear history students,

We know that the present always shapes our writing about the past. None of us, students and faculty alike, will ever be able to write about the past in the same way again. The horrifying murder of George Floyd has led to mass uprisings against the militarized police who have directed state-sponsored violence against Black bodies. We know that many of you have chosen to throw your energy and passion into supporting these peaceful protests. Many of you have also found other ways to demonstrate your condemnation of police brutality. As historians who study how people can make change over time, we deeply appreciate the power of protest. In this moment, we commit ourselves, alongside you, to using our positions to speak against anti-black, state-sanctioned violence.

In our minds’ eye, we can see threads of the past converge into this moment: the slave patrols that metamorphosed into police; the ways that COINTELPRO tried to undermine social movements; the rise of authoritarianism around the world; the political symbolism of churches and bibles; the development of school-to-prison pipelines and corporate prisons; the role of public health in political movements. As many have said, the system is not broken — it is doing what it was designed to do. The strategies of a settler colonial system maintained through the exploitation of Black communities are plainly visible this week.

This knowledge does not and should not reassure any of us. But for the long history of structural violence, there is an equally long history of resistance and strategy. We can also all call to mind the intrepid people who marched and wrote and worked for a better world. We are reassured to know that we can count many of you among their number.

Legal scholar Derrick A. Bell, Jr. wrote, “My challenge is now to tell the truth about racism without causing disabling despair. For some of us who bear the burdens of racial subordination, any truth — no matter how dire — is uplifting.” He argued, “Continued struggle can bring about unexpected benefits and gains that in themselves justify continued endeavor. The fight in itself has meaning and should give us hope for the future.” In our continued struggle to find and speak the truth together, we are here alongside you.

The history department has long been committed to addressing structural inequities of all kinds including race, ethnicity, gender, class, wealth, and nationality in our work and teaching. But the structural inequities laid bare by the recent pandemic and murders show us plainly that we must redouble our efforts.

As a department, we pledge to devote both funds and time to learning more about the historical injustices against Black, Indigenous, and other people of color across the world. We would like to start with a faculty-student book group on the history of racist thought in America, for which we can offer a small stipend to participants. Looking ahead to the fall, we have agreed that we will select Lefler speakers whose lectures will speak to these topics as well. Similarly, we will hold career panels to help you explore pathways from a history major to careers in racial justice. We look forward to hearing from you about other ideas that you would find helpful.

We appreciate that this is an exhausting and intense time for you in many different ways. We hope that, whether graduating senior or rising sophomore, you will stay connected with us and with each other to find support of many kinds, conversation partners, and opportunities to express, reflect, plan, and act. We are here for you now, and will be over the next weeks, months, and years. We are holding all of you in our thoughts.

Seungjoo Yoon, Department Chair
Tony Adler
Annette Igra
Adeeb Khalid
Amna Khalid
Nikki Lamberty
Austin Mason
Meredith McCoy
Victoria Morse
William North
Susannah Ottaway
David Tompkins
George Vrtis
Thabiti Willis
Serena Zabin

P.S. For an addendum to this letter by Professor Harry Williams, please click here.

See also Carleton Gould Library’s Combating Racism Guide.

From: President Barbara R. Snyder and Provost Ben Vinson III
Date: Sun, May 31, 2020 at 9:35 PM
Subject: Eric Garner, George Floyd, and Tamir Rice


To Our Faculty, Staff and Students:

Six years later, the words are the same.

I can’t breathe.

After all of the mourning and protests, the lawsuits and training, the promises made and lessons learned, nothing, it seems, has changed.

Lying on a Staten Island sidewalk in the summer of 2014, Eric Garner said “I can’t breathe” nearly a dozen times as a police officer’s arm stayed tight around his throat.

Last Monday in Minneapolis, George Floyd repeated the same phrase—in his case, with an officer’s knee pressing into his neck.

The local protests that followed have spread across the country, reaching Cleveland on Saturday. Ours opened peacefully, but devolved soon after marchers reached the Justice Center a few blocks away. Protesters pitched water bottles and spray-painted walls, officers released tear gas canisters, and before long, police cars were engulfed in flames.

Today protests continued in communities nationwide—and even extended to London and Berlin. In Cleveland, meanwhile, officials announced a noon curfew for downtown to allow time for clean-up of streets and stores.

But what about the systemic racism cited so often in recent days? How can a city, a country, “clean up” that?

We cannot—should not—ever try to wipe away the past.

We need to know it. Own it. And commit to forging a better future.

Four months after Eric Garner died in 2014, Tamir Rice was shot and killed by police while playing with a toy gun outside a Cleveland recreation center.

He was 12 years old.

The following year, the city accepted a 110-page settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice. The document required sweeping reforms to address the department’s record of excessive force and urgent need to restore community trust.

The monitoring team’s most recent report, issued in September, found excessive force incidents fell by nearly a third compared to 2017.

That team, including deputy monitor Aisha Bell Hardaway of our law school, still found shortcomings, in particular in terms of resources for training and data systems. Nevertheless, the group concluded the department had made “substantial progress.”

While the medical examiner ruled Garner’s death a homicide, the officer who choked him never faced charges. Nor did the one who killed Tamir. On Friday, Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder. He appears in court tomorrow.

Small steps, true. But in a moment of so much anger… and pain… and sorrow, they matter.

In the often-quoted words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. “…the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

As an institution of higher learning, we have a profound responsibility to the future. When it comes to this moment, how can we best begin to fulfill it?

This week, we will provide opportunities to engage, and share resources for those who would like support. Tonight, though, we want to remind you of a part of our legacy: The first Commencement address Frederick Douglass ever gave came at Western Reserve College in 1854.

“The relation subsisting between the white and black people of this country is the vital question of the age,” he told some 3,000 in attendance. “In the solution of this question, the scholars of America will have to take an important… part.”

Barbara R. Snyder

Ben Vinson III
Provost and Executive Vice President

From: President Barbara R. Snyder and Provost Ben Vinson III
Date: Fri, Jun 5, 2020 at 8:14 PM
Subject: Words, Values and Actions


To Our Faculty, Staff and Students:

Bright yellow and roughly 50 feet tall, the letters cover two city blocks just north of the White House.

Painted on 16th Street just today, they spell three words: Black Lives Matter.

Earlier this week, those same three words appeared on our Spirit Wall, stretching across its entire length in all capital letters.

In both instances, the messages are too striking to be missed. The more pressing question, though, is how long will they last?

The three words that launched a global movement first appeared on social media in July 2013, prompted by the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Seven years later, scenes from across the country this week demonstrate not only pain and desperation, but also an urgent need for national engagement around race.

Next week at Case Western Reserve, we will take our own small step toward that effort. Several offices and organizations across the campus have come together for a campus-wide Day of Dialogue, Wednesday, June 10. Because planning has just begun, specifics are few. But we wanted you to be able to mark your calendars as soon as possible.

The day will include sessions offering facilitated "safe spaces" for discussion within and among groups, Q&As with specific university offices and, we hope, conversations that ultimately yield specific ideas about ways our university can help address systemic racism. We will provide additional details as soon as they are available.

In addition to announcing the Day of Dialogue, we also want to take this opportunity to reiterate Case Western Reserve’s core value of Inclusiveness and Diversity, which includes “civility and the free exchange of ideas,” “civic and international engagement,” and “appreciation for the distinct perspectives and talents of each individual.” First articulated in the university’s 2008 strategic plan Forward Thinking—and repeated in subsequent plans—these ideas are, if anything, more imperative today.

Finally, we must pause for a moment to focus on the individuals at our university most directly and deeply affected by the death of George Floyd and all of the developments that have followed: the people of color within our community and, especially now, those who are African American. You are a part of Case Western Reserve. We support you. And you absolutely, undeniably matter.

Whatever happens to the painted letters on East 16th Street or our own Spirit Wall over time, their message will continue to hold meaning on this campus. Next week, we will come together to explore how we can more effectively answer its call.

Barbara R. Snyder

Ben Vinson
Provost and Executive Vice President

Responding to the Death of George Floyd

May 30, 2020

Office of the President

To: The Campus Community
From: Thomas F. Rosenbaum, President; David A. Tirrell, Provost
Date: May 30, 2020
Re: Responding to the Death of George Floyd

The brutal death of George Floyd in Minneapolis challenges our assumptions and our ideals. It casts into high relief tensions that are present in American society, but experienced very differently depending on your skin color. It cuts to the core of our aspirations as an academic community and reminds us of the work that we must do to attain them.

Caltech's values demand a culture of inclusion where every individual is empowered to realize their full potential. We strive for a diverse community in every sense of the word because the discourse that results when people of different perspectives engage with each other is how we reach understanding and create knowledge. That discourse requires listening to and hearing with empathy what each individual has to say, informed by their particular life experience, and being prepared to have your mind changed.

For many in the black community, Mr. Floyd's death and the events surrounding it have been felt especially acutely, in ways that most of us cannot fully understand because of the limits of our own experiences. As the Caltech community, we have to start here at home and make sure that the Institute is an inclusive environment that eschews stereotypes and recognizes every individual for their full worth. We must challenge the assumptions and practices that permit matters of personal identity to create fundamental insecurities about safety and well-being in the larger society. Called by present events, we have the opportunity to do better.

A message from the President

The senseless death of George Floyd has shown us that we have far to go before people of color can truly be treated as equals in America. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family – and the families of others who have experienced similar tragedies – but we know that those prayers are less effective if they are not accompanied by dedication to change and progress.

Cameron University is dedicated to providing educational opportunities for every one of our students, regardless of their race, color, nationality, sexual orientation, gender, faith, political beliefs, or other circumstance. There is no room for discrimination on our campus.

We stand with those working to end unjust treatment of people of color. I encourage our campus community to work for peaceful, compassionate change that will transform our society into something much better; a society that truly provides liberty and justice for all.

John M. McArthur
President of Cameron University

FROM: President Beth Paul

DATE: May 31, 2020

RE: Facing the Facts of Systemic Racism

My heart is heavy with outrage, grief, frustration, and deep sadness at the gross injustices that persist unchecked in our society. Recent incidents of racial violation that have become national news are tragic. Some have resulted in the loss of human life, and my heart breaks for family and friends who are grieving such senseless loss.

Injustices such as what we saw last week in Minneapolis are rampant. They keep on coming – day after day, year after year, decade after decade – weakening our collective humanity. Racist rhetoric and behavior have eroded safety for far too many people. And now hope is eroding, too.

All incidents of racial violence result in lasting trauma, not just for those who are directly violated, but for all who are targets of racism and white supremacy just because of skin color. They result in anguish for those of us who are not targeted but who have hearts and minds for justice and kindness and respect for all, regardless of skin color.

We see the anger. We see the hurt. And we must also listen to the cries and feel the injustice as one people.

It is our responsibility to face the facts of systemic racism. It is our responsibility to rise up to work for equality and justice for all who suffer at our individual and collective hands. It is our responsibility to condemn racism and white supremacy in all forms. It is our responsibility to recommit to eradicating divisive mindsets, rhetoric and behavior – in our college, our community, our society, and in ourselves.

Capital is a community dedicated to supporting one another in pursuit of justice. We stand together with all who are targets of racist ideologies and actions. We open our minds to see the rampant injustices near and far. We open our hearts to renounce such injustices. We extend ourselves to educate and catalyze far and wide, so that wherever we go, we are agents of human dignity and inclusion.

In the midst of being forced apart to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and the apocalyptic challenge of the pandemic, we must come together with intentional passion and purpose for connecting across difference and division, enlarging rather than diminishing our humanity.

Now more than ever, reach out to one another. Care for one another. Actively advocate for humanity for all.

TO: Campus Community

FROM: Dave Kaufman, Interim President

DATE: August 28, 2020

RE: Reflections on Continuing Systemic Racism

Once again, America is dealing with the brutal police shooting of Jacob Blake, a young Black man in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Like many of you, I initially saw the shooting on social media, at first not wanting to watch for the fear of what I would see. But I knew that I had to watch, to give witness, as best I could, to yet another tragedy, yet another attack on a Black man. What makes this even more tragic is that Mr. Blake was shot in front of his three sons while they sat in the car. I can neither comprehend the damage that this has done to these young boys nor the pain they must bear now and throughout their lives.

After the killing of George Floyd earlier this year, I thought that our country was finally ready to confront the systemic racism that counts as one of our nation’s original sins. I began to feel some hope for the future, that we could address the racial issues that separate us. But my hope was taken from me this week while watching Mr. Blake being shot at point-blank range.

At a time when silence speaks volumes, I am unwilling to be silent.

As someone who has benefitted from a life of white privilege, if I feel such loss, how much more loss must be felt by Black people and other people of color?

This white privilege was magnified even further this week in Kenosha when a young, white man killed two people and injured another, then walked right past the police and went home to sleep in his bed. The dichotomy of this treatment by police was jarring, yet I understand that this is a normal experience for Black people.

I am now finally able to process the events of this week and search for some kernel of hope that we can nurture, grow, and use to propel us to action that ensures the Capital University community is part of the effort to eradicate systemic racism.

I find that kernel of hope in you – our students, faculty, and staff. This hope comes from our commitment to equity, from our care for each other, and from our vision for creating a Capital that is a model for the rest of society in how to combat and eliminate systemic racism.

To matter, this hope must lead to true action and change.

Since initial conversations were held in early June, we have reached out to students, alumni, faculty, and staff to share open and honest dialog about their experiences with systemic racism where they live and work. And that includes their experiences – good and bad – at Capital.

As we begin the fall 2020 semester, I recommit to you my belief that Black Lives Matter.

There are several things we have committed to doing to promote a culture of racial equality, social justice, and community building within the Capital Family, including:

  • Ralph Cochran, a 2011 Capital graduate, began as director of Diversity and Inclusion in early August.
  • The President's Cabinet has been revamped and includes three people of color now, including the director of Diversity and Inclusion, the Diversity Officer (Human Resources director), and the chair of the Faculty Budget and Planning Committee. There were no people of color on the Cabinet prior.
  • The Affinity Group has been formed. They have met with me and the provost to voice concerns and to share thoughts around diversity and inclusion efforts.
  • We are moving into the implementation phase of the Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan that has been developed over the last several years.
  • The University will be revamping its hiring process to require that there be qualified persons of color as a part of the final pool of candidates for open positions.
  • We will implement mandatory implicit bias/diversity and inclusion training for all employees in the next couple of months.

As you can see, Capital University is committed to moving forward in a culture of racial equality, and we will continue with initiatives and actions that support our commitment.

I promise that we will lead with diversity and inclusion as part of the underpinning of the Lutheran values that guide the decisions we make and the goals we set. Our leadership team will ensure that this happens, and we will be engaging a broad representation of the campus community to determine how best to effect the changes that must be made.

I ask you to be a part of this necessary change. I encourage your feedback and your commitment to social justice on the Capital University campus. Feel free to share your thoughts with me at [email protected].

Also, if you have been strongly impacted by the Jacob Blake tragedy or other incidents of systemic racism and need mental health services, there are several places where you can get help, including:

Together, we will be leaders in the fight for human dignity and racial equality, and we will make change that matters. Together, we will succeed.

Chapman Outlines Plans to Enhance Diversity and Move University Forward"It's time for action and results," says President Daniele C. Struppa.

June 8, 2020

Editor’s Note: President Daniele Struppa shared the following announcement with the campus community on Monday, June 8.

We are living through an historic time. A time where hundreds of thousands of people are taking to the streets every day in protest of the social injustice that has taken countless lives of black Americans. The murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor have put more faces to the senseless and horrific acts of violence that plague this country.

Last week, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Jerry Price and I met with the Chapman Black Student Union. Through this very productive conversation, we listened and heard about the areas where our students feel Chapman can do better. Through that dialogue and the students’ subsequent statement, we have found clear actions we believe can impact real change.

One request from our students is that we aggressively recruit black faculty and staff.

I acknowledge our efforts in this area have not been effective and know we need to do better. I reflected on how to address this critical need and have moved forward with actions I believe will yield rapid and measurable results.

  • I have asked Vice Provost Lawrence Brown (LB)—a respected Chapman thought leader on the African-American experience—to join me in this challenge by also serving as the Presidential Advisor on Faculty Diversification. In this role he and I will work together, at the highest level, and with sufficient support and budget, to hire distinguished faculty of color. I will put my personal energy and reputation on this effort. I will be held accountable if we fail to measurably move the needle in this direction, and I know that LB is the right person to help me and support me in this effort. LB and I will work directly with our deans and our provost to make sure our efforts are in sync with their academic direction. The deans, in partnership with their respective faculty in each school and college, are committed to recruiting diverse faculty and I’m confident this will further support their effort.
  • I have also asked Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Brian Powell to serve as the Presidential Advisor on Staff Diversification. Brian is a respected voice for LGBTQ and diversity advocacy. This past year, he implemented our first-ever Affirmative Action Plan that he is now actively using to rebuild our talent acquisition process to deliberately recruit and promote a more diverse staff and administration at Chapman. This will provide a much-needed framework of support for supervisors and campus leaders who are committed to diversifying the staff and administration at Chapman.

The multi-year appointment of these two colleagues as my advisors is only the first step, but I ask that you hold us accountable on the results. As you all know, hiring is a process that takes time but with our energies focused on this goal, I have no doubt that we will be seeing a real evolution in our institution. As many have said: words are easy, but results are all that matter. I am committed to show results.

There are other areas where we need to make a difference, and an important one is curricular diversity.

Each dean will work to advance their own efforts to increase curricular diversity in their respective schools and colleges. As an early success by the faculty and the dean of the Wilkinson College, I am happy to announce that we are in the process of hiring our first-ever Africana Studies professor, who will teach in our new Africana Studies minor launching this fall. This initiative adds to the earlier efforts to introduce a minor in Latinx Studies. I am very proud of the work that our Wilkinson College has been doing. As you all know they started the initiative, “Engaging the World: Leading the Conversation on the Significance of Race.” Throughout the fall, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences will be partnering with other colleges, student organizations, and multiple instructors and courses to interrogate the significance of race through a virtual film series, virtual guest lectures and round-tables, a podcast series, art exhibit, and concluding conference featuring student research projects.

I am also proud to mention again the semester-long seminar on “Institutional Racism in America,” building on the work done by one of our own trustees, Andy Horowitz, and led by director of the Honors Program and Professor Carmichael Peters. They will continue to bring seminars and speakers to address social justice in a course that we hope could become a model for engagement at the highest level.

These announcements are only a first step. There will be many more significant changes as work continues by the Chapman leadership and deans, administration, faculty and administration, in partnership with Chapman students. We will continue to work closely with the Black Student Union as we address the specific actions they want to see at Chapman. Vice President and Student Affairs and Dean of Students Jerry Price and I will assemble a committee of students to review and evaluate the extensive diversity and inclusion initiatives in place today and those planned. Dean Price and I are listening to the personal experiences being shared and are committed to improving the Chapman experience for black students.

We ask for your support as we demonstrate concretely, and with measurable results, that we do indeed believe that Black Lives Matter, and that our black students deserve the very best that Chapman can offer.

Update: If you missed our special virtual conversation, “Turning Anguish to Purpose” or our Vigil for Victims of Violence and Racism, both are available on YouTube.

The great task before us

Posted on May 31, 2020 by Bob Davies, CMU President University Update core values, George Floyd

Last week, I watched with shock and sadness the horrific murder of George Floyd. Events such as this — like the recent deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and countless others — are unacceptable tragedies. And as we grieve, it is important to acknowledge that these events deeply impact members of our community.

To our students, faculty and staff of color, know that I share your grief and frustration. Our university stands with you. We see you, we hear you and we are here for you.

Like most schoolchildren, I had to memorize President Abraham Lincoln’s famous 1863 Gettysburg Address. You may remember its opening lines as clearly as I do: “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

Yet today, more than 150 years later, we are still struggling to achieve the final piece of our nation’s promise. We elected a black president, yet a black man was killed in Georgia because he went for a run outside. We launched American astronauts from American soil in an American-made space rocket, but African Americans must still take extra precautions when visiting public parks for bird watching.

And even as the COVID-19 pandemic revealed some of the best of our nation’s spirit, manifested in the actions of our frontline and essential workers, it also exacerbated the stark inequalities still present throughout our country. We know, for example, that African American deaths from this virus are nearly two times greater than should be expected; and health care resources are often seriously lacking in predominantly black and minority communities.

It is clear we have not achieved Lincoln’s goal, nor the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Incidents of racism and hate still plague every corner of our country, and we know we have not eradicated discrimination or bias from our communities, even on our own campus.

Yet I believe we can, and will, achieve a future that welcomes, respects and embraces all people. And we, as members of an institution of higher education, have a vital role to play in creating that future. I do not wish to sugarcoat the difficult truth. There is no neat and tidy solution to this ongoing problem, and there is hard work ahead for us all.

There are steps we can and must take as a university community to overcome ignorance, demonstrate the power of diversity and work together to create positive and necessary change. We must embrace the words of Dr. King, “The bell of man’s inhumanity to man does not toll for any one man. It tolls for you, for me, for all of us.”

We are all in this together. We must all take action. Integrity, respect, inclusiveness, social responsibility and, above all, compassion, are core values at Central Michigan University. We must live them fully each and every day.

Begin with the simple act of reaching out to someone you know has been personally affected and may be hurting. Call on a friend or colleague and check in. Let them know you are thinking of them and that you are here to support them.

Educate yourself. Attend events, such as Conversations that Matter and Soup and Substance, and engage in challenging conversations. Take advantage of tools to check your own biases and work to correct them. The future begins with each one of us taking the brave step to improve ourselves as we work to improve our communities.

And then speak up and speak out. As a community of scholars, we have the power of knowledge, of facts and of words. Use these tools wisely. When you see or hear injustice, take action against it.

In the final lines of President Lincoln’s Address, he stated, “…for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom.”

I call on every member of our university community to undertake this resolve and commit to do all you can do to demonstrate our core values — today and every day ¬— to further a new birth of freedom.

A Promise to do Better– June 14, 2020

Clemson responses to racism, injustice

June 3, 2020

Below is a compilation of responses and statements from several College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences schools and departments – as well as Clemson University President James P. Clements – in response to recent events related to racism and injustice in our nation and world. As a body committed to building people and communities, the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences stands alongside those working for change, and we will continue to use our unique combination of disciplines to frame programmatic work in this area. View our College Newsstand to learn more about our recent work.

From the Department of Communication
We share here the statement on racism from the National Communication Association, the world’s largest professional organization of scholars, educators, students and practitioners dedicated to studying and promoting effective and ethical communication.

The Department of Communication at Clemson University proudly holds a department membership in NCA. As an academic discipline dedicated to the practice of effective and ethical communication, we not only have a duty but a calling to stand up against hatred, intolerance, and racism. We have seen how our world has been shaken through the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others. We live with compassion, respect, and appreciation as we pursue our teaching and research and serve our communities, university, and discipline. It is who we are.

The Department of Communication stands in solidarity in building a better future by engaging students in our undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as through faculty research projects that examine how communication, identity, and systemic beliefs impact our world. The work we do illuminates our interconnectedness and need to support, advocate, and better understand how to break cycles of oppression. We must do our part. And we will.

From the Department of Psychology
The Department of Psychology at Clemson University unequivocally expresses immense sorrow and outrage at the senseless killing of George Floyd, which bore striking and tragic similarity to other unjust killings, including of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many others. We write to express support of all of our students, colleagues and friends but, in particular, our African American students, colleagues and friends who are being confronted by so many tragic deaths, including at the hands of those who have sworn to protect and serve.

The department expresses a commitment to redouble our efforts to live up to our mission statement and to promote and help build an inclusive environment within our department, on campus, in our neighborhoods, in our nation, and across the world. We rededicate ourselves to efforts to recognize, honor and respect people of all backgrounds and experiences. We pledge to continue to work towards eliminating racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of injustice.

We hope that everyone will take the time to reflect on how they can help to bring justice, compassion and kindness both to those with whom they interact and to all members of our society.

From the Department of Public Health Sciences
We in Clemson’s Department of Public Health Sciences are committed to eliminating health inequity through our research, teaching, and service. We recognize racism as a significant driver of social determinants of health that unfairly disadvantage some in achieving optimal health. We are also concerned about these inequities as related to COVID-19. We stand with the American Association of Public Health and other public health programs across the world in addressing this issue. Please see the resources in this link to learn more about Racism and Health and what we can do to address it.

From the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice
The Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice is sharing recent statements from the national professional organizations representing our three disciplines: American Sociological Association, American Anthropology Society, American Criminal Justice Society. Each of these statements recognizes our responsibility as researchers, students, and citizens to investigate and challenge all forms of racism and injustice. As a department we are committed to supporting our students, staff, and faculty as we work together to address violence perpetrated against African Americans, most recently in the horrific killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery.

During this tumultuous period in our history, we stand ready to engage with our students to better understand the roots of institutional racism and its continued impact on every facet of our society today and provide our students with strategies for addressing and changing these deeply rooted systems of inequality. In our research, community outreach, and engagement we will work towards a more just and equitable society and hold each other accountable in our commitment to diversity and respect. We stand in solidarity with our African American students, colleagues, and community members. Thus, we seek not only to better understand inequality and racism in all its forms, but we work to alleviate it.

From the School of Nursing
The core of Nursing is represented by who the nurse is, what the nurse knows and how that is put into interactions with persons and communities to promote well-being and improve health outcomes. Nurses and other healthcare professionals have to explicitly acknowledge that race as well as racism factor into the provision of health care to individuals and communities. Implicit bias and structural racism perpetuate health disparities. The cumulative trauma of systemic/structural racism and poverty are social determinants of health that nurses must know and act on in their nursing practices. Nurses everywhere are called on to actively promote healing in times of injustice. It is the essence of human caring. We must do our part!

The School of Nursing is currently working to help eliminate health disparities through research in the Center for Research on Health Disparities as well as in individual faculty research projects. We are continuing to grow our commitment to reducing the effects of health disparities.

The School of Nursing also shared a position statement from the American Academy of Nursing.

A Letter to the CMC Community

The President’s Executive Cabinet shared the following letter with the CMC community

June 1, 2020

Dear CMC Community,

We write this evening to share our deep collective grief and outrage, and to offer support to all of you. Last week, an unarmed black man, George Floyd, was brutally murdered in Minneapolis. There is violence, despair, and turmoil across our nation as this, and so many other expressions of hate, continue to divide our communities.

We cannot and will not allow ignorance or passivity to prevail in our response. Claremont McKenna College is a community of responsible leaders. Together, we must talk about our genuine fears, our sense of inadequacy, our sadness that we are without the daily on-campus support of one another to process our range of views and feelings. We must educate ourselves and one another on the realities of racism, classism, religious persecution and so many other barriers that stand in the way of realizing our human potential.

Though the pandemic has distanced us physically, we will find ways to engage in the hardest conversations, to come together, to study and seek constructive, active solutions that make a difference. We will refute false political dichotomies that dismiss the facts and diminish personal experiences. We will all do this, faculty, staff and students, by engaging with each other, treating each other with respect and listening to each other.

We stand with you in your desire to end racism and support inclusion.

We stand with you in your power to create change and open a new direction towards equity.

We stand with you in your despair because progress has been hard fought and slow in arrival.

As leaders of the college, we seek your partnership. In response to the structural forces that threaten to divide us, let us harness our talents, intellectual firepower, and courage to do good in the world.


The President’s Executive Cabinet

Hiram E. Chodosh

Sharon K. Basso
Vice President for Student Affairs

Matthew G. Bibbens ’92
Vice President for Administration and Planning, General Counsel, and Secretary of the College

Michelle Chamberlain
Vice President, Advancement & Student Opportunities, Dean, Robert Day Scholars Program

Jennifer Sandoval-Dancs
Associate Vice President for Admission & Financial Aid

James Floyd
Vice President and Chief Investment Officer

Dianna “DT” Graves ’98
Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students

Nyree Gray
Associate Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Civil Rights Officer

Coreen Rodgers
Vice President of Business and Chief Operating Officer

Peter Uvin
Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty

Erin Watkins
Associate Vice President for Finance and Acting Treasurer


May 31, 2020

Dear Colby Community,

Like countless members of our community, I have struggled to find a way through the anger, distress, sadness, and other emotions caused by the heinous and prevalent acts of racial violence in the United States. The brutal and seemingly nonchalant killing of George Floyd by a police officer while other officers stood by is an excruciating but far too common occurrence in this country’s long and persistent history of devaluing the lives of black Americans.

As much as I have struggled with these issues, I know there are many in our community for whom these acts of violence are much more personal and deeply threatening. This weekend, Dean of the College Karlene Burrell-McRae reflected on the disparate impact these events have on people of color. Her words and insights, which are part of a larger piece that will soon be published, are devastatingly honest and important. With her permission, I am sharing a short excerpt from that piece, which I have read dozens of times over the last few days as we have been discussing how Colby can respond in a substantive way to the need for lasting change. The power of her words and experiences affects me in new and more complex ways with each reading, and I know they will speak to many in our community who recognize the pain and anguish—and the incredible unfairness of it all—in ways that I can never completely understand from my own life experiences.

“I received a facetime call from my teenage daughter. Sobbing, she shared that she has been trying to keep up with both world events and occurrences in the Black community (something we have modeled for our children). And there it was—she had viewed the most recent video of a police officer’s barbaric and inhumane detainment of a black man. By herself, she witnessed George Floyd being murdered. As her sobs grew louder, she asked, “Why do they hate us?” Replaying in my head was the same question asked by my young son years earlier.

As I walked home, I wrestled with how I would soothe her pain, listen to her concerns and offer some insights that would compel her to never move to the dark side—to become hateful. As I collected myself, I began to feel my own pain and anguish turn to anger and frustration. Do white families think about the impact of these racist acts on our lives? Do they realize the toll on us and our families when we are left to witness and experience such brutality? Do they know or even care that from the time my son was born I began to worry about the moment people would stop thinking of him as sweet and loveable, but as a threat to society? Could they imagine that when my husband leaves the house, I worry that my goodbye to him, “I love you” but “be safe” could be my last—every single time?”

Racialized violence lays bare the remarkable inequities in our society. We have seen the manifestation of those inequities in other ways over these last several weeks, from the death toll from COVID-19 on communities of color and the most vulnerable amongst us to the historic loss of employment that has hit the lowest-wage earners—the individuals least likely to have a safety net—the hardest. It is essential to me that we not simply talk about these issues but that we act to address them.

Our mission at Colby is to bring light to critical issues from a scholarly perspective. Over the last few years faculty groups have deliberated about the possibility of creating a broad-based academic program on inequality. The concept has not been finalized, but the basic idea is to create an “Inequality Lab,” a multi-disciplinary approach to scholarship, teaching, learning, and community engagement. This would lead to many new courses focused on inequality, research that illuminates the causes and solutions to addressing societal challenges, and engaged work in communities designed to facilitate positive change.

The time to support this work is now. In consultation with Provost McFadden, I will allocate significant resources to launch a multi-year effort to establish this far-reaching program with the expectation of funding it in perpetuity in the coming years. Grounding this program in our academic mission and in our commitment to bettering communities will allow it to have the greatest influence. Dean Burrell-McRae, Provost McFadden, and I will appoint a working group of faculty, students, and staff to build on the thinking that has already been done for this program so we can move forward with initial programming and fuller development of the concept this fall.

We all need to find a way to end these cycles of violence and inequality, and I know that many are doing that hard work now and have been doing it throughout their lives. I am committed to that important effort and to having Colby be a place that will embed this work at the center of its mission.

In solidarity,

David A. Greene

Date: Mon, Jun 1, 2020 at 2:30 PM

Subject: Message to the Colgate Community

Dear Colgate University Community,

On March 12, with safety and wellbeing at the forefront of our thoughts, we asked students to return home for the remainder of the semester. The days and weeks since then have been unlike anything we have witnessed in our lifetime. This week, the country reached the terrible milestone of 100,000 deaths as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we now see more than 40 million Americans out of work.

The pandemic has disproportionately impacted communities of color due to inequities in healthcare and their overrepresentation as essential workers. While communities of color continue to mourn their loved ones and serve as essential workers, the nation experienced the additional horror of watching the killing of George Floyd. The anger, fear, and pain came on the heels of the very recent killings of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. These acts of racism and injustice are all too familiar and unacceptable.

Every year, Colgate celebrates Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy. He is remembered as a minister at the helm of a movement against segregation and racism. Today, on the anniversary of the Tulsa Race Riots, as we watch protests continue in cities across the country, I am reminded of his speech titled “Other America,” in which King said, “Certain conditions continue to exist in our society, which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard …. And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again.” Even as we condemn additional acts of violence, we must also know that we are witnessing the manifestation of Dr. King’s words today, as many of us witnessed in 2016 after Michael Brown was killed, in 1992 after Rodney King was attacked, countless times during the Civil Rights era, and in 1921 in Tulsa.

Colgate’s mission has always been to educate reasoned and reasonable leaders, citizens of the world, who change that world through intelligence, empathy, and grace. This remains our mission. We must vow to do better to address and dismantle racism and systemic inequality on our own campus and in this world. This is challenging and uncomfortable work but it is essential, and the brunt of it should not rest on the shoulders of our black and brown faculty, staff, or students. We must stand together for a more just society.

Colleges and universities, typically and rightfully, refrain from speaking about matters of the day. They are not political entities. They must allow for a space for debate and disagreement about politics and affairs of the world. But we are all part of a shocked and angry nation. This is truly one of those rare times when the institution must break from its silence on world events, for this is also a moment when silence is a form of complicity, not merely a turning of a blind eye, but a participation in the injustice we have, again, seen.

I ask that you take care of each other, and continue to keep this nation in your prayers.


Brian W. Casey


From: President Brian W. Casey

Date: Fri, Jun 19, 2020 at 2:24 PM

Subject: Juneteenth Observance

Dear Colgate Community,

On June 19, 1865, enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas, the western most part of the Union, learned of the Emancipation Proclamation, which was issued two and a half years before every last enslaved American was informed. While not technically the date of slavery’s end, Juneteenth (a combination of “June” and “nineteenth”) was adopted as a day to celebrate total emancipation. Recent events have reminded us that racial injustice still persists today and the work for equality is far from done.

Beginning in 2021, June 19 will be a paid holiday to observe a day of reflection. We encourage you to reflect and, more importantly, to act. Educate yourself about Juneteenth’s history and explore books, movies, or podcasts about systemic racism. This small step is just one way the University is acting to support change on our campus and to encourage reflection and education on issues of race and justice. There will be much more to come.

As I shared in a letter to the Maroon-News editors, Colgate will launch The Colgate History Project this year. This critical effort will pull together students, faculty, staff, alumni, and scholars from around the nation to develop a comprehensive historical perspective of race and inclusion at Colgate. Also, Colgate’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan, the work of more than 70 members of the faculty and staff — was published this past November. A status report on this work will be distributed this summer.

The work of creating a more just and equitable campus community must be a continual commitment required of all of us. I look forward to our work together.


Brian W. Casey


From: CC Office of Alumni and Family Relations

Date: June 3, 2020 at 3:37:35 PM CDT

Subject: Our Commitment to Speak Out Against Racism

The following message about Colorado College's commitment to anti-racism was recently shared with CC students, faculty, and staff last week. We share this message of concern and support with our alumni and families.

Dear Campus Community,

We write today to share our fear and concern about the racialized violence occurring across the country. Sadly, such behavior is not new, but with amplified visibility because of social media and already heightened anxieties around COVID-19, the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd (and Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray Jr., Walter Scott, Oscar Grant III, Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Botham Jean, Atatiana Jefferson, Ahmaud Arbery, and more) are hitting home right now. We caution you against thinking of these as isolated events as in 2019, Black people constituted 24% of people killed by the police, despite comprising just 13% of the U.S. population.

Here at Colorado College we are not immune to anti-Black racism. Our external review dedicated four pages to describing the multitude of ways in which Black students, staff, and faculty experience micro and macro aggressions, marginalization, tokenism, and discrimination in our hiring, retention, and promotion policies; in classes when faculty do not pronounce names correctly; and certainly when engaging in dialogues across sociocultural difference. Importantly, as noted in the review, “anti-Black racism does not occur in isolation. It occurs within the context of anti-indigenous and other forms of racism, sexism, classism, elitism, trans-antagonism, heterosexism and homophobia, ableism, antisemitism, Islamophobia, and other forms of oppression and marginalization” (p.13). There is no denying that white supremacy is embedded throughout our society not only in institutions of learning, but as recent events continue to affirm, within our criminal justice system.

We take seriously the lived experiences of minoritized people and are committed to continuing our efforts to become an antiracist institution. The Butler Center, Dean of Students/Vice President for Student Life Mike Edmonds, and Director of Campus Safety Maggie Santos have worked on comprehensive cultural competency training with members of the Colorado Springs Police Department who participate in campus life, and will engage them in further training. These officers have been supportive of the college’s diversity and inclusion work. We know that we have much more to do but we are committed to the continued implementation of our antiracism plan and ask for your engagement in the coming year as we continue this essential work.

As antiracism requires collective action, we encourage you to join forces with existing organizations working to end police violence including the ACLU, Black Lives Matter, Campaign Zero, National Police Accountability Project, the NAACP, and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

No matter what you do, please take care of yourselves and others. It is easy to turn a blind eye to these events if they do not directly impact you. But recognize that many of your fellow community members at CC are in deep pain because when police officers kill unarmed Black people, it is psychologically damaging to all members of minoritized groups.

Remember there are numerous resources on campus to help you navigate these challenging times. Do not hesitate to contact the Counseling Center, the chaplain, the Butler Center, or the Wellness Resource Center. We are in this together. Add your name in support.


Jill Tiefenthaler, President

Alan Townsend, Provost

Claire Oberon Garcia, Dean of the Faculty

Robert Moore, Senior Vice President for Finance & Administration

Mike Edmonds, Dean of Students/Vice President for Student Life

Mark Hatch, Vice President for Enrollment

Lesley Irvine, Vice President/Director of Athletics

Jane Turnis, Vice President for Communications

Kim Waldron, President’s Office Chief of Staff/Special Assistant to the Board of Trustees

Brian Young, Vice President for Information Technology/Chief Technology Officer

Manya Whitaker, Butler Center Interim Director/Associate Professor and Chair, Education Department

Pedro de Araujo, Vice Provost

Rochelle Dickey-Mason ’83, Senior Associate Dean of Students

CC’s Antiracism Initiative

CC's Antiracism Initiative

Our antiracism initiative is a collegewide effort to actively examine and oppose the ways that racism exists and persists at CC. With antiracism central to our mission, our faculty, staff, and students will experience greater equity and inclusion, our teaching will be more impactful, and our students will be better prepared to make positive change in the world.

Antiracism Progress Update

June 29, 2020

Making diversity and inclusion central to college leadership

A key goal of our Antiracism Implementation Plan is to make diversity and inclusion central to college leadership. This includes hiring diversity, equity, and inclusion experts in the academic, student life, and administration divisions who will help us evolve and activate our plan across the college. With the recent economic impacts of COVID-19, the college halted searches for many positions, but the searches for these roles remained a top priority. The following experts will lead this work at CC:

Peony Fhagen, Ph.D. will be our new senior associate dean for equity, inclusion, and faculty development. Fhagen comes to CC from Wheaton College, in Norton, Massachusetts, where she was associate provost of diversity and faculty development. In that role she co-developed and co-led Wheaton’s overarching campus entity that monitors and supports diversity, equity, and inclusion across the campus. In addition she managed Title IX and discrimination concerns and complaints involving faculty; developed and led workshops and faculty forums on teaching, learning, and diversity; and chaired the campus scholar-at-risk committee.

Fhagen is an associate professor of psychology and African, African American, and Diaspora Studies, and chaired the Wheaton Psychology Department for several years. In conjunction with her hire, the CC Board of Trustees granted Fhagen tenure at its June meeting.

Claire Oberon Garcia, dean of the faculty and chair of the search committee, says, “The senior associate dean will be responsible for advancing and implementing the antiracism goals in the academic realm. All academic departments and programs are evaluating the structures of their majors and minors, their curricula, and their hiring practices through a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens. The SAD will create a new and meaningful program of professional development for faculty through all stages of their career that recognizes our commitment to be an institution that values each employee and helps them to thrive.”

“Dr. Fhagen brings a wealth of experience in thinking about diversity, equity, and inclusion issues with creativity and generosity,” Garcia says. “When her previous institution decided to hire an inaugural chief diversity officer, she proposed instead a collaborative model of diversity, equity, and inclusion leadership similar to our own at CC. A graduate of Wellesley College, Dr. Fhagen is deeply committed to the relevance of a liberal arts education and active learning.”

Rosalie M. Rodriguez will become our senior associate dean of students for equity and inclusion/director of the Butler Center. She comes to CC from Bucknell University, where she was most recently the director of multicultural student services. In that role she worked closely with students of color, advising, mentoring, and connecting students to resources. In addition she developed and facilitated campus-wide programs to increase cultural awareness, understanding, and competence, and promoted the understanding of diverse cultures and perspectives including privilege and power relationships. She advised and supported multicultural student organizations.

“I am thrilled to have Rosalie join the Colorado College community,” says Manya Whitaker, associate professor of education, chair of the Education Department, interim director of the Butler Center, advisor to the Black Student Union, and search committee chair. “She brings with her an interdisciplinary perspective of antiracism and extensive experience working with students to find their entry point into social justice work.”

In response to campus feedback, the position of director of diversity, equity, and inclusion for staff is being revised to elevate its reporting structure to a similar level as the other two positions. It will now be housed in Finance & Administration, rather than in Human Resources, and will report directly to the senior vice president for Finance & Administration. Barbara J. Wilson has been named to serve in the interim capacity in this role until the position is filled permanently. A national search will be conducted in Spring 2021.

Wilson, who currently serves as associate vice president for administrative services, has been at Colorado College since August 2000 when she was hired as director of Human Resources. Her role included working with staff to resolve issues of discrimination and harassment complaints. Wilson served as the deputy Title IX coordinator for staff from 2012 to 2018. In 2013-2015 she served as chair and co-chair on the faculty and staff diversity action team that focused on recruitment and retention issues. Wilson is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources.

“I am very pleased and grateful that Barbara has agreed to continue to serve the college in this interim role,” says Robert G. Moore, senior vice president for Finance & Administration and acting co-president-elect. “She brings years of experience in working with the staff of the college and a personal dedication to the issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

This team will introduce the antiracism framework to all incoming trustees, faculty, staff, and students, and develop understanding, accountability, structure, and opportunities to embrace the Antiracism Initiative. They will be a primary resource for the Diversity and Equity Advisory Board, and will meet regularly with the president. They are charged with ensuring the college meets its antiracism goals.

Each of these new leaders will start in mid-July and be on campus by August.

Major gift to accelerate antiracism work

To enhance and accelerate the work of our new DEI leadership team, CC Board of Trustees Chair Susie Burghart ’77 has generously donated $1 million to further our Antiracism Initiative.

In February, Burghart asked Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students Mike Edmonds what she could do to help the college’s antiracism efforts. “I wanted to underscore how important this initiative is to all of us — as educators, parents, students, staff, and alumni,” Burghart says. She wanted the gift to be announced in tandem with news of the leadership team, because it is connected to the work they will do. “These experts will guide the college in long-needed work that is now even more crucial. This is a moment when CC can lead, and make a difference.”

Edmonds says this major gift will be transformative for the college.

“Board Chair Burghart long has been a champion of the college and its mission. With this wonderful gift, she saw an important need, and stepped forward to help the college thoughtfully propel its antiracism efforts ahead,” Edmonds says. “Her support for this work will allow us to make greater strides for diversity, equity, and inclusion for students, faculty, staff, and alumni for years to come.”

The new DEI leadership team will collaborate to plan the most effective ways to use the gift, extending its impact over multiple years.

Making antiracism a central value in CC’s academic and co-curricular programs

Changes adopted by the faculty to diversify the curriculum in May 2019 and developed over the past year will go into effect with the 2020-21 academic year. This new general-education curriculum includes a requirement that students take two Equity & Power courses. The new general education requirements are responsive to longtime student requests for a more diversified curriculum.

Establishing antiracism, equity, and inclusion as foundational to our community expectations

Student Conduct

Another key goal in our plan is to critically examine our policies, procedures, and practices to find ways in which inequities, bias, and injustice are embedded. During the 2019-20 academic year, Takiyah Amin, Ph.D., a scholar, educator, and consultant, completed an examination of student-conduct policies (known to many as The Pathfinder) through an antiracism and anti-oppression lens and recommended changes to be implemented for the next academic year. An internal review and focus groups were also conducted. Amin, Senior Associate Dean of Students Rochelle Dickey, and Community Standards and Conduct Specialist Josh Isringhausen then redrafted the conduct policies based on feedback from the reviews and focus groups. The changes focus on increasing accessibility to the conduct process and reducing subjectivity and bias through more community involvement in the process, and include revisions based on best practices and strategies. Restorative justice practices were updated as a way to resolve conduct cases. Changes are being vetted with key stakeholders, including students, with plans to roll out the revised policies for the start of the 2020-21 academic year. A Student Conduct Advisory Group was formed to review the policies annually.


A collaboration team was formed in late February to review non-personnel and non-student policies, procedures, and guidelines that are formal and informal, documented and undocumented. The team of 13 staff members, representing every area of the college, was tasked with creating an inventory of existing policies, procedures, guidelines, and practices, and developing a plan to prioritize the list and a process for review and modification. The team has completed reviewing 16 out of nearly 50 non-personnel and non-student formal college-wide policies, with four recommended for revision to remove perceived embedded biases; three others are recommended for change to improve clarity. The team has also completed its initial documentation of other campus procedures, guidelines, and practices that are less formal and/or undocumented. Over the rest of the summer, the team will develop its plan and priorities for reviewing the inventory of the “other procedures, guidelines, and practices,” while also examining at least 10 more collegewide policies. Review of the prioritized inventory, and completion of the review of the remaining college-wide policies will begin with the new academic year.

A new system of support was developed for international students to address concerns and needs ranging from visa issues to housing, academics, and mental health support. Shiyanke Goonetilleke, who has years of experience working with CC’s international students on many fronts, now serves as a primary resource for international students, working with the directors of both Global Education and the Butler Center.

Antiracism Evaluation Tool

Amin developed an antiracism evaluation tool that will be rolled out initially in the Student Life division this fall. The tool measures DEI efforts across five areas including personnel, policies, practices, assessment, and collaborative efforts. It helps offices and programs examine their policies, practices, and cultures to identify areas of racial bias and inequity, and make changes to support the college’s antiracism efforts. After the pilot phase in Student Life and an assessment, the tool will be shared with other divisions, departments, offices, and programs.

Making antiracism central to CC’s communication

The Office of Communications recently launched “CC Conversations,” a series of live Facebook/Zoom panel discussions drawing on the expertise of CC faculty, staff, and alumni on important topics. The first, “CC Conversations on Racism, Policing, & Protest,” was moderated and organized by Associate Professor Manya Whitaker, and included Assistant Professor Christopher Hunt, Assistant Professor Florencia Rojo, Assistant Professor Michael Sawyer, and Assistant Professor Christian Sorace. The discussion drew more than 1,200 viewers, including many alumni, from across the nation.

College social media platforms have been elevating Black voices and perspectives, sharing quotes and content from many of the major speakers who have visited the campus in the past year to speak on issues of racism.

Untold Stories, a collection of the lived experiences of marginalized members of the CC community, continues to grow, with the stories of author and attorney Michael Nava ’76, who shared his experience as a gay Latino writer; and psychologist, educator, and leadership consultant Pam Shipp ’69, who shared her experiences, including of being one of just three Black women at the college in the mid- to late-1960s.

What’s next

Some work was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This work will resume in the fall.

  • An Antiracism Oversight Committee will be formed. The new diversity, equity, and inclusion leadership team will work with acting co-presidents Mike Edmonds and Robert G. Moore to get this group started, as well as meet with constituencies to prioritize how best to use Susie Burghart’s gift to accelerate our work. The oversight committee will ensure that the Antiracism Implementation Plan initiatives are being carried out, and will assess the impact of the work. The committee will provide an annual report to the CC Board of Trustees. Nominations have been received from the Faculty Executive Committee, CCSGA, and Staff Council, and the new DEI leadership team will be integral to the committee’s work.
  • Faculty are participating in a virtual workshop in July on inherent biases and internalized racism with Robin DiAngelo, “White Fragility” author, scholar, and social justice educator. The Office of the Dean of the Faculty is funding a limited number of participants; faculty should contact [email protected] for information.
  • The Office of Communications will develop an antiracism strategic communications plan, consulting with our new DEI leadership team on the most effective ways to make antiracism communications central to the college and build shared understanding of our goals.

Racism, Wooster and the Urgent Work Ahead

Dear Wooster Students and Colleagues,

George Floyd’s funeral was today. We mourn his loss as well as the loss of so many others whose lives have been taken in appalling, heartbreaking acts of anti-Black violence. In the wake of Mr. Floyd’s death, voices are being raised around the world about the grave impacts of systemic racism, and about the urgent actions we must take to create communities that are truly safe, equitable and just.

Black lives matter. We must move forward from our long, terrible history of racism to create communities where Black lives are valued, honored and safe. During last Wednesday’s Community Care gathering, over 400 students, staff, faculty and alumni reaffirmed the urgent need for this change, both here on our campus and more broadly. Before registering, attendees were asked to share what they will do to end racism. We compiled some of their answers in this video to visualize our community’s collective commitment to this critical mission.

The College of Wooster stands against racism in all of its forms, and we will redouble our efforts to create a campus that is truly equitable and inclusive. We are sharing that work publicly so that we can be held accountable for that commitment. To track our progress, please visit the Diversity and Inclusion resources webpage and the most recent annual update , to see where we have already taken action and what work lies ahead.

I have been in discussions with student leaders and alumni who are calling for reforms to the College’s relationship with local law enforcement and the College’s approach to safety and protective services and student support. While the College does not hold any contracts with the Wooster Police Department, there are definitely ways that we can change our practices to improve, and to ensure that the campus is a safe and welcoming place for every student to learn and thrive. To move this work forward, I have consulted with Dr. Ayesha Bell Hardaway, ’97, who is a scholar of race and the law, Wooster Police Chief Matthew Fisher ’95, and College of Wooster students and staff. Dr. Hardaway is also a professor and the Director of the Social Justice Law Center at Case Western Reserve University. Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Dr. Ivonne García and I will share specific plans for changes in policy and practice as we develop them in collaboration with our students, staff, faculty, alumni and other experts.

The College of Wooster community can move forward collectively by listening to, supporting and amplifying Black voices, learning, standing in solidarity with those who are harmed by racism, and making anti-racist actions a priority in everything we do, every day. Although the College is not currently in session, we want to make headway now, and are beginning in the following ways:

  • We are planning summer virtual gatherings for Black faculty, staff, and students.
  • Dr. García will host two open forum discussions of Ibram X. Kendi’s How to be an AntiRacist on June 18 and June 25 at 7pm Eastern time, via Zoom. All College of Wooster community members are welcome and encouraged to participate. You can sign up for these discussions here.
  • The Department of History is hosting a virtual roundtable entitled 8 Minutes and 46 Seconds to Revolution: Making Sense of the George Floyd and Breonna Taylor Protests, featuring four scholars of the Black experience in the United States, Professors Shannon King, Nicosia Shakes, Charles Peterson, and Kabria Baumgartner. This program will take place on Wednesday, June 10 , from 7:00 – 8:30 pm, via Zoom. To register, click here.
  • We will host additional Teach-In events, to enable all community members to come together for presentations and discussions. We are eager to share more details on these events as they are finalized.

I hope we will see one another again in Wooster soon. In the meantime, the crucial work to create just communities around the world continues to grow, and to make a difference. Thank you for being a part of it.


Sarah Bolton

From: Barker, Jeff

Subject: Diversity, Racism, Violence

Dear faculty colleagues,

I write today in the second of several communications to help us prepare for the opening of Converse this fall.

This second communication is with regard to an issue staring all of us in the face: the pervasive issues of racism and violence in our country. Converse is not an island apart from these issues; our larger Spartanburg and South Carolina communities are certainly not islands. All of us are affected and our students especially can be expected to return to us with the experience painfully fresh in their minds

I’m sure you’ve seen the video, probably more than once. I’m sure you’ve heard the pleas, and “I can’t breathe.” It is unforgettable. President Newkirk’s very timely response was sent to all of you but you can read it here as well: https://www.converse.edu/living-our-values/ Joe Dunn was interviewed by The Christian Science Monitor; he had been quoted in the CSM years before on Vietnam War protests. Joe told them that “There is a deep, deep sense of frustration and injustice, and it only takes an incident for that to come rolling out.”

I agree with the president and with Joe. As I told Joe, my frustration and anger is that it is YET ONE MORE INCIDENT. I also recognize that I haven't done enough. But I'm not done and when it comes to our students and our community, we’re not done.

I know the summer is very busy for all of us. We‘re still dealing with the pandemic, including preparing for the possibility of in-person and online delivery in the fall, with a modified calendar, and with the beginnings of our model change, advanced a year. We may have a recommendation to change from Moodle to Canvas; the review committee meets tomorrow, Thursday, to make a recommendation. If we do change, the review committee is unanimous in recommending that we not wait, that we do it this summer.

Despite all of this work, I believe we need to think very carefully about the issues that we face and that Converse faces and will face with the return of students; not only public health issues, but the ongoing issues of race and violence facing our society. I'd like to ask you to consider these in light of the return of students to campus, the need for all of us to listen to them and to each other, to consider very carefully what we say to each other and how we treat each other, and the real possibility of student protest and action.

As a start, let's make use of the resources available to us from Everfi, our online professional development source. Keshia Gilliam will be referring you (in Everfi talk it is an “assignment”) to two of their courses. The issues in these two courses, which together take about an hour, are so important for all of us. I urge everyone to complete these as early as possible this summer. The president and I believe these issues are so important that we are making completion of the two courses mandatory by the end of August. That will be two weeks into the semester under the revised calendar. Here are the two courses, which deal with diversity and inclusion, and unconscious bias, respectively:



Please approach these with an open mind. They are just a start…but an important start. We will plan for other efforts this fall.

In discussions with other members of our community, I’ve heard more than once that diversity and bias issues have come up when students listen to us and watch us even more closely than we may realize. I’m asking all of us to think carefully about this. When we’re having lunch in Gee, for example, please remember that this is a place where students hear what we say. They are listening.

When our students return, consider the anger they may be feeling, or the fear, or the confusion. We may address these as appropriate within the subject matter of a particular course, carefully and with as objective an approach as possible, but there may be protest that takes place outside of the classroom. We have a policy on this in the Faculty Handbook:

Converse College employees, students, and student organizations are free to examine and debate all questions or issues of importance to them and to express opinions publicly and privately. At all times Converse College students and employees are expected to speak and act responsibly. Students and employees are also obligated to make it clear that when they speak, they do so for themselves and not for the College.

Converse College recognizes the right of any employee or student to demonstrate peacefully. However, any group that wishes to assemble for such purposes must first register and review all activities with the Office of the Dean of Students in order to ensure that the College can provide adequate security and safety measures.

The right to assemble peacefully for the purpose of public expression or opinion is restricted to those students or employees who are currently enrolled or employed at Converse College. Converse is a private institution and will not allow outside individuals or groups to demonstrate on the Converse campus for any reason. Trespassers are subject to prosecution by the law.

Although Converse students enjoy freedom of speech and assembly, no one shall obstruct the free movement of other individuals on campus, interfere with academic instruction, or interfere with the use of college facilities, including by use of amplified sound.

Students have the right to protest at Converse. Faculty and staff enjoy these same rights. Outside groups do not. All are subject only to the safety and security provisions in the policy. I see those provisions not as obstacles to protest but as protections for the protesters. We will not hinder protest except to provide basic safety and security. Again, we need to listen to each other as a starting point and protests are an important opportunity to do that.

As we move into the semester and the presidential election season intensifies, the issues we face may intensify. I ask you to work with me, with the deans, and with our entire community as we deliver on the mission. We really are about seeing clearly, deciding wisely, and acting justly. As President Newkirk wrote:

Converse, we must raise our voices to condemn the racist actions around us. We must model respect for diversity and the power of love and community. We cannot be silent or apathetic. By doing so, we allow hatred, racism, and violence to grow in our midst. In short, we must do better.

Thank you for everything you have done. Thank you for everything you will do in the days ahead.

Jeffrey H. Barker


From: Newkirk, Krista

Date: Tue, Jun 2, 2020, 7:33 AM

Subject: Living Our Values

JUNE 2, 2020

That each of us “may be enabled to see clearly, decide wisely, and to act justly.”

We often quote the Founder’s Ideal at Converse, but this week it feels especially crucial.

As the President of Converse, I am careful about what topics I engage in. My role is to lead Converse as it strives to provide the best education possible for its students. I have decided, however, that I cannot in good conscience lead and remain silent when the very values we hold dear are on trial in this great democracy.

Like many of you, I watched the video of George Floyd’s death and the actions of the police officer who remained deliberately stoic and detached as if the life ebbing out beneath that very knee meant too little to bother to move. This wasn’t the first unjust death perpetrated against a black man by those who are there to protect and to serve. We’ve seen so many others: Eric Garner, Philando Castile, and Walter Scott in South Carolina, just to name a few examples of unjustified levels of police violence against black men. This is not just an issue of law enforcement and a few bad actors in that profession. There are many wonderful police officers who also loathe these horrific acts because they see them as a direct violation of the creed and purpose to which they have devoted their lives. The deaths of these men, and the many others we have heard about in the last few years merely highlight the impact of a system of racism.

We’ve watched how systemic racist policies have economic impacts that directly influence lives. We’ve seen these statistics for far too long, but it took a pandemic to put the stories of the effects of such racism before us. Black Americans are dying from COVID-19 at a rate that is three times that of white Americans. In some states, the death rate for blacks is seven times that of whites. We have seen blacks and Hispanics face much higher rates of unemployment due to the pandemic. We know that black women are two to six times more likely to die due to pregnancy complications than white women. We know from the American Academy of Family Physicians that “blacks in their 20s, 30s, and 40s are more likely to live with or die from conditions that typically occur at older ages in whites, such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes. That's because risk factors for some of these conditions, such as high blood pressure, aren't being detected and treated in younger blacks.” We have had the data and information to see clearly for a very long time. It took this pandemic and another cruel and senseless death on camera to highlight the injustices in our own backyards.

To you, my Converse family, I say this. I am so sorry for the pain, trauma, and frustration that so many of you are feeling. These events have made a powerful and personal impact on all of us. If you need support during this time, counseling services are available to faculty and staff through the Employee Assistance Program and to students through the Wellness Center.

It is our responsibility as Americans and members of this society to do better to uphold the fundamental principles of this great nation, and it is our responsibility as educators and scholars to help others understand these principles. Martin Luther King, Jr., told us: “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” No person is born a racist. We know that racism is taught. As a community of scholars, we must address our own biases and teach our students how to do the same. We must strive to teach a comprehensive view of history where the story of all is told. We must provide a thorough education on the impacts of social policy. We must show the fallacies of those policies and philosophies that embed so deeply the racism that allow many to live in the comfort of privilege. Converse, we must raise our voices to condemn the racist actions around us. We must model respect for diversity and the power of love and community. We cannot be silent or apathetic. By doing so, we allow hatred, racism, and violence to grow in our midst. In short, we must do better.

As Toni Morrison reminded us, “The function of freedom is to free somebody else.” So, I implore you to search your soul and to ask yourself: what can I do better; what can Converse do better; what can we as educators and scholars do better? Now that we can see more clearly, how do we decide more wisely and act more justly? We know that change takes time, but it will take much longer if each of us fails to do what we can to create a community where each life is equally valued and protected. I urge you to use your voices now to stand up for the values we hold so dear, the truths we hold to be self-evident: that all are created equal.

From: Duncan, Holly

Date: Fri, Jun 5, 2020, 5:27 PM

Subject: A Message from Board Chair Phyllis Perrin Harris '82

Below is a message from Board of Trustees Chair Phyllis Perrin Harris, '82 to our campus community.

JUNE 5, 2020

Dear Converse Students, Faculty, and Staff:

It’s been very difficult to pen a message to the Converse community regarding the events over the past week. The rage, pain and frustration that we see in the protests in the aftermath of George Floyd’s senseless murder is a reaction to the more than 400 years of systemic racism endured by black and brown Americans that we have failed to wholly acknowledge, address and remedy. For the past week as a parent of young adults, I’ve wiped tears, listened to traumatic stories of racism that they have experienced, and have provided comfort in the best way that I know how as a parent. I’ve also reflected on my own experiences at Converse as a black student. It was difficult and I experienced racism. To my Converse family, every black alumnae has a story to tell.

But my personal experiences with racism are insignificant when compared to the deaths of George Floyd, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Breonna Taylor, Philando Castille and many, many other black and brown people who have died from police violence. Despite these harsh realities, I am uplifted by our founder’s ideal to “Act Justly.” I am also encouraged by the message that President Newkirk sent today that implores our community to take action, for real and sustainable change, and the messages of support and solidarity of allies in the Converse community.

I am deeply troubled however, by the experiences and stories that our current students are sharing about the hateful and racist words that some are expressing and the untoward actions by a few. Racism and bias have no place on Converse’s campus and its social media communities. We can and must do better to live up to the values that bind us to this institution. President Newkirk has announced a set of initiatives to begin the process of healing and eradicating racism at Converse. These actions are a good start. However, we will have to roll up our sleeves and intentionally look inward to help Converse emerge as a place that is truly inclusive and that consistently treats all people with respect, dignity, and as equals.

“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable…Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

Stay safe, be well and dedicated to change.

From: Newkirk, Krista

Date: Wed, Jun 17, 2020, 1:11 PM

Subject: Message from Pres. Newkirk

JUNE 17, 2020

Dear Students,

A number of you have reached out to me about an email you received from Dr. Jeff Poelvoorde in which he objected to the mandated training modules for Converse faculty and staff on Diversity and Inclusion, and Managing Bias, as well as raised a number of other topics. Many of you expressed how upsetting this email was for you as you are trying to deal with the challenges of a global pandemic and the issues of systemic discrimination. I am so sorry that you are facing so many difficult things right now and that one more challenging situation has been thrust upon you. I hear you. Please know that we are working on ways to make this better.

In regard to the training issues raised, the modules assigned take a very broad definition of diversity (gender, gender identity, religion, disability, ethnicity, etc.) and remind us that we need to be considerate and respectful of those in our community. I understand that no one likes receiving a mandate, and they are very seldom issued here at Converse. These training modules along with several others were sent to the staff in March with a recommendation that they complete them. Even in the middle of the pandemic outbreak and the shift to working from home, 38% did so. Given the current situation, however, I thought it was important that we all complete this training that reinforces Converse's core values. That mandate stands, and each and every employee and faculty member is expected to complete this training by August 3rd. Just like any faculty member who gives an assignment to their class, this training is a requirement. It is not a violation of the First Amendment to require employees to go through training. All institutions require employees to go through professional development training, including public higher education institutions.

Converse is a private, liberal arts institution where we value the opportunity to participate in the free and responsible exchange of ideas with the belief that through vigorous and civil debate, the best and most logical ideas will rise to the top. Our Faculty Handbook's statement on Freedom of Expression includes the following: "Converse College employees, students, and student organizations are free to examine and debate all questions or issues of importance to them and to express opinions publicly and privately. At all times Converse College students and employees are expected to speak and act responsibly. Students and employees are also obligated to make it clear that when they speak, they do so for themselves and not for the College." Dr. Poelvoorde’s statement reflected his own thoughts, and he does not speak for Converse.

The right to freedom of speech is balanced by our policy on discrimination. Converse does not tolerate discrimination based upon "race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, disability, age, national or ethnic origin, veteran status, genetic information, or any other status protected by applicable federal, state, or local law." When Converse supports diversity and does not discriminate on the basis of creed, that means that it also supports the right for people to hold different beliefs and points of view. Statements of harassment to a person based upon that person’s protected status will not be tolerated. Such statements are currently a violation of our Civitas policy and soon will be part of a new policy on harassment and discrimination that will provide a better process to address such incidents.

For any students who have been advised that they should not talk about incidents of discrimination or harassment, but instead should simply be patient and wait for these issues to resolve themselves, let me set the record straight. That is not right, that contradicts our goal of teaching you to use your voice, and that is not what our policies say. If you have been discriminated against by a faculty or staff member in violation of our policies, you should report that matter as set forth in the Grievance Procedure on page 74 of the Student Handbook. If discriminatory statements have been made to you by another student, you may submit a form through Converse Cares for help with those issues. Converse will take appropriate disciplinary action in regard to any employee or student who engages in discriminatory conduct. If you would like to talk to someone about how to go about that process, please reach out to Dean Boone Hopkins or Danielle Stone.

As you may know, tenured faculty members are afforded certain rights and actions involving personnel are confidential. Please know that this matter is being addressed within the confines of Converse's policy and the law. In the meantime, if any of you are enrolled in a course with any faculty member where you are concerned that you will face discrimination, please contact Dean Erin Templeton, Dean Lienne Medford, or Dean Boone Hopkins.

Next week, Kennedy Anderson, other student leaders, and I will be hosting another Zoom call for any students who wish to discuss these issues or to share their thoughts on how we can make Converse a better and more inclusive environment for all. We will reach out to you soon with a date and time. In the meantime, if you wish to voice your opinion on this topic or any other issues at Converse, please use this link where you can submit your thoughts and questions. We will try to address your questions and concerns during this Zoom meeting.

Thank you for caring enough to reach out and to share with me your thoughts on this. It is important that we keep talking and working together as we forge a better future for Converse.


Krista L. Newkirk


May 30, 2020

Dear Members of the Connecticut College Community,

As we continue to cope with the suffering brought on by COVID-19, today we are coping with another kind of suffering. Our thoughts are with the people of Minneapolis, Atlanta, Boston, and other cities around the country protesting racial violence and police brutality, including the tragic deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. We are deeply saddened by these incidents and write today to express our solidarity with communities of color and all who are mourning.

In challenging times, we come together as a community. We cannot convene in person now, but we would like to do so remotely in order to reflect on this moment. Earlier this year, our Office of Religious and Spiritual Programs created PAUSE for that very purpose–a time for prayer, poetry, silence, and solidarity. It has become a welcome space for dialogue and community care. And so we have organized a remote PAUSE event for Tuesday, June 2, from 3 to 4 p.m. We invite you to join us via WebEx.

Racism is one of our most enduring and devastating social problems. We all have a responsibility to use our knowledge and resources to become anti-racist, to end violence and oppression in all forms. That begins with education. We invite you to use this time to avail yourselves of the tremendous resources we have within our own community, including the significant body of scholarship on race; the faculty and students associated with our Center for the Critical Study of Race and Ethnicity; the staff and student leaders within the division of institutional equity and inclusion; and all those involved in the Agnes Gund ’60 Dialogue Project.

We look forward to being with you on June 2. In the meantime, we send you our very best wishes for health and safety during these turbulent times.


Katherine Bergeron

John McKnight
Dean of Institutional Equity and Inclusion

June 8, 2020

Dear Members of the Connecticut College Community,

We are living through an extraordinary moment in history. The senseless killings of George Floyd and other Black Americans at the hands of white police and vigilantes have compelled people in every corner of the United States and around the world to take a stand against racism, and to demand the same of all our institutions. We have been deeply moved in the past week by the eloquent words of so many leaders, including our own students, faculty, staff, alumnae and alumni, calling on us to support black lives on campus, in our community, and in the world.

This historic moment will not reward bystanders. It calls for action. Action is at the heart of our mission at Connecticut College: to educate students to put the liberal arts into action as citizens of a global society. And so, informed by conversations we have had with many of you in recent days, we are writing to let you know the set of concrete actions the College is committed to taking in the 2020-21 academic year to advance anti-racist education.

The work will be based on the broad goals of our 2019 Equity and Inclusion Action Plan, with ten commitments in three areas: campus safety and law enforcement; teaching and learning; and climate.

Anti-Racist Education in Campus Safety and Law Enforcement

  • Responding to a growing national movement to transform the nature of policing, the College will review its own procedures for handling campus incidents in order to move the department of campus safety toward a more inclusive, community-oriented philosophy of intervention.
  • In the same vein, the College will engage our campus safety officers in a set of conversations about implicit bias, racial profiling, and how to counteract them.
  • New London Mayor Michael Passero ’79 will, in turn, establish a community task force to review the policies, procedures, and training in the New London Police Department related to de-escalation, racial bias, and use of force. Two representatives from Connecticut College—John McKnight, dean of institutional equity and inclusion, and Mary Savage, director of campus safety and emergency operations—will serve on the task force.
  • We will also expand on the very successful series, Conversations on Race, launched last year in partnership with The Day and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, to explore racial bias in policing as well as other themes.

Anti-Racist Education in Teaching and Learning

  • To address one of the first goals of our Equity and Inclusion Action Plan, we will require all members of the Connecticut College community to complete an online program that offers foundational training around questions of diversity, equity, and inclusion. This online instruction is meant to be just the first step in a much larger effort to promote advanced dialogue and understanding across difference.
  • We will launch a new graduation requirement, starting with the Class of 2024, on Social Difference and Power, a requirement ratified by the faculty in spring 2019. We are grateful to Professors Deborah Eastman and Sufia Uddin for their leadership in developing this requirement and for the many faculty who will offer courses.
  • Likewise, we will refocus the diversity portion of new student orientation, again starting with the Class of 2024, to include a more intentional focus on combating interpersonal racism within the campus community.
  • And we will create a continually updated guide of opportunities and resources to promote anti-racist education. We have been inspired by the statements of support and solidarity by many departments, programs, and groups, which have included links to educational resources, for example: from our student leaders; from a group of faculty and staff allies; from the faculty in the Psychology Department; and from staff in Student Counseling Services. These educational resources will be compiled into a single comprehensive guide on the Office of Institutional Equity and Inclusion website for the campus community.

Anti-Racism and Campus Climate

  • During the 2020-21 academic year, we will administer the planned-for campus climate survey by the national Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium, which COVID-19 forced us to postpone this spring. Data from the survey will be used to inform future plans.
  • And we will work to amplify and enhance the College’s bias response protocol to incorporate restorative justice approaches in keeping with best practices nationally.

There are, of course, many additional courses, lectures, programs, and actions being planned for the coming year by our centers and departments that will address many of the same themes. You may learn more on this calendar.

We believe that all this work will advance, in a rigorous way, the goals and objectives articulated in our Equity and Inclusion Action Plan—a plan that has been built on a long history of activism at Connecticut College. A full report of our progress on the Action Plan will be published on the President’s website this month and updated during the year.

Finally, we want you to know that we have prioritized equity and inclusion in the College’s comprehensive fundraising campaign with a goal to raise at least $5 million to support capital projects and programming. Here, too, we have made progress. In 2018, a gift from a generous alumnus provided the seed funding for us to begin designing our strategy. Last year, a generous alumnus donated $500,000 to help us bring a second cohort of Posse scholars from New York City to join our scholars from Chicago. And another gift of $1 million from Agnes Gund ’60 allowed us to endow The Dialogue Project, a comprehensive social justice education program that is already making an impact.

We know the road to justice and equity is long, but we hope that, with these concrete actions, our community will move a bit closer to realizing the values we profess. The College is committed to using resources in the best possible way to continue advancing this important work with you. As always, we thank you for your support and look forward to the results of our collective commitment.


Katherine Bergeron, President
Victor Arcelus, Dean of Students
Jeff Cole, Dean of the Faculty
Pamela Dumas Serfes, Vice President for Communications
W. Lee Hisle, Vice President for Information Services
Rich Madonna, Vice President for Finance and Administration
John McKnight, Dean of Institutional Equity and Inclusion
Cheryl Miller, Vice President for Human Resources and Organizational Development
Jefferson Singer, Dean of the College
Andy Strickler, Dean of Admission and Financial Aid
Kim Verstandig, Vice President for Advancement

From: President Jane Close Conoley
Sent: Wednesday, June 10, 2020 5:54 PM
Subject: President Conoley Addresses Racial Injustice


June 10, 2020

While previous OneBeach messages have focused on what our campus community is doing to manage the challenges of the pandemic, I feel it’s important now to discuss the issues that are front-and-center at this moment: racial injustice and police brutality.

Jane Close Conoley, Ph.D.


Sent: Monday, June 1, 2020 8:28 PM
Subject: Black Lives Matter

Dear Beach Community:

We at the Beach are vehemently against police brutality and racial injustice. The recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others have sparked protests across the nation. We fully support and stand by the black community at the Beach whose lives, health and safety are intimately impacted.

For 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the nation watched as Floyd pleaded for his life while a Minneapolis police officer pinned him to the ground with his knee pressed against his neck. Recent events have given members of the black community reason for feeling that they are not safe going for a jog, standing on the sidewalk, or even in the sanctity of their own homes.

We support community-based policing built upon the foundation of trust and respect. We appreciate our campus police who do this kind of relationship-building with our students, faculty, and staff daily. We cannot, however, support the kinds of abuses of power that have historically targeted the black community.

We do not claim to have all the answers and we cannot promise that we won’t misstep in the process of learning. But we look forward to having meaningful dialogue with our black community members at the Beach to better understand the challenges we face ahead to make our campus more inclusive.

We can do better. We must do better. We will do better.

For the staff and faculty who are struggling with these recent acts of violence against members of the black community, please reach out to the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program at 562-985-7434. For students who would like someone to talk to, please reach out to Counseling and Psychological Services at 562-985-4001.

Jane Close Conoley, Ph.D.

Dear CU Denver Community,

As our society reckons with ongoing and systemic racism and police brutality toward Black people and other people of color, many of us are grieving, feeling anger, and moved to act.

This Friday is Juneteenth, the annual commemoration of the end of slavery in the U.S. The day is particularly resonant this year as we are actively confronting the toll that the legacy of slavery and White supremacy continues to take in America. I believe transformation requires big societal changes, but also self-reflection, a willingness to listen and learn, and taking action.

To that end, today we are announcing the extension of CU Denver’s CU in the Community program to the full year (from its previous December through March parameters). The program allows faculty and staff to take a half-day of work time to volunteer with or perform service for the organization of their choice. We encourage you to use that time, or some portion of it, on actions that dismantle racism.

We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic may prevent you from volunteering in person. Alternative ways to provide service could include education, reflection, and volunteering with organizations committed to doing anti-racist work, such as those listed below.

Local Organizations

  1. The Denver Justice project, led and organized by survivors of police violence, works to transform law enforcement, end mass incarceration, and seek racial justice.
  2. Creative Strategies for Change mobilizes arts and education for social justice.
  3. Soul 2 Soul Sisters are faith-based Black organizing leaders. They also lead anti-racism courses and provide a place for non-Black allies to deepen their internal work around dismantling racist oppression.
  4. YAASPA (Young Aspiring Americans for Social and Political Activism) works in Aurora and Denver schools to encourage and support disengaged and underserved youth to participate and make change in their communities socially and politically.
  5. Black Lives Matter 5280 works to build more loving and united Black communities while eliminating anti-Black violence and racism. They are raising funds for bail, legal support, and provision of direct services for Black people impacted by the current and ongoing crisis.

National Organizations

  1. Showing up for Racial Justice is a national organization that moves White people to act as part of a multi-racial majority to undermine White supremacy and work toward racial justice.
  2. The Anti-Defamation League exposes extremism, delivers anti-bias education, and works with communities and law enforcement to identify hate and mobilize people to work vigorously against it.
  3. Color of Change is the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. It designs campaigns to end practices that unfairly hold Black people back and to champion solutions that move us all forward.
  4. The NAACP is holding Juneteenth events, film screenings, town hall discussions, and other activities. Its We Are Done Dying campaign encourages sending messages to your Congressional representatives.

In addition to expanding CU in the Community, we will continue the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s Social Justice Teach-In series in order to bring about greater understanding, equity, and justice. Last Friday’s We Can’t Breathe Teach-In , with over 950 participants, highlighted the research expertise of our faculty and alumni ranging from the origins of policing of enslaved people to criminal justice research and seeing Black Lives Matter through the lens of a demonstrator. In smaller group discussions, broken out by social identity groups, people across Colorado and beyond shared lessons learned and resources.

We will continue to add resources to the CU in the Community website with the knowledge that the practice of combating racism, in society and within ourselves, is ongoing. Similarly, the university’s action list is also a work in progress. We recognize that there is still much for us to do, and we’re committed to continually reevaluating and refining our actions.

As we wrote to you earlier this month, we consider it our responsibility as a public urban research university to take action to eradicate the structures of racialized bias and power. Although there are immediate actions that can be taken, long-term and sustained change is needed. In conversations with Chancellor-designate Michelle Marks, I’ve learned of her commitment to listening to our community and identifying how CU Denver can be an even more effective change agent. She will be sharing her ideas for moving forward that important work soon after her arrival on July 1.

Dorothy Horrell

President Brand sends message about George Floyd

June 1, 2020

This is an email sent by President Jonathan Brand to the Cornell College community on Sunday, May 31, 2020.

Given the unpredictable and challenging few months that we have had learning to cope with COVID-19, I could not imagine that anything else could happen in the world that could come close to, or even eclipse, COVID-19. Then George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer. Watching and rewatching the almost 9-minute video footage and the aftermath has been painful, angering, and nauseating. But, this is not a time to look away. While it might be easy for some to view this tragedy as a distant event with little connection to the Cornell campus, that would sadly be very shortsighted. I have seen students and alumni participating in the protests and clean up throughout the country. I see the pain experienced by many members of our campus community.

This is the moment for all of us to stand in solidarity and engage in the moral courage necessary to let this incident, or others like it, be a catalyst for change in our world. This wasn’t simply the failure of one human being. We have to understand racial disparity and injustice. My heart goes out to Mr. Floyd’s family and also to everyone who feels the pain associated with his death. I feel it; what a tragedy.

And, now we have to find a way to further our understanding of one another’s experiences of the world and seek ways to heal the schism created by these recent events. Let’s be mindful that caring for others is the greatest human opportunity we have. None of us is distant from what happened in Minneapolis. Many are intimately connected to it and deserve our support.

I hope for your continued safety as well as of your families and our larger Cornell community amidst the pain and anguish. And, as always, we are here if we can be of any help.

Please take care of yourself and of others.


Dear Cornellians,

Like so many of you, my family and I have been reeling over the events of the past week – events for which words seem inadequate. The images we have seen and the sounds we have heard have horrified us and broken our hearts. We are ashamed of the injustices that are perpetrated in our country, every day, against people of color; and of the reality that 155 years after Cornell was founded to help heal the wounds of a broken nation, that nation is, in many ways, still so badly broken.

The extraordinary times in which we are living are shining a spotlight on so many issues of equity, and the lack of it: on the ways that rights and opportunity are unevenly distributed across our society, and the worth of our labor and our lives unequally valued. As an academic community built on the bedrock values of diversity, inclusion, and openness, we have an obligation to ensure that the forces of these events and our feelings drive us not backward, but forward. Over these past days, the words that have resonated with me the most, as I have struggled with the question of how our community can best embrace our collective challenge, are those of the Rev. William J. Barber II, spoken to an empty church in Goldsboro, North Carolina, this past Sunday: “We cannot try to hurry up and put the screams and the tears and the hurt back in the bottle, just to get back to some normal that was abnormal in the first place. Hear the screams. Feel the tears. The very people who have been rejected over and over again are the ones who have shown us the possibility of a more perfect nation.”

Words are important. Words matter. But our words – of sympathy, of support, of shared pain – are not enough. While the challenges are enormous, and we cannot fix them on our own, that does not absolve us from taking whatever steps we can to fight against systemic racism and structural inequality. As a community, we can and must act, through our teaching, our research, and our engagement, to stand up for those who are oppressed or marginalized, to educate ourselves and others, and to work to ensure that we – our entire society – do better.

Here are some of the things that Cornell will do immediately:

Strengthen Community Involvement in Public Safety
Cornell’s Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) is composed of students, staff, and faculty members who advise Cornell University Police on issues of public safety and victims’ advocacy. The committee, which last met in April, makes recommendations to improve campus security policies and procedures and reviews issues that affect the overall safety and well-being of Cornell’s diverse community. I have asked the PSAC to redouble their efforts to engage our community, with a specific focus on procedures and training in the areas of use of force, de-escalation techniques, and cultural competency.

Summit with Regional Law Enforcement Agencies
In addition to the work of the PSAC, the university administration has convened discussions in recent years with representatives of regional law enforcement agencies, including Cornell University Police, the Ithaca Police Department, the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office, and the New York State Police. These conversations have touched on shared interests, with a focus on understanding and sharing best practices around law enforcement interactions with communities of color. We will organize another session as soon as possible and include student, staff, and faculty representatives in this important, ongoing conversation.

Community Conversations on Race and Racism
Using the community chat framework, the Office of Human Resources will be offering 75-minute Zoom sessions on topics such as institutional racism and the context of the current protests, ways to be an ally to our black colleagues, and how to engage in proactive and meaningful dialogue around difficult topics such as racism. Details on the programs, and information on how to register, will be sent to all staff and faculty members by Vice President Mary Opperman early next week.

Campus Community Book Read
As a campus community, we have a collective responsibility to engage in difficult but critical conversations – to listen genuinely to, and learn from, one another. To help bring focus to these conversations, I invite all of you to participate in a Community Book Read of “How to Be an Antiracist,” by National Book Award winner Ibram X. Kendi. We will soon provide all students, faculty, and staff with information about how to access an electronic copy of the book, along with a schedule of virtual discussions which will take place over the summer. I hope you will choose to read the book and to join in the conversation.

Dialogue with Local Community Leaders
I will be meeting next week with a diverse group of local elected, nonprofit, business, and faith community leaders to review the events of the last few weeks and consider how we might advance town-gown initiatives to further support the needs of our friends and neighbors.

These plans are in addition to the ongoing work of the Belonging at Cornell framework that emerged from our diversity and inclusion initiatives, many of which were proposed by the President’s Task Force on Campus Climate and/or the Provost’s Task Force to Enhance Faculty Diversity. More than three-quarters of the goals laid out by the Task Force in 2018 have now been achieved, including the creation of a mandatory Intergroup Dialogue Project experience for all new undergraduates, an improved bias reporting process, implicit bias training for all faculty search committees, and increased support from the provost for faculty hires that advance diversity.

All of this work will continue, but so much more needs to be done, at Cornell and beyond. I want to close by echoing the words of the Rev. Barber, in saying that there will be no return to “normal” from where we are right now. We are in a time of profound societal change – change that we, as a community and a society, have the power to influence and to shape. We can, and we will, rise to this challenge. Our own consciences demand it, as do our values as a community, and our ethos as Cornellians.


From: Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine

Sent: Thursday, June 18, 2020 4:30 PM

Subject: A Message from Dean Lorin Warnick to Alumni

The College of Veterinary Medicine Stands Against Racism

Dear Alumni,

Millions of people across the U.S. and around the world are speaking out in support of racial justice following the terrible murders of Black Americans vividly witnessed in recent weeks. While we are proud of our Cornell heritage of “any person, any study,” we have not always lived up to that ideal and have more work to do to correct systemic failures throughout our world that obstruct that vision.

I appreciate the years of work that dedicated college leaders, faculty, staff and many of you have done as students and alumni to improve equity in the College of Veterinary Medicine and across the profession. But as our Black students and alumni have shared with me recently, more action is needed. It is heart wrenching to hear of the challenges our students and graduates face in overcoming educational and career barriers, and the racism they experience – both overtly and covertly – during their time at Cornell and after graduation.

I am working with our Black students, faculty and alumni to identify immediate and future steps to be proactively and permanently anti-racist. The college’s Belonging at Cornell Committee is focused on numerous efforts to address inequities and create a community that supports each of our student’s and employee’s learning and development. It is critically important to me that our college fosters and plays a leading role in recruiting, welcoming, training, mentoring and sending into the profession diverse and talented alumni, prepared to serve across the country and around the world.

I am hopeful and determined that we will find ways to sustain this effort and achieve lasting changes where we have failed in the past. I invite you to join me and sincerely welcome your input.

Yours truly,

Lorin D. Warnick, D.V.M., Ph.D. '94

Austin O. Hooey Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine

From: President Martha E. Pollack

Sent: Thursday, July 16, 2020

Subject: Additional actions to create a more just and equitable Cornell

Dear Cornellians,

A little more than a month ago, I announced a set of actions to enhance our existing programs to promote racial justice. While it was important to take immediate steps in the wake of the racialized violence in our nation, we realize that there is much more to do.

I have heard from many of you over these past weeks, sharing ideas, advocating for change, and offering opinions on ways to counter systemic racism. It is clear that we must think and act holistically to change structures and systems that inherently privilege some more than others. We have not arrived recently at this place in history. Real change will require substantial effort and long-term, ongoing commitment.

I want to publicly acknowledge the advocacy and efforts of so many of our students who continue to champion a more just future for Cornell and for our society. Specifically, #DoBetterCornell has exerted great effort and mobilized broad interest in many important initiatives. Some of the appeals by that movement will be reflected in my announcement today, and a more detailed response will be sent directly to the organizers. I also appreciate those who have engaged on social media platforms to share their stories – often painful – of being Black at Cornell and in the Ivy League. Everyone should read these narratives and think carefully about the role we all must play in building a just, anti-racist world. Students, staff and faculty have long advocated and spoken out about racism and injustice, many prior to my arrival at Cornell, and it is important to acknowledge their work as well.

At the core of our institution lies our primary mission to provide the exceptional education, cutting-edge research and public engagement to shape our world for generations to come, and we must embed anti-racism across these activities. Our world-class faculty play the critical role in defining and advancing our academic mission. Several of the initiatives proposed by our students are the responsibility of our faculty, and, as such, I have asked the Faculty Senate to take the following up as soon as possible:

The creation and implementation of a for-credit, educational requirement on racism, bias and equity for all Cornell students.

A systematic review of the curriculum in each of our colleges and schools to ensure that courses reflect, represent and include the contributions of all people. Several colleges/schools and departments already have this work underway.

Amplification of Cornell’s existing scholarship on anti-racism, through the creation of an Anti-Racism Center that further strengthens our research and education on systems and structures that perpetuate racism and inequality, and on policies and interventions that break that cycle. Cornell already has outstanding academic units and faculty that address these critical issues, including: the Africana Studies and Research Center; the American Indian and Indigenous Studies program (AIISP); Latina/o Studies, Asian American Studies, as well as programs within American, Jewish, Near Eastern, and Feminist Gender and Sexuality studies, and centers such as the Center for the Study of Inequality, the Cornell Center for Health Equity, the Program in Ethics and Public Life and the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability, as well as others that are not listed but contribute valuable scholarship. Our vision is to ensure that we are a national leader in this critical area.

Development of a new set of programs focusing on the history of race, racism and colonialism in the United States, designed to ensure understanding of how inherited social and historical forces have shaped our society today, and how they affect interactions inside and outside of our classrooms, laboratories and studios. All faculty would be expected to participate in this programming and follow-on discussions in their departments. The programs would complement our existing anti-bias programs for faculty, such as those from the Office of Faculty Development and Diversity, the Cornell Interactive Theatre Ensemble, Intergroup Dialogue Programs for Faculty, and the Faculty Institute for Diversity.

In collaboration with the Faculty Senate, we will also:

Launch an institution-wide, themed semester, during which our campus community will focus on issues of racism in the U.S. through relevant readings and discussions. In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, we will consider the best semester to launch this initiative.

To hold ourselves accountable to these holistic undertakings, I have asked Professor Avery August, vice provost for academic affairs and chair of the Presidential Advisors for Diversity and Equity, to join my senior leadership team on a permanent basis, and to participate as a full member of the team in all meetings and deliberations. Dr. August already plays a critical role in all aspects of our academic programs, including promoting faculty diversity, and he will now be instrumental in helping us to ensure that we continually keep anti-racism front of mind as we set the future course for the university more broadly.

Another set of important initiatives that have been raised by many in our community concern methods of policing. Although I feel strongly that the Cornell University Police Department (CUPD) is committed to anti-racist policing and is a leader in supporting our diverse community, I recognize the effect that repeated examples of police violence in our nation have on our communities of color. It is therefore critical that we are even more transparent and committed to demonstrating our continued leadership in just and equitable law enforcement. I previously announced my intent to strengthen the Public Safety Advisory Board (PSAB) that provides recommendations to CUPD on its policies, procedures and training and will now take these additional steps:

Effective immediately, the PSAB will be elevated and report directly to Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Joanne DeStefano to ensure accountability for the implementation of PSAB recommendations and new initiatives; and

Vice President for Facilities and Campus Services Rick Burgess, Vice President for Student and Campus Life Ryan Lombardi, and CUPD Chief David Honan will work together to create and implement a new community response team. This team will support our residential life staff and become the first responders to reports of noncriminal offenses and nonviolent incidents that occur in our residential communities. Similarly, this team will monitor campus events, both formal and informal, to promote safety and well-being, and to monitor the application of university policy, allowing CUPD to focus on unlawful activity.

Finally, we recognize that staff are the lifeblood of Cornell, enabling us to deliver on our educational, research and engagement mission. The support that our staff provides is what makes learning possible. We must therefore enhance the commitment that we make to recruiting and retaining an exceptional staff that reflects the diversity of our students. Specific steps we will take are as follows:

Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Mary Opperman will create new professional development programs with a focus on staff of color, including leadership development, mentorship, and pipeline and succession programs, to help diverse staff advance into key institutional leadership roles;

We will make work on diversity, equity and inclusion part of the performance dialogue process at Cornell;

All staff will be required to complete a series, being developed in partnership with eCornell, focused on equity and cultural competency that will become available beginning this September;

The Inclusive Excellence Network of programs will continue, including the Summit, the Academy and the Podcasts; and

Juneteenth will become a permanent university holiday.

All of these new initiatives are significant and will take substantial effort and time to complete, but their implementation will be a top priority.

Cornell’s resolve to be a more inclusive and equitable community is not new. Shortly after I arrived in 2017, and after painful incidents of racism and violence, we launched a comprehensive and inclusive process that identified 60 initiatives for implementation. To date, we have fully achieved 77% (46) of those priorities deemed most critical by our community, with many others partly achieved. I am proud of this progress and effort but recognize that the work must continue with the additional initiatives announced today. All of these institutional initiatives will complement and enhance those under development and already announced by our colleges and schools, a few examples of which include:

This coming year, the Society for the Humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences will center its theme on “Rural Black Lives,” which will focus on local history tied to the Underground Railroad;

The College of Arts and Sciences will increase funding for its Summer Experience Grants program which provides support for A&S students who take up unpaid or low-paid internships, with priority for underrepresented, first-generation and low-income students, with a view to promoting equity;

The Cornell SC Johnson College of Business has committed to redoubling its efforts to increase the racial diversity of undergraduate and graduate programs, guest speakers, and panelists, and recruit and retain more staff and faculty of color;

The College of Architecture, Art and Planning will work with students and alumni to develop a position of diversity and equity officer and an Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the college. This person will enhance recruitment, retention and support of Black and other minoritized students; and

Weill Cornell Medicine, after extensive engagement with its academic community, has taken a set of immediate actions to combat racism and ensure greater fairness, equity and belonging for students, trainees, faculty and staff. A new Office of Institutional Equity was created to oversee programs and initiatives that advance equity at WCM, such as conducting anti-bias and anti-harassment training; ensuring equitable hiring, promotion and pay practices; and establishing a consistent framework for investigations of discrimination, harassment and bias.

The commitment to real change is the responsibility of all of us, particularly those of us in majority communities. It is our responsibility to read, reflect, learn, listen and then change the system that has disadvantaged our Black, Indigenous and other colleagues, students and friends of color for centuries. This will be a continuous journey, and I implore every member of the Cornell community to look deep within yourself and take active, regular and courageous steps to help create new systems and structures that move us toward a more just and equitable Cornell – and that will become part of our contribution to a different, more just and more equitable world.

With gratitude and in solidarity,


From: Amelia Alverson

Date: Tue, Jun 2, 2020 at 4:33 PM

Subject: President Bollinger on Recent Events

To All Members of the Columbia Alumni Community,

I truly hope this message finds you safe and well. I am more grateful than ever for our alumni community, and wanted to share this message sent on Monday morning by President Bollinger in response to the horrific events of the past week.


Amelia J. Alverson | Executive Vice President for University Development and Alumni Relations

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

I am writing in both a personal and an institutional capacity. Like everyone, I have been reflecting on the events of the last week with an increasing sense of anguish at the human suffering we are witnessing and of alarm at the national crisis we are facing in our political system.

Until last Friday, I did not think it was possible for me to forget even for a moment that we are in the midst of an historic pandemic, bringing untold human loss and crossing a numerical threshold of unimaginable proportions. But the horrifying ending of the life of George Floyd, a citizen in the very system of justice intended to protect him, and us, which then, along with other recent tragic deaths, drew back the curtains on centuries of invidious discrimination against African Americans, and others, did that. My hopes for a renewed sense of national purpose to continue the heroic efforts of so many, over so many generations, to change once and for all that terrible course of history have been raised, and then deflated. We are at a point in our history where political leadership is not only absent but also disturbingly confounding of the fundamental norms and values that take years and years of hard and determined work to develop—and yet are always so fragile when pitted against the worst instincts of human nature. My concerns here are not partisan, but basic to our culture.

Like so many others here, I have chosen to dedicate my life to sustaining and building academic institutions, and my beloved Columbia, specifically. There is no question that the expectations of intellectual character we choose to live by in the academic world are extreme, and we cannot reasonably expect them to set the bar for ordinary political deliberations and interactions. But what we are seeing today—which unfortunately included just in the last week an unfounded attack on our research and researchers, as well as on the University itself—is at the opposite end of the spectrum. If this were a single incident, that would be one thing, but in the current way of behaving, these become acts of intimidation and dangerous mischaracterization of expertise, one of the hallmarks of a descent into authoritarianism.

In the face of all this, it is only a start to express empathy and solidarity with those in our community who are experiencing loss and apprehension. But I certainly do so here, on behalf of all of us. Universities are not perfect and we have to accept our share of responsibility for the state of affairs we have today. But we are determined, even more so now, to change and to be better. More than anything we will continue to provide the society and the world with all the knowledge we can preserve and create and with a new generation of citizens and leaders who are prepared to live by, and fight for, the values of respect for reason, the love of ideas, and the wish to use these to care for others.


Lee C. Bollinger

From: Lisa Rosen-Metsch '90GS

Sent: Friday, June 12, 2020 4:06 PM

Subject: In Community and Solidarity

Dear GS Community,

I write to share the three messages below that were recently sent to all GS students by President Bollinger, myself and the other undergraduate deans, and our Dean of Students Marlyn Delva and Dean of the Postbac Premed Program James Colgrove regarding the terrible events of the past several weeks.

The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade have refocused our attention on the injustice faced by Black people in our country. For too many, systemic racism, anti-Black violence, and police brutality are an unjust reality. The massive and global protests over the past two weeks demanding justice and racial equity are an inspiration and beacon in the work that is required to transform our society and the way it allocates justice, power, and opportunity. We are committed to working together as a community toward a more just society—a central priority of my deanship and one that is at the core of our School’s identity.

GS, from its very founding, has challenged the status quo. Throughout our School’s history, we have fought to expand access to the Columbia classroom—and the benefits that come with that access—to a more diverse and representative group of students. In doing so, we are not only providing opportunities for those students to improve their lives and effect change globally, we are also broadening the scope of the conversations on our campus and the perspectives and experiences represented therein. As a School, we are committed to continuing to fight against anti-black racism and to evaluating ways we can improve ourselves to do so. We will also continue our efforts to increase our number of Black students and students from our local communities to improve our diversity and so that their stories and experiences continue to enhance the discussions in Columbia classrooms.

We are all, as a community, in this fight together, and I assure you that the Columbia University School of General Studies is fully committed to doing the difficult work that is required.

In community and solidarity,

Lisa Rosen-Metsch

Dean, Columbia University School of General Studies

Professor of Sociomedical Sciences

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

I am writing in both a personal and an institutional capacity. Like everyone, I have been reflecting on the events of the last week with an increasing sense of anguish at the human suffering we are witnessing and of alarm at the national crisis we are facing in our political system.

Until last Friday [May 29], I did not think it was possible for me to forget even for a moment that we are in the midst of an historic pandemic, bringing untold human loss and crossing a numerical threshold of unimaginable proportions. But the horrifying ending of the life of George Floyd, a citizen in the very system of justice intended to protect him, and us, which then, along with other recent tragic deaths, drew back the curtains on centuries of invidious discrimination against African Americans, and others, did that. My hopes for a renewed sense of national purpose to continue the heroic efforts of so many, over so many generations, to change once and for all that terrible course of history have been raised, and then deflated. We are at a point in our history where political leadership is not only absent but also disturbingly confounding of the fundamental norms and values that take years and years of hard and determined work to develop—and yet are always so fragile when pitted against the worst instincts of human nature. My concerns here are not partisan, but basic to our culture.

Like so many others here, I have chosen to dedicate my life to sustaining and building academic institutions, and my beloved Columbia, specifically. There is no question that the expectations of intellectual character we choose to live by in the academic world are extreme, and we cannot reasonably expect them to set the bar for ordinary political deliberations and interactions. But what we are seeing today—which unfortunately included just in the last week an unfounded attack on our research and researchers, as well as on the University itself—is at the opposite end of the spectrum. If this were a single incident, that would be one thing, but in the current way of behaving, these become acts of intimidation and dangerous mischaracterization of expertise, one of the hallmarks of a descent into authoritarianism.

In the face of all this, it is only a start to express empathy and solidarity with those in our community who are experiencing loss and apprehension. But I certainly do so here, on behalf of all of us. Universities are not perfect and we have to accept our share of responsibility for the state of affairs we have today. But we are determined, even more so now, to change and to be better. More than anything we will continue to provide the society and the world with all the knowledge we can preserve and create and with a new generation of citizens and leaders who are prepared to live by, and fight for, the values of respect for reason, the love of ideas, and the wish to use these to care for others.


Lee C. Bollinger

Columbia Undergraduates,

We write to you, with heavy hearts, to address the tragedy and unrest we have all witnessed over the last week. Just as our nation was anticipating the next phase of an unprecedented pandemic, the brutal killing of George Floyd, along with the recent killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and others, forcefully reminded us of the pervasive racial injustice and lack of respect for Black Americans in this country.

This tragic moment has united citizens across the U.S. and around the world in anger, heartbreak, frustration and unity to protest yet another assault by members of the police on the Black community. We extend our deepest care and concern to each of you, and in particular to our Black students who we know are experiencing a profound sense of pain, despair and outrage at the acts of anti-Black racism and violence that continue to plague our country.

For all of us, the choice to be at Columbia is also a choice to be a member of a diverse campus environment located in the largest city in the country. It is also a choice to participate in an institution that is rigorous about learning, inquiry and the pursuit of knowledge. While we often hear about new knowledge at the frontiers of science and medicine, we also know that much of what our students explore is knowledge of the self and of humanity.

Through the national dialogue and protest taking place now, there is an opportunity for all of us to step back from our assumptions, reflect on our values and then commit to actions that will steer us towards greater support for one another and the collective creation of a more just world. What we witnessed last week in the death of George Floyd was the most extreme form of racism, but the insidiousness of racism and bias is the unintentional forms that show up in daily life.

When communities come together, it is so that each member can contribute the best of themselves to make the community stronger. For that to happen, each must also be valued, respected and cherished as an individual. While we have always believed this, this moment calls for an explicit expression of our belief that Black lives matter, not only to us but to our entire community.

We encourage you to reach out for any support you may need. Although words are powerful, we understand that now is a time for action. We are committed to our schools and communities being forces for change in the fight against systemic racism. We welcome your thoughts and encourage you to also find opportunities to participate in this movement by educating yourself on Black history and anti-racism, volunteering in local efforts to combat racism, joining peaceful demonstrations in your community and voting in upcoming elections.

In community and solidarity,

Mary C. Boyce

Dean of The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science

Lisa Rosen-Metsch

Dean of the School of General Studies

James J. Valentini

Dean of Columbia College and

Vice President for Undergraduate Education

Dear GS Students,

We have been at a loss for words as we bear witness to the murderous acts against George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and the countless Black people in our country who experience police brutality, systemic racism, and anti-Black violence. The mass uprisings of the past two weeks and the extraordinary mobilization of Black Lives Matter, the Movement for Black Lives, and allied movements for racial equity and justice lead us in the work that must be done to transform and radically realign power and opportunity. We write today with information and updates about resources for the Columbia GS student community to both manage the distress related to current events and to channel your energy into lasting social and political change.

We want to reaffirm the message sent last week by Deans Rosen-Metsch, Boyce, and Valentini, the messages from our student leaders, and to underscore our continued support for the community. We encourage all members of the GS community to commit to dismantling the structures of systemic racism in our city, state, country, and world and to get involved in ways that are meaningful to you individually. We know that this work is difficult and it is especially important to find balance and to allow space for healing and self care. Specifically to our students who do not identify as Black, we encourage you to join in solidarity with the Black community and continue to practice allyship in your daily lives, in the classroom, on campus, in your communities, and at home.

Below are some of the ways that our offices plan to continue the work of addressing these issues as well as offer support to the GS community during the summer months and into the fall semester:

  • GS Student Life will be offering an array of social justice education and multicultural programs, including:
    • Wrkshops and conversations focused on bias, non-performative allyship, systems of oppression, and coping with race-based trauma
    • Regularly ccurring Students of Color Community Connection spaces
    • Mvie and documentary discussions on racial and social justice (including 13th, He Named Me Malala, and American Son)
    • LGBTQ cmmunity spaces, trainings, and conversations
    • Self-care and wellness prgrams and discussions
    • Scial justice book discussions (including Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates)
  • For leaders in a student organization on campus, GS Student Life advisors are here to work with you and your group to support your work around social and racial justice on campus and in our community.
  • CPS also offers a Virtual Support Space for Black Students, Thursdays at 4 p.m. EDT. Email Dr. Addette Williams at [email protected] or Dr. Keoshia Worthy at [email protected] with "Space for Black Students" in the subject line to get the link to join.
  • University Life will host two important gatherings in June about race, injustice, and efforts to achieve transformative change:
    • A University Life Frum: Black Lives Matter, Protest and Creating Change, this Thursday, June 11 from 4 - 5:30 p.m. EDT
    • A special virtual summer sessin of the Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging at Columbia on Wednesday, June 17 at 2 p.m. EDT
  • As always, your Academic Advisor and the Academic Resource Center team members are available to meet with you as needed.
  • GS is committed to creating new programs and support, as well as updating existing programs to combat racism and fight systems of oppression. We will be sharing these updates as they are available.

Know that we stand with you in our fight against injustice and will look to connect with you to discuss ways we can work together in dismantling the racism that exists in our society. With any thoughts and ideas please reach out to us.

In solidarity and community,

Marlyn Delva, Dean of Students

James Colgrove, Dean of the Postbac Premed Program

Sean Trulby, Associate Dean of Student Life

And the Entire GS Dean of Students Office, Postbac Premed Office, & Student Life Office

From: Lee C. Bollinger
Date: Tue, Jul 21, 2020
Subject: Columbia’s Commitment to Antiracism

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

Ever since the killing of George Floyd, the nation and the world have been moved to a heightened state of consciousness about the destructiveness of racism, and of anti-Black racism specifically. No matter how committed one has been to challenging these deep injustices and providing remedies, whether as a person, an institution, or a society, we are all rightly being called upon to do more and to begin again, with a great sense of honesty and new purpose. I am committed to that task, but, more importantly, Columbia is committed to it. Columbia is an old institution by the standards of the United States, and it has its share of shameful periods and moments of great progress. I hope we can collectively add to the latter. Across the University, there are many people reflecting on what can be done.

Scholarship on race and racism has long been deeply embedded across the University. The Institute for Research in African-American Studies and the African American and African Diaspora Studies Department represent important centers of research, scholarship, and the University’s commitment to doing battle with racism. But this aspiration cannot be limited to these sites. It also must include faculty and students working in many subjects in many fields. Over time I expect the extraordinary creativity of the University will manifest itself in this effort. I and others will be writing, speaking, and meeting as we continue this process. For now, here are several actions of note:

  • The University will immediately accelerate our program focused on the recruitment, the retention, and the success of Black, Latinx, and other underrepresented faculty members as part of our longstanding and ongoing commitment to faculty diversity. This will include (1) new support for faculty cluster hires in two areas: STEM and scholarship addressing race and racism, (2) the hiring of health sciences faculty whose work focuses on the reduction of health care disparities in communities of color, and (3) University-wide recognition for faculty service in support of diversity and inclusion.
  • For our students, inclusive teaching and learning environments are the very core of our mission. By design, learning, teaching, and research take place in and across our sixteen schools and our many institutes. Our deans are deeply committed to addressing issues of anti-Black racism and each has an active agenda of antiracist work, both longstanding and new, related to curriculum and pedagogy. They have also formed committees, created positions, mounted training programs, and directed financial resources as part of their agendas. Each school will share public updates on this essential work.
  • A few years ago, I worked with Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor Emeritus of History, to launch an effort to uncover Columbia’s connections with slavery and with antislavery movements, from the founding of King’s College to the end of the Civil War, which has continued as the Columbia University and Slavery project. Building on this, we will soon announce a process to consider the symbols on our campus that have an association with enslavement, racial hierarchy, and other forms of systemic injustice. As part of this effort, we hope to find new ways to highlight lesser-known elements of our history, thereby enabling our community to reflect more deeply about our past as well as our future.
  • I am committed to continuing my own work in the area of diversity and affirmative action, in order to preserve the constitutionality of these educational policies in American higher education and to put them on a better intellectual foundation.

These are only a few examples of steps we are and will be taking. To ensure that we are continuing to pursue new ideas, address needs, and deepen our commitment, I have asked the following individuals in our central administration to engage our entire community: Suzanne Goldberg, Executive Vice President for University Life; Dennis Mitchell, Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement; Anne Taylor, Vice Dean of Academic Affairs, Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons; and Flores Forbes, Associate Vice President for Community Affairs. Their efforts will include making recommendations for enhancing support for students, faculty, and staff, while identifying systemic issues in our own community and solutions to address them. University Life’s website has more information on how you can get involved. They will also form a working group with the leadership of our Office of Public Safety to examine existing trainings and practices, and to recommend concrete strategies for ensuring that we can have truly inclusive safety for all who are on Columbia’s campuses.

Of course, we cannot just look within our campuses. For Columbia to be a beacon of justice and fairness, it must be an exemplary neighbor, and our engagement in our extended community must be of paramount importance. I encourage you to review our Columbia Neighbors hub to learn more about our work, past and present, in both Harlem and Washington Heights. Still, it is time to strengthen these connections in three ways: (1) growing existing successful partnerships, (2) inviting new ideas for collaboration, and (3) creating a University-wide infrastructure to reflect and support the breadth and depth of our work and to facilitate engagement with neighborhood community members. I have asked our offices of Government and Community Affairs and of University Life to work with community leaders and colleagues and students across the University to propose, later this year, a plan forward.

Columbia’s students, faculty, and staff have been engaged for many decades in study, research, and action to challenge racism, its systems, and its consequences. Because contemporary work is always strengthened by an understanding of our history, we have begun the process of creating a website so that each of us who works in this area can see more directly the continuum of which we are a part and to which we contribute. I look forward to announcing its launch.

For now, I will highlight just a few areas of major research and action that involve collaborations across the University:

  • Columbia World Projects is convening programs and experts on voter mobilization, political participation, and removing barriers of entry to voting for communities of color, including a partnership with the New York City Civic Engagement Commission, to determine how Columbia can marshall its resources to contribute to this work.
  • The Columbia Emergency Loan Fund is supporting small businesses north of 96th Street as they restock, rehire, and reconfigure their operations to resume or continue operations as New York City reopens.
  • The New Justice and Pandemic Preparedness Academy offers undergraduate students from Columbia College, SEAS, General Studies, and Barnard an opportunity to collaborate with each other and with faculty mentors on service and research projects, with a major focus on understanding and addressing the disparate impacts of COVID-19 on communities of color.
  • CUIMC, together with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, brings together community collaborative health-focused programs and Columbia students, staff, and faculty in Washington Heights, including in health care research, pipeline programs for health-related careers, and direct health care outreach to improve community health and decrease disparities in outcomes.
  • In addition to the ongoing work of our Center for Teaching and Learning, we have launched a new Mini-Institute on Addressing Anti-Black Racism designed by faculty from the Columbia School of Social Work for all Columbia faculty. To encourage additional innovation, the Office of the Provost has recently announced seed grant funding for faculty and academic units that engage with issues of structural racism. CUIMC has added new funding for work on health care disparities and social determinants of health. And, University Life offers an extensive set of racial justice resources and opportunities to engage for all in our community.

I will continue to find ways to communicate the various steps we are taking as an institution to do more. But it is important to underscore that the moment cannot be met simply by programs and initiatives—as important and vital as they are or may be. Somehow all of us together, in every way we can think of, must dedicate ourselves to living more truly to our intellectual, institutional, and constitutional ideals. There is no question that the great Civil Rights Movement is unfinished and that what is called for now is a New Civil Rights Movement, one primarily focused on the criminal justice system, housing, education, and economic inequalities. As the Black Lives Matter movement so powerfully underscores, there is still unfinished work from the past, but there are also new forms of discrimination that are taking root in society today. I have spent a significant part of my career dedicated to fostering diversity, supporting affirmative action, and ending invidious discrimination in education, and I can assure you, neither I nor Columbia intend to relent in this pursuit of the principles of equality and access to opportunity. It is my hope that we can leverage this moment and effect real change.


Lee C. Bollinger

From: Lee C. Bollinger
Date: Fri, Aug 28, 2020
Subject: Announcement Regarding Bard Hall

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

I write today to share an important change, namely that Bard Hall, the CUIMC residence hall on Haven Avenue, will be renamed.

When this dormitory opened in 1931, it was named for Samuel Bard, the founder of what is now Columbia’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. Bard was a significant physician in the 18th century, a pioneer in obstetrics and treating diphtheria, who served as George Washington’s doctor. He also owned slaves (the country’s first census in 1790 lists their number as three). We know about at least one instance, in 1776, in which he advertised, with a promised reward, for the return of a fugitive slave.

Bard Hall is a dormitory for our clinical students. We all understand how careful we need to be in shaping the environment, symbolic as well as physical, in which we ask our students to live and to call home. These are sites with the special resonance that comes from mixing the personal features of daily life with the formation of lasting friendships and a sense of community with a shared mission, together with a period of life involving extraordinary intellectual and professional growth. The change I am conveying here, however, also feels urgent not only for the individuals who have been asked to call Bard Hall home, but for the many students, staff, and faculty in the broader Columbia community, and especially vivid at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, where the contradiction between the egalitarian health service norms they cherish and slavery's denial of full human standing is starkly blatant and offensive.

In June, I asked Interim Provost Ira Katznelson to convene a group to consider campus names and symbols associated with matters of race and racism. As they began to fashion a longer-term process to thoroughly review these matters, work that will continue as the academic year begins, the committee forwarded to me the unanimous recommendation on which I am acting.

Of course, we cannot, indeed should not, erase Samuel Bard’s contributions to the medical school. But we must not recall this history without also recognizing the reason for our decision to rename Bard Hall. As the fall term advances, I will share how we will honor this building with a name that represents our University’s values.


Lee C. Bollinger

A Message From the Dean

Paul Wahlbeck, Interim Dean, Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

June 02, 2020

Dear CCAS Community:

I am outraged and saddened by the recent senseless deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, which have once again exposed the painful reality of systemic racism within our society. The visual and viral power of social media has vividly captured a centuries-old pattern of pain and racial injustice. These images bring to mind footage from our not-so-distant past of African Americans being attacked by police dogs, billy clubs and fire hoses simply for exercising their right to protest the status quo.

As a scholar of judicial politics and civil rights and liberties, I fully appreciate the complicated and troubled history of law enforcement in our nation, especially when it comes to issues of race. This is precisely why it is so important to be a nation guided by principles of law, so discriminatory and damaging conduct will not be condoned by those entrusted with authority.

During this time of anger and pent-up frustration that is tearing through our cities, I am heartened by scenes of people coming peacefully together to condemn bigotry in all of its forms. Racism and hatred have no place in our communities or our institutions. We stand with our many African American students, colleagues, alumni and friends, and we stand for a just legal system that does not tolerate violence and oppression against anyone.

Our communities were already thrown into chaos during the COVID pandemic, which hit the African American population particularly hard, and now we find ourselves once again in the midst of anxiety and uncertainty. At Columbian College, we pledge not only to support everyone’s rights and freedom—but to listen, learn and try our best to understand the challenges before us, to foster honest conversations that bridge our divides and address deeply embedded biases. I welcome your input and ideas on how best to move forward through dialogue and meaningful action, and invite you to send those to [email protected].

In the meantime, please know that there are a number of campus resources available to you. These include resources provided by the offices of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement, Counseling and Psychological Services, Advocacy & Support, Student Affairs, Human Resources and Faculty Affairs.

All my best to each of you during this difficult time.

Paul Wahlbeck

From: CUIMC Executive Leadership <[email protected]>
Date: Thu, Jun 18, 2020 at 10:28 AM
Subject: CUIMC's Committment to Equity


Dear Colleagues,

Recognizing that we are at a critical moment in history, where longstanding and pervasive structural racism has been escalated to an epidemic of violence against Black Americans and others of color, Columbia University Irving Medical Center (Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, Mailman School of Public Health, School of Nursing, and College of Dental Medicine) recognizes the need to be a leader in developing and implementing needed solutions. There is no question that structural racism has been embedded for 400 years in our society and has shaped negative aspects of our country. There is no question that there has been and continues to be resulting harm to the health and well-being of Black Americans and other people of color. Furthermore, this structural racism harms the fabric of our national cohesion, both present and future. While CUIMC has been dedicated to building a fully diverse and inclusive community, there is a need to intensify commitments and accelerate transformation in the face of this epidemic.

Recent statements by Dean Lee Goldman and vigils on June 8 and separately on June 10 are intended to catalyze a process of honest recognition of the dimensions and costs of structural racism with solutions that result in substantive and enduring change. We are simultaneously committed to identifying and accomplishing the transformative actions needed to move purposefully to become an organization that is truly antiracist, diverse, multicultural, and fully inclusive. These actions will involve all of our constituencies, with implementation beginning this summer and building and sustaining over time. We seek to build a model of restorative justice and true inclusion that our faculty, students, staff, and other members of our community can proudly build from, whether they stay at Columbia or go elsewhere in the world.

To begin this process, members of Columbia University Irving Medical Center will be convened by the four deans into broadly representative working groups that will be established in the next two weeks, building upon what we have done to date. Their charge will be to review the current status and recommend needed changes in our communications and culture especially in, recruitment and support of our faculty, staff, and community; curricular content; student, faculty, and staff diversity and success; community partnership programs; research in health disparities, social injustice, and racism; and clinical programs.

Details will follow and we will ensure that this process will move forward rapidly. Please be assured that the leadership of all four CUIMC schools is highly committed to this work and to being fully diverse, inclusive, and antiracist institutions in which all will thrive. Let us use the Columbia University Juneteenth holiday as a time of reflection and resolve to begin a new chapter.

Dean Lee Goldman

Interim Dean Designate Anil Rustgi

Dean Linda Fried

Dean Christian Stohler

Dean Lorraine Frazier

Dear Dartmouth alumni,

As Dartmouth senior leaders, we want to express our strong support for the growing movement across the nation to put an end to systemic and systematic racism demonstrated so tragically by the recent killings of Black people at the hands of the police. We are outraged by these acts of violence, and we are inspired by the diversity of races, backgrounds, and the full spectrum of generations engaged in protesting in cities and towns across this land. We join with them to say that Black Lives Matter, and that racial injustice must end.

We recognize that outrage, and even inspiration will not be enough. If we want to see change in the nation, and at Dartmouth, we must act as well as speak. We know there are no easy solutions to eradicate the oppression and racism Black and other students, faculty, and staff of color experience on our campus and all across our country. Today we rededicate ourselves toward this urgent and overdue goal.

We know that many of you are mobilizing in effective ways to challenge persistent racial injustice and to fight racism. We stand with you, we support you, and today we are renewing our institutional commitment to meaningful and long-lasting change through the following actions:

  • We believe deeply in the centrality of our mission in the context of today's struggle. We are committed to educating the most promising students and preparing them for a lifetime of learning and responsible leadership. And in so doing we will take advantage of our strong liberal arts core and the unique constellation of graduate and professional schools to develop leaders who are committed to addressing the world's challenges, including the creation of more just and civil societies. We strongly support the ongoing faculty-led efforts to expand curricular offerings at all of Dartmouth's schools in the areas of racial injustice, systemic racism, and institutionalized inequality. The deans among us look forward to the opportunity to consider and ultimately act on what the faculties propose to expand the curriculum in this important way.
  • We will elevate the next leader of the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity (IDE) to vice president and chief diversity officer, reporting directly to President Philip J. Hanlon, and becoming part of his senior leadership group. A national search, with support from an external search firm and opportunities for community input, will begin by September.
  • We will continue the initiatives launched as part of Inclusive Excellence (https://inclusive.dartmouth.edu/) including funding for recruitment and retention of faculty and staff of color. Furthermore, we will increase funding for Employee Resource Networks (ERN), affinity groups of faculty and staff families in the Upper Valley that are a proven way to strengthen recruitment and retention.
  • We will make implicit bias training mandatory for all students, faculty, and staff. In addition, the board of trustees has committed itself to participating in the training.
  • We recognize the toll systematic racism takes on Black students and all students of color and will provide greater access to therapists of color and ensure that providers have working knowledge of race-based trauma and how to address it.
  • We will institute more comprehensive exit interviews with departing faculty and staff of color to identify common themes, and we will begin an enhanced retention plan that will include interviews with faculty and staff of color to provide support and identify issues early.
  • We will review and update as necessary training and policies for Dartmouth's Department of Safety and Security to ensure empathetic, equitable, and just standard operating procedures.
  • We will identify and review any and all existing reports relevant to our commitment to improve diversity and inclusivity and ensure that our future actions reflect the insights and contributions of previous working groups and task forces, recognizing that people of color have borne the brunt of educating and informing others about the harmful and destructive impacts of racial inequality.

These commitments are just a start, and we expect to be held accountable for the actions to which we are committing ourselves. We know that there is more to be done to make our community, and the larger society, a civil and just place. We should not expect our colleagues of color—who for too long have shouldered the hard work—to lead this alone. We expect our entire community to join us in the vital work that lies ahead.

We are up to the challenge. We know you are as well.


The Dartmouth Board of Trustees, President Philip J. Hanlon ’77 and his senior leadership group

From: Quillen, Carol
Date: Sunday, May 31, 2020 at 5:06 PM
Subject: Reaching out

Davidson Friends,

These are painful times. In some ways, with a global pandemic, they are unlike anything we’ve seen in our lives. And at the same time the deadly violence against black people is painfully familiar. It keeps happening. Black people killed by the police, as was George Floyd, or black people killed by those who use the system to escape accountability, as did the killer of Trayvon Martin.

I share your grief. All of this is so much to handle. I care about you all. I hope you can find moments of respite even in these days. Please reach out if I can help you.

Systemic racism obviously affects different people differently. White people like me can and must study systemic racism. We must learn about it, call it out and work in a sustained way to dismantle it. White people like me do not, day after day, experience it. It is a headwind that we white people will never face because we ride with that wind at our backs. Day after day, I jog, shop, drive, enter my own house, and answer my own door without fear.

To my black, indigenous and people of color colleagues, I respect you, I value you and I’m grateful for all you do. I will actively work to keep these issues front and center for everyone. Racism is my problem. I commit to educating myself, to listening and to working to dismantle the structures and practices that sustain it.

Davidson as community strives to honor the dignity of each human being. We commit ourselves to the quest for truth and we seek to lead lives of leadership and service. These values compel us, as individuals and as a community, to understand and to fight against all manifestations of racism so that, together, we can build a more just and humane world.

Please take good care,


From: Davidson College President
Date: Monday, June 15, 2020 at 4:58 PM
Subject: Note from Brandon Harris and Carol Quillen

Members of the Davidson Community,

What happened in Minneapolis on May 25th was a tragedy. Once again, racist action resulted in the death of an African American. Words alone can’t end racism, but through listening to each other’s words we can strengthen our collective resolve to building a genuinely just community. Brandon suggested that he and Carol share perspectives on George Floyd’s murder and then identify a few immediate steps to take together on the long road ahead. Carol thanks Brandon, most of these words are his. We hope this note inspires similar conversations and commitments within the Davidson community.

Brandon’s Perspective: As a young black male, the killing of George Floyd has been extremely difficult to process. Seeing the video of the killing was another reminder that my well-being is under constant threat by a system that wasn’t built to look out for people like me. The incident also triggered personal flashbacks of racism that I have had to overcome at Davidson and beyond. To give an example, often in academic spaces, I unfortunately get the feeling that I have to be aware of how I present myself in order to minimize judgements that professors and classmates may make about African Americans. I have to be aware of my haircut, whether or not I have my earrings in, make sure I have a belt, etc. The unconscious bias of others is why I feel the need to be aware of these attributes. I hope that the Davidson community can begin to address and overcome these biases because they make the college experience for people of color more difficult than it should be.

Carol’s Perspective: “Bad apple.” That’s how some white people see the man who murdered George Floyd. Demonizing the killer distances us “good” white people from the bad white racist. Then we “good” white people can ignore how our actions and putatively race neutral policies (in law, tax, finance, voting, pedagogy, healthcare) perpetuate racial injustice. Ignorance here is deadly. I want more white people to read Black authors. Frantz Fanon shows how ideas seemingly unrelated to race perpetuate stark racial inequities. Ida B. Wells taught me that black men have more reason to fear me, a white woman, than I do them. Alice Walker exposes “white savior” stories that deflect focus away from racist institutions and the agency of Black people. Ibram X. Kendi explains connections between everyday acts of bias and dead bodies. Breathing freely cannot depend on a belt, a haircut, or whistling Vivaldi. I am so sorry that we enable this harm to happen to members of our community. We must work to build a more just campus.

Davidson is helping to produce our world’s up-and-coming leaders. It is important that we begin to take the steps at Davidson that are necessary for effective and sustainable change. That change must involve recognition of the roots of systemic racism and the identification of action points that we can work on as a community to work towards achieving the fair treatment of all people. Towards the bottom of this statement, some action points can be found.

In order for progress to occur, we must first realize that behavior drives change. Verbal statements can be effective, but that impact is limited. Until we practice what we preach, we will not experience the progress that we want to see.

Racism exists on a wide spectrum. The presentation of racist ideology can be seen in police killings like the incident in Minneapolis, but there are also instances that are subtler that take place around us every day. These subtle incidents of racism can be hard to understand for people who do not share the victim’s experience. This is why it is important that we make a notable effort as members of the Davidson community to understand and support our peers in overcoming the challenges that they face.

If there’s something in our daily lives that’s not working for us, we usually dig deep to find the root of the issue. In addition to looking out for our personal well-being, it is important that we have this same response when we encounter communal issues. It is very clear that there are parts of our community experiencing tremendous pain as a result of systemic racism. If we are to resolve that pain, we must take the time to understand and work against discrimination as a team, no matter how uncomfortable it may be.

Some things that have recently been done:

    • Davidson Campus Police have long abided by the “8 Can’t Wait” policies recommended by Campaign Zero.
    • A Mellon-funded initiative called “Stories Yet to be Told: Race, Racism and Accountability on Campus” is calling for proposals from students and faculty.
    • Davidson has initiated a fundraising campaign to support anti-racist initiatives across the college.
    • Dr. Hilary Green, a historian who focuses on African American history and commemoration and who is the creator of the Hallowed Grounds Project (University of Alabama) will be in residence at Davidson in 2020-21 as the Vann Visiting Professor of Ethics and Society.
    • The Africana Studies and English departments will recruit a tenure-track professor this year to start in 2021-22.

Here are our immediate shared action items:

    • We will institute a reading club that is open to all members of the Davidson community (Students, Faculty, Staff, Alumni, and Families) starting next month.
    • We will expand opportunities for experiential learning at Davidson.
    • We will expand inter-race conversation on campus and start a dinner gathering when that is possible.
    • We will seek out stories from BIPOC alums in connection with the “Stories Yet to be Told” anti-racism project.

In addition to these shared action items, we will each work in our respective roles to address concerns, ideas and frustrations that community members are sharing through email, calls and social media. More on that soon. We are grateful for your help and efforts to make Davidson a better place.


Brandon Harris

President, Davidson College Student Government Association

Carol Quillen

President, Davidson College

Faculty Statement on Systemic Racism and Injustice

A majority of faculty members of Davidson College issue the following statement in response to systemic racism and injustice.

Outraged by the killings of Black and Indigenous people and People of Color (BIPOC) at the hands of police and vigilantes and by the lack of accountability and justice that these killings highlight;

Mindful of the ways the criminal justice system systematically devalues, dehumanizes, and disposes of BIPOC lives, particularly BIPOC who identify as transgender, BIPOC with disabilities, and Black and Brown non-citizens;

Disgusted by the gratuitous violence against demonstrators in recent weeks;

But hopeful in the face of the unprecedented massive engagement of people of all walks of life against systemic injustices and police brutality,

We, the undersigned faculty members of Davidson College, issue the following statement:

  1. We stand in complete solidarity with our students, colleagues, and other Davidson community members of color who face a litany of historic systemic injustices and the heinous escalation of violence in the last two weeks;
  2. We firmly support the legitimacy and historic importance of the Black Lives Matter movement and pledge to uphold and to act in accordance with its principles of justice for BIPOC in our professional and personal lives;
  3. We recognize the right of all those on U.S. soil to protest and to engage in various acts of civil disobedience against systemic injustices and police brutality without fear of violent retaliation by local, state, or federal authorities;
  4. We therefore strongly support and pledge to join or initiate various forms of action to aid the BLM movement in its goals for an immediate end to systemic racism upheld by racist and discriminatory laws, systems, institutions, and practices, and manifested as racist discrimination and violence by public servants in the United States;
  5. We affirm that the dignity and integrity of human life are inviolable, and that their safety and preservation are always and invariably more important than the safety or preservation of any form or amount of goods or property;
  6. We absolutely and unequivocally condemn the violent response by local and state police, by the National Guard, and by any armed forces mobilized thus far or in the future to suppress a legitimate movement of their fellow citizens;
  7. We abhor and condemn as unjust, unjustified, and unwarranted the use of batons, tear gas, pepper spray, water cannons, police dogs, bullets and projectiles of any form, or any other weapons used indiscriminately and with impunity against unarmed or nonviolent protesters;
  8. We denounce as dangerous, indefensible, and illegitimate any words or actions coming from our elected or appointed officials and public servants, from political organizations, and from non-governmental organizations that — intentionally or unintentionally — foment racial, class, political, religious, generational, or regional discord, as well as their calls to suppress protests through violent retaliation under the guise of protecting property;
  9. We ask that Davidson College require and implement intensive and ongoing anti-racism training for all students, faculty, staff, and campus police after input from and consultation with BIPOC and diversity leaders on campus;
  10. We ask that Davidson College investigate all accounts of racial profiling by Davidson College Campus Police, and that it take immediate and appropriate action to discipline those found responsible for racial profiling;
  11. We recognize that the Davidson BIPOC community has long raised their voices in denouncing racism. We, the undersigned faculty, pledge to amplify their calls, and demand that the administration no longer make rhetorical gestures of inclusion, but rather take action on transforming the institution toward its stated values;
  12. We also recognize that the onus for educating White people about the effects of racialization and racism on the lives of BIPOC does not fall on BIPOC, but on those who benefit from the privileges that whiteness confers;
  13. We further recognize that as faculty whose primary role is to educate, it falls on us as a collective to name injustice when we see it, to amplify the voices of those who are not being heard, to reflect critically on our own privileges and positions of power, and to engage with the academic and activist work of social justice and anti-racism;
  14. We therefore pledge ourselves as faculty to learn and practice inclusive pedagogy, design inclusive syllabi, and ensure that our pedagogical and research agendas actively consider justice and fairness wherever applicable, and actively expose and resist white supremacy, racism and antisemitism, as well as prejudice and exclusion on the basis of gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion or belief, political affiliation, ableism, or citizenship or documentation status;
  15. We, the undersigned faculty, commit to continuing the ongoing work at Davidson College, call on others to do the same, and urge for increased participation and greater accountability. Racism and other forms of discrimination — including xenophobia, anti-Black racism, antisemitism, homophobia, sexism, and ableism — have informed in overt and subtle ways where the college is today, and continue to inform how far it has come and how far it has to go in bringing about reconciliation, healing, and a just community. Ongoing work by students, faculty, and staff that addresses the history and consequences of discrimination includes, but is not limited to The Commission on Race and Slavery, FIRST, The Davidson Microaggressions Project, Disorienting Davidson, The JEC Requirement, the Faculty of Color Caucus, the E.H. Little Library’s Anti-Racism Resource Guide, Justice, Equality, and Community Archives, and community-based projects, programs and scholarship in partnership with our communities;
  16. We call on our extensive network of Davidson College alumni to support those who are fighting for liberation through financial and material assistance, political action, refusal to uphold racist laws or to carry out racist or violent orders, and, most importantly, by joining in protest and by unrelentingly acting to expose and condemn racism in their lives and in respective communities;
  17. Confident that this statement is in agreement with the Davidson College Statement of Purpose, with its Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion, and with its principles of community, we respectfully call on the Davidson College administration and its Board of Trustees to join us in this collective statement and the actions called for herein;
  18. We request that this statement be posted prominently and in its entirety on the homepage of the Davidson College website, that it be posted and linked to permanently on all its social media accounts, and that it be emailed to students, staff, faculty, alumni, and to any other networks affiliated with Davidson College.

With an honest acknowledgment that what we are saying here means nothing if actions do not follow, and that if the actions that BIPOC are already always taking are not supported or, at the very least, amplified, we have failed or will have continued to fail;

With the knowledge that true, honest, genuine, helpful support for anti-racist work requires risk-taking, deep self-reflection, and the de-centering of whiteness (which for those of us who are White means de-centering ourselves and listening);

With the promise that what we say here and what we are signing our names to does not only live in this document and is not just a performative act of allyship;

In solidarity,

  • Daniel W. Aldridge, III, Professor of History
  • Mitch Anstey, Assistant Professor of Chemistry
  • Ike Bailey, Batten Professor of Journalism and Communication
  • Mark Barsoum, Assistant Professor of Biology and Director of the Math and Science Center
  • Rachid El Bejjani, Assistant Professor of Biology
  • Mario Belloni, Professor of Physics
  • Jonathan Berkey, Professor of History
  • Karen Bernd, Professor of Biology
  • Katherine Bersch, Assistant Professor of Political Science
  • Florin Beschea, Visiting Professor of French & Francophone Studies, Director of the Self-Instructional Languages Program
  • Aarushi Bhandari, Assistant Professor of Sociology
  • Jason Blum, Visiting Assistant Professor of Writing
  • Alison Bory, Associate Professor of Dance and Gender & Sexuality Studies
  • Maurya Boyd, Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology
  • Dan Boye, Professor of Physics
  • Patricio Boyer, Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies, Latin American Studies and Gender & Sexuality Studies
  • Anika Bratt, Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies
  • Graham Bullock, Associate Professor of Political Science and Environmental Studies
  • Sally Lawrence Bullock, Visiting Assistant Professor of Health and Human Values
  • Malcolm Campbell, Herman Brown Professor of Biology
  • Shireen Campbell, Professor of English and Director of the Writing Center
  • Besir Ceka, Associate Professor of Political Science
  • Dasha A. Chapman, Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance
  • Tim Chartier, Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Keyne Cheshire, Professor of Classics
  • Kata Chillag, Hamilton McKay Professor in Biosciences and Human Health, Health and Human Values
  • Suzanne W. Churchill, Professor of English
  • Luther Clement-Lam, Visiting Assistant Professor of Film
  • Angela Cools, Assistant Professor of Economics
  • Ann Marie Costa, Samuel E. and Mary W. Thatcher Professor of Theatre
  • Melody Crowder-Meyer, Assistant Professor of Political Science
  • Britta Crandall, Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science
  • Jacquelyn Culpepper, Artist Associate of Voice, Music
  • Scott Denham, Charles A. Dana Professor of German Studies and E. Craig Wall, Jr., Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Humanities
  • Joelle Dietrick, Assistant Professor of Art and Digital Studies
  • Vivien Dietz, Professor of History
  • Brian A. Eiler, Assistant Professor of Psychology
  • Rosalba Esparragoza, Visiting Lecturer in Hispanic Studies
  • Amanda Ewington, Professor of Russian Studies
  • Maria Fackler, Associate Professor of English and Gender & Sexuality Studies
  • Rebeca Fernandez, Associate Professor of Writing and Educational Studies
  • Brenda Flanagan, Edward Armfield Professor of English
  • Emily Frazier-Rath, Visiting Assistant Professor of German Studies
  • William Fried, Artist Associate in Piano, Music
  • Lisa Forrest, The Leland M. Park Director of the Davidson College Library
  • Jennifer Garcia Peacock, James B. Duke Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies
  • Tim Gfroerer, Professor of Physics
  • Jessica Good, Associate Professor of Psychology and Gender & Sexuality Studies
  • Melissa M. González, Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies, Latin American Studies, and Gender & Sexuality Studies
  • Annelise H. Gorensek-Benitez, Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry
  • Sharon L. Green, Professor of Theatre
  • Meghan Griffith, Professor of Philosophy
  • Shyam Gouri Suresh, Associate Professor of Economics
  • Michael Guasco, Professor of History
  • Karen Hales, Professor of Biology
  • Takiyah Harper-Shipman, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies
  • Cindy Hauser, Professor of Chemistry
  • Karli Henderson, Producer/Lecturer, Theatre
  • Burkhard Henke, Professor of German Studies
  • Laurie Heyer, John T. Kimbrough Professor of Mathematics
  • Van E. Hillard, Professor of Rhetoric and Writing
  • Sandrine Hope, Visiting Assistant Professor of French & Francophone Studies
  • Katie Horowitz, Assistant Professor of Gender & Sexuality Studies and Writing
  • Randy Ingram, Professor of English
  • Marija Jankovic, Assistant Professor of Philosophy
  • Abril Jimenez, Assistant Professor of Hispanic Studies
  • Brad Johnson, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies
  • Steve Kaliski, Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre
  • Gayle Kaufman, Nancy and Erwin Maddrey Professor of Sociology and Gender & Sexuality Studies
  • Tara Villa Keith, Associate Professor of Music
  • Hanna Key, Assistant Professor of Chemistry
  • Kyra A. Kietrys, Professor of Hispanic Studies
  • Jae Kim, Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology
  • Peter Krentz, Professor of Classics and History
  • Carole Kruger, Professor of French & Francophone Studies
  • Anthony Kuchera, Assistant Professor of Physics
  • Michelle Kuchera, Assistant Professor of Physics
  • Zoran Kuzmanovich,Professor of English
  • Rosaline Kyo, Assistant Professor of Art History and Chinese Studies
  • Maxime Lamoureux-St-Hilaire, Visiting Assistant Professor ofAnthropology
  • Cynthia Lawing, Artist Associate, Music
  • William Lawing, Estes Millner Professor of Music
  • Daniel Layman, Assistant Professor of Philosophy
  • Neil Lerner, Professor of Music
  • Cynthia Lewis, Charles A. Dana Professor of English
  • Barbara Lom, Virginia Lasater Irvin Professor of Biology
  • William Mahony, Charles A. Dana Professor of Religious Studies
  • Magdalena Maiz-Peña, William H. Williamson Professor of Hispanic Studies
  • Naila Mamoon, Assistant Professor of Health and Human Values, Director of Premedicine and Allied Health Professions Programs
  • Jane Mangan, Mary Reynolds Babcock Professor of History and Latin American Studies and Director, Center for Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Christopher R. Marsicano, Visiting Assistant Professor of Educational Studies
  • Gerardo Martí, Professor of Sociology
  • David Martin, Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies
  • Maggie McCarthy, Professor of German Studies
  • Sean McKeever, Professor of Philosophy
  • Linda McNally, Lecturer, Department of Biology
  • Ilana McQuinn, Visiting Assistant Professor of History
  • Hammurabi Mendes, Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Annie Merrill, Thomson Professor of Environmental Studies and Professor of English
  • Donna Molinek, Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Dáša Pejchar Mortensen, Assistant Professor of History
  • Kristi S. Multhaup, Vail Professor of Psychology
  • Owen Mundy, Associate Professor of the Practice of Digital Studies
  • Greta Munger, Professor of Psychology
  • Jeffrey K. Myers, Associate Professor of Chemistry
  • Jeanne M. Neumann, Professor of Classics
  • Tamara Neuman, Visiting Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies and Anthropology
  • Andrew O’Geen, Associate Professor of Political Science
  • Siobhan M. O’Keefe, Assistant Professor of Economics
  • Douglas F. Ottati, Craig Family Distinguished Professor of Reformed Theology and Justice
  • Rachel Pang, Associate Professor of Religious Studies
  • Christopher J. Paradise, Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies
  • Alan Michael Parker, Douglas Houchens Professor of English
  • Tony Pasero-O’Malley, Visiting Assistant Professor of Hispanic Studies
  • Tabitha C. Peck, Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Luis H. Peña, Professor of Hispanic Studies
  • Peter H. Penar, Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science
  • Sokrat Postoli, Assistant Professor of French & Francophone Studies
  • Jonad Pulaj, Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Megan Race, Visiting Assistant Professor of Russian Studies
  • Julio J. Ramirez, R. Stuart Dickson Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
  • Shelley Rigger, Professor of Political Science
  • Andrew Rippeon, Visiting Assistant Professor, Writing Program
  • Susan Roberts, Professor of Political Science
  • Clark G. Ross, Frontis Johnston Professor of Economics and Dean of Faculty, Emeritus
  • Phia S. Salter, Associate Professor of Psychology
  • Mark Sample, Associate Professor of Digital Studies
  • Matt Samson, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Chair of Latin American Studies
  • Samuel Sánchez y Sánchez, Professor of Hispanic Studies
  • Lola Santamaría, Visiting Instructor of Hispanic Studies
  • Sophia Dorcheva Sarafova, Associate Professor of Biology, Director of Duke-Davidson Immunology Partnership
  • Cort Savage, Professor of Art
  • Karl T. Schmidt, Postdoctoral Fellow in Psychology
  • Nina E. Serebrennikov, Professor of Art History
  • Jessica Sharp, Postdoctoral Fellow in Psychology
  • Ché L. Smith, Visiting Assistant Professor of Data Science
  • Kevin G. Smith, Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies
  • Shaw Smith, Professor of Art History
  • H. Gregory Snyder, Professor of Religious Studies
  • Nicole L. Snyder, Associate Professor of Chemistry, Assistant Dean for Research and Creative Works
  • Laura Sockol, Assistant Professor of Psychology
  • Tyler Starr, Associate Professor of Art
  • Jennifer Stasack, Professor of Music
  • Rose Stremlau, Associate Professor of History
  • Caleb Stroup, Associate Professor of Economics
  • Chuck Sturtevant, Visiting Assistant Professor of Latin American Studies
  • Lauren Stutts, Assistant Professor of Health and Human Values
  • Mark Sutch, Associate Professor of Theatre
  • Sherilyn Tamagawa, Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Yurika Tamura, Visiting Assistant Professor of Humanities and Gender & Sexuality Studies
  • Bryan Thurtle-Schmidt, Assistant Professor of Biology
  • Debbie Thurtle-Schmidt, Assistant Professor of Biology
  • Patricia Tilburg, James B. Duke Professor of History and Gender & Sexuality Studies
  • Silvana Toska, Assistant Professor of Political Science
  • Michael Toumazou,Professor of Classics, Affiliated Professor of Art
  • Anita Tripathi, Assistant Professor of Design and Technology
  • Anne Truetzel, Instructor of Classics
  • Onita Vaz, Associate Professor of English
  • Susana Wadgymar, Assistant Professor of Biology
  • Sarah Waheed, Assistant Professor of History
  • David R. Wessner, Professor of Biology
  • Monica White, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychology
  • Alexander Wiedemann, Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Bryce Wiedenbeck, Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Alice Wiemers, Assistant Professor of History
  • Angie Willis, Professor of Hispanic Studies and Latin American Studies
  • Anne Blue Wills, Professor of Religious Studies
  • Carl Yerger, Associate Professor of Mathematics
  • Joshua C. Yesnowitz, Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science
  • Yan Zhuang, Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Jane Zimmerman, John and Ruth McGee Director, Dean Rusk International Studies Program
  • And two faculty members who wished to remain Anonymous.

Structural racism and recent events

Adam Weinberg

June 1, 2020

Dear Denison Community,

We are living through a deeply painful, challenging and difficult period of history. That pain is being particularly felt by communities of color and especially by African-American communities.

We are a country where structural racism has deep roots. Over the last few months, we have seen this play itself out during the COVID crisis in so many ways. To date, over 100,000 people in the United States have died from COVID, and communities of color have disproportionately suffered both the negative health and economic impacts.

The death of George Floyd is painful. We are faced with the senseless death of an African-American. Structural and persistent racism is felt deeply, systematically and daily by African-Americans. We have been here before. Violence against black bodies is a long and disgraceful part of our history. We have been here too often and too recently. The names of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor are among the many whose deaths arise from a legacy and the persistent reality of structural racism.

Society changes when we think and act differently. I believe our nation’s college campuses are crucial to this process. We have to do more to step into this space. Our campuses need to be places where we are confronting our past, learning about the structures that shape contemporary society, and finding ways to work together to create a better future.

Fairness and equality are rooted deeply in the liberal arts and in our values as an institution. We condemn hatred and intolerance of every kind. We respect and value difference and the strength it brings to our campus and our community. I want to publicly stand with our African-American students, faculty, staff, alumni and others. In the loudest possible voice, I want to condemn the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and the many others and I want to state openly that Denison is a college that is committed to ridding society of structural racism.

In this moment, I am asking every member of our community to listen with openness, vulnerability, empathy and understanding to those who are angry. I urge us to ask ourselves the difficult questions: What are we doing to condemn prejudice and promote inclusion? What are we doing to make sure our past is not our future? How do we create a society where those with black bodies don’t have to be fearful of getting in a car or walking down the street? And I implore us to recognize we have work left to do and that Denison and Denisonians have to be part of this work. We need to commit on our campus — and indeed our nation and the world — to creating a world that is just and based on human dignity and respect.

Adam Weinberg


MAY 31, 2020

The unjust and tragic death of George Floyd, a black man, at the hands of a white police officer has once again brought to the fore the deep racial divide in this country. His death echoes with the pain of other lives lost senselessly, most recently among them Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery and Sean Reed.

As leaders of an institution that values diversity and inclusion as central to its mission, we are galvanized in our anti-racist, anti-bias, anti-hate efforts and our pledge to embrace inclusion, equity and justice.

This moment in history, marked by the inhumanity demonstrated by some, will not define all of us. We have witnessed heartfelt care and concern for each other as COVID-19 shut down our campus and the country, and that gives us hope, especially as we continue to educate the future leaders in whom we see such promise.

As we experience grief and outrage, we must think about our individual and collective responsibility to create a more just society today and tomorrow. We absolutely reject the hatred and bigotry we continue to see in this nation. Each year, DePauw holds its Day of Dialogue to address bias, hate and inequity, and we -- along with President-elect White -- intend to do so again this year, in addition to hosting, facilitating and participating in other events and efforts inclusive of all staff, faculty and students. Once our new president arrives in July, we intend to call our DePauw community together to discuss concrete ways we can use our teaching, scholarship, community outreach and other resources to be active participants in the work needed to address historic injustice in our society.

  1. the meantime, all across the country, we are witnessing demonstrations rightfully demanding an end to injustice, racism and police brutality. Each of us must decide how we respond, and we urge you to do so peacefully and compassionately, for the safety of yourselves and others.

Please know that services and resources remain available for DePauw students, staff and faculty, including Counseling Services; Spiritual Life; and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion.

Many in our DePauw community are justifiably fearful that they, or their family, friends and loved ones, could be the target of violence based solely on their identity. This fear is magnified by the anxiety we all already share about the health of our communities amid the continuing pandemic. Sharing the weight of that pain and fear through empathy, understanding and compassion, even if you are not among those most affected, is needed more urgently than ever.

Until we see all of you again, safely returned to our campus, our hearts are with you.

In solidarity,

Dave Berque, Alan Hill, Amanda Kim, Bobby Andrews, Dawna Wilson, Deedie Dowdle, Mellasenah Morris, Bob Leonard, Betsy Demmings

A Message from President Ensign

President Margee Ensign sent the following message on the recent murder of George Floyd to the Dickinson community:

Dear Dickinsonians:

The shocking murder of George Floyd has laid bare, once again, the grave injustices black and brown people daily confront in this country. Everything about that crime portrays a dehumanizing reality that people of color have been forced to endure year after year, decade after decade, century after century.

This latest case comes amid the COVID-19 crisis, which we know has disproportionately impacted communities of color. Systemic racism permeates all facets of our society and our criminal justice system, and we must step up to oppose it and work together to make the reforms necessary to ensure that this country lives up to its noble ideals of equality and justice for all.

On behalf of Dickinson College, I want to state emphatically that black lives do matter. We categorically condemn police brutality; we categorically condemn all forms of racism. We are an institution founded to educate citizen leaders, and we desperately need those leaders now more than ever.

We must find a solution. The “right words” are not enough. Dickinson has long been committed to inclusivity and community building, and we welcome your ideas.

A plaque near Allison Hall commemorates the visit of a very great American hero, Martin Luther King Jr., in 1961. King’s sermon, “The Dimensions of a Complete Life,” exhorted all present to “learn to live together as brothers, or perish as fools.”

Nearly 60 years later, that sentiment rings truer than ever. We are still at risk of perishing as fools. We have yet to learn to live together. My sincere hope is that what might begin to emerge from this tragedy and the subsequent unrest are solutions to the inequalities that still blight and shame this country, that we will all take the responsibility on our shoulders to work with one another and to pull together—to work toward the society Dr. King died to bring about.


Margee M. Ensign

Published June 1, 2020

President's Message: Black Lives Matter, 6/1/20

Dear Members of the Drew Community,

Black Lives Matter. I write today to embrace our black and brown Drew community members, and to express the love and solidarity of the Drew community in this time of pain and heartache.

Yet another unarmed or defenseless black or brown person has been killed by the police. Yet again, the killing is described as “senseless.” We grieve for George Floyd, who—like Eric Garner—was killed while begging to breathe, the single most basic of human needs. We are in anguish and despair over Mr. Floyd’s death, not because he was the victim of a “senseless” killing, but because he was killed as the result of a deliberate action, motivated by his race, at the hands of police. Our anguish and despair is very, very sadly not a new feeling.

History has repeated itself more times than we can count. As we grieve for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, we recognize all too well these feelings, because we have grieved for countless others before them. We grieve for our country and its citizens, and we watch as the people of our cities and our nation express this profound and collective sadness, suffering, and rage. With each unnecessary and violent death we cry out, each in our own way, for justice and equality, and for an end to racism in all its forms, only to find those ideals yet again beyond our nation’s grasp.

As a nation, we must not continue to define ourselves this way. As members of the Drew community we must be change leaders. We are guided by values of equality and social justice, and we have power collectively and individually. These values we learn and express at Drew are relevant, important, and urgent, and we must continue to live out these values on campus, in our hometowns, and in all of our interactions. In each and every instance, big and small, where we have the power to create change, we must act. Let those actions be guided by hope, determination, and unflagging persistence that Black Lives Matter.

In a close community like ours at Drew, we take solace in coming together, in talking with each other, and in expressing our care and concern for each other in person. That these events are once again brought to the forefront during a time of global pandemic means that we can’t be with each other in the ways we might. I urge you nevertheless to reach out to each other to express your feelings and to support each other, and to join together in prayer. You might draw inspiration from reading this personal message from Vice Provost and Dean of the Theological School Javier Viera, as I did.

At 7 p.m. this evening, Monday, June 1, Drew’s Black Student Union and Student Engagement Diversity Programs will host a forum for healing with Dr. Broderick Sawyer, a clinical psychologist who specializes in race-based stress and trauma. The forum is open to all via this Zoom link. For more information, visit Drew’s Black Student Union’s Instagram page or contact Coordinator of Residential Engagement Rachel Sawyer at [email protected].

If you are experiencing personal anxiety, emotional distress, or grief, Drew provides resources to assist, including those of our Center for Counseling and Psychological Services, the Employee Assistance Program (Call 800-311-4327; Compweb ID: GEN311), and other services.

MaryAnn Baenninger

A Personal Message from Dean Viera to the Drew Theological Community About George Floyd

Friday, May 29, 2020

Dear Drew Theological School community,

We’ve seen this all before. We’ve expressed outrage. We’ve marched. We’ve written heartfelt pleas for action and for justice. We’ve condemned police brutality, called for criminal justice reform, and demanded accountability from law enforcement officials. We’ve prayed to God, railed against God, and have agonized in our asking, “How long, O Lord, how long?” We’ve held vigil more times than we can remember. We’ve wept. We have said their names over and over again. Yet here we are again.

Vice Provost and Dean Javier Viera.

George Floyd. Yet another child of God senselessly murdered by the very people entrusted with protecting him.

George Floyd. Yet another name we add to a list that was already too long when there was only one name.

George Floyd. Yet another black man, father, son, friend, partner, artist, dreamer whose life has been cut short because of the systemic, persistent, pernicious evil of racism and anti-black bias that is pervasive in 21st century American life.

George Floyd. Yet another victim of America’s original sin, a sin so deeply engrained in the American experience and psyche precisely because it has been granted fertile soil in which to grow and flourish and even disguise itself in many forms for over 400 years.

George Floyd. Yet another life that we mourn, that we honor, and that a family has to offer to God far earlier than they ever needed to.

I’m tired of writing these messages to our community because each time I do it means that another life has been brutally taken and that there is still so much work to be done.

I’m wearied by my outrage, and by feeling powerless to confront an evil so large and so profoundly embedded in the soul of this country and its people.

I’m broken as I watch, yet again, the images from Minneapolis, Louisville, and other cities around the country, where the justified rage of so many is being expressed vividly and ardently.

I’m tortured by how events like these uniquely impact our black brothers, sisters, and siblings and how the constant cycle of violence that targets black communities and individuals perpetuates trauma and sows fear.

As a school of theology whose mission is to “…advance peace, justice, love of God, neighbor and the earth,” we have a unique responsibility to make sure the communities we serve and participate in confront the dastardly truth of the festering, flourishing, growing racism and violence that led to the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and so many others before them. It’s a truth that has to be confronted in our own community. And if we are to advance peace, justice and love in our world, we must be tireless in the fight against all that stands in the way of that peace, justice and love. In fact, our theological and spiritual tradition was forged in the crucible of this work, and it cost Jesus his life.

I have no need or desire to conclude this message by trying to impart wisdom, or give advice, or find an inspirational final plea, or to remind us of Drew Theological School’s deep commitment to anti-racism and justice work. We know that already, or should. In fact, moments like this require that we recommit ourselves to that work in our individual lives, in our school, and in our larger networks and communities.

Instead, I want to conclude by asking you to take on a very specific discipline in the coming days and weeks. Speak his name. George Floyd. Speak it when you pray. George Floyd. Speak his name with your family or friends. George Floyd. Speak his name in your church communities this Sunday. George Floyd. Invite others to pause with you to remember him, to give thanks for his life, and to keep present the suffering and pain of his family and loved ones. George Floyd. Shout his name if you join in demonstrations or protests or collective action. George Floyd! Speak his name.

George Floyd, may you Rest In Peace in the loving embrace of the Holy One. We will speak and shout your name. We will not rest until the vicious cycle of racist violence that took your life is no more. We will remember you. Your suffering and death will not be in vain.


Javier A. Viera, Vice Provost,
Dean of the Theological School and Professor of Pastoral Theology

From: University President <[email protected]>
Date: Thu, Jun 18, 2020 at 5:00 PM
Subject: Response to Collective Letter to the Administration

Dear members of the Drew community,

Thank you for your collective letter, which we received on Monday, June 15. In the Zoom meeting held June 4, as well as through email, social media, and other listening sessions, you have brought to light real and legitimate concerns and have painfully recounted the effects of racism in our community. You’ve rightly asked for accountability, leadership, and change. We hear you, and we are deeply affected by the individual and collective anguish you have experienced and have expressed. As leaders, and with our colleagues, we have fallen short of our mission to promote equality and respect in our Drew community and in our communities beyond The Forest—and we recognize that we have not done enough to foster a climate of zero tolerance for racist behavior, and have not consistently reflected on how privilege impacts our behavior. For this, we apologize to all the members of our Black community and pledge to do better.

We know, too, that this community, and particularly Black members of this community, need more than simply talk. We are committed to leading Drew in efforts toward sustainable solutions that address and eliminate racism in our community, and that allow those who are harmed by racist action to seek justice. We listened and read, and are inspired by what we are learning. Our work now is to articulate our leadership’s plans to meet the demands and imperatives you have put forth in your letter. This necessary work is extensive and will be ongoing. Some work is immediate, while other efforts will require time to take shape and build, and we will welcome the partnership and input of multiple constituencies as this work evolves. All of the changes we make, whether in the short or long term, will be better for having heard and listened to your voices. And we intend to keep listening and working together to ambitiously meet our goals.

Here now, we offer this initial response to the imperatives expressed both in the Zoom meeting of June 4 and through the collective letter, all of which we agree with in principle. Our responses are presented in the order in which they were set forth in your letter. It is our hope that we may come together around concrete actions that allow leadership to “walk the walk” in this important re-starting point for ongoing, purposeful discussions, accountability, and change.

Active Support

To learn and improve, there must be an opportunity to listen. As a community, we are better positioned to act on what we learn when those opportunities exist beyond those that are organized in the wake of a tragedy. To ensure that Drew is continuously supporting its students of color, we commit to monthly open meetings to not only discuss our progress but also to engage with each other on matters that better our community. VP Merckx will work with the student governments of all schools to set agendas, extend invitations to the student community and other administrators, and hold these monthly open meetings beginning in July 2020.


Competency and Training

You have called for required cultural competency and anti-racism training for all students and employees. University leadership is committed to a sustained, integrated, ongoing cycle of training, beyond what occurs in orientation and new-employee training programs. To start we will institute deeper training as part of those orientation experiences, beginning this year. We also plan to reinstate periodic campus climate surveys, which will allow the administration to respond to specific issues raised from these data, and to ensure that our progress is measured and that community actions are responsive to current needs. To augment and extend orientation training, we will also work to develop and implement learning opportunities in appropriate required, credit-bearing general education courses that touch all students in the CLA, and will work with Theological and Caspersen School leadership to identify the appropriate places for such learning opportunities in their curricula. This approach, and places in the curriculum where students think it makes the most sense for this kind of integration to happen, will be discussed in future monthly open meetings. The administrators responsible for follow-through of these commitments are President Baenninger, Provost Lakin, and VP Merckx.

Pan-African Studies

We are deeply committed to strengthening and reinvigorating the Pan-African Studies major and minor, and acknowledge that our students deserve an opportunity to be educated in the vast and rich Black intellectual tradition. We will take immediate steps to provide programmatic support in this area, including ensuring that courses that have historically been a part of the major and minor are offered on a regular basis. We will also coordinate the significant faculty resources and expertise that exist at Drew across all three schools to revise the program in ways that reflect students’ interests and needs, and plan to do so in partnership with new full-time faculty members who will supplement this existing expertise and contribute core courses and thought leadership to the program. In the fall, we will have conversations with current faculty members with aligned interests about the specifics of this faculty hiring. We welcome student involvement in those conversations. Provost Lakin and the school deans will be responsible for implementing both the short-term and long-term aspects of this commitment.

Reevaluation of Syllabi

You have asked that the faculty reevaluate their syllabi to ensure that Black thinkers and the experiences of Black people are not relegated to a “special topic of the week.” We agree, and have asked Provost Lakin and the academic leadership team to take on the responsibility of ensuring that this sort of work takes place across the curricula of all three schools. This will require the partnership and collaboration of the faculty as a whole, and will take time to implement as the team undertakes a thorough analysis of needs while also managing issues related to academic freedom and disciplinary distinctions and requirements. This is an intentional commitment to the kind of professional development that supports faculty in their efforts to teach their courses using inclusive pedagogy and to actively engage with students on issues of race and racism in their courses. Some of this work can be supported with internal expertise, but we can also secure outside expertise as necessary.

Student Engagement & Activities

Day-to-Day Engagement

We acknowledge and agree that key to mutual understanding of community needs is continual engagement between administrators and the student body. In order to facilitate opportunities to engage, we suggest including in our monthly open meetings a list of upcoming events at which it would be appropriate to have faculty and administrators attend. Drew is extremely fortunate to have a dedicated staff on our collaborative team who act as critical liaisons between the students whom they serve and the administrative leaders to whom they report. These vital staff members often engage with and participate in day-to-day activities due to the very nature and responsibilities of their jobs. We agree with the sentiments expressed regarding MLK Day, especially in the reflections that this past year’s program focused on the Launch communities instead of the transformative work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We will work with student leaders in monthly open meetings, along with staff and faculty, to chart a better path to honor the life and legacy of Dr. King, and how it can inform and inspire our own evolution as a community. We believe that the BSU should play a central leadership role in developing this programming.

BSU Budget

We remain committed to funding the BSU, while also recognizing a communication error that we believe led to a student leadership misunderstanding regarding budget allocations available to BSU each semester. We have put steps in place to rectify the situation. The Office of Student Engagement will work directly with the leaders of the BSU on their funding needs immediately.

Campus Speakers

  1. understand the frustration expressed regarding the belief that there is a lack of Black speakers/scholars for speaking engagements on campus. The administration, through the President’s office, has been and remains very committed to engaging a diverse group of speakers, and in particular Black and Brown speakers. We have already prioritized Black speakers with our funding organization. While we have had internationally known Black speakers in recent years, we have been disappointed that many of the invitations we’ve extended have not been accepted by the speakers, despite meeting all of their contractual booking requirements. We would be happy to share with students the names of those whom we have invited, and to include student representation among those who choose University-wide speakers. We also want to recognize the significant intellectual leadership provided by our Theological School, who regularly features Black thinkers and activists in their speaker series and events. The President regularly holds conversations with small groups of students to take speaker suggestions for both the Forum series and Commencement; we aim to formalize this process for the coming year and plan to add this to agendas of monthly open sessions. (Please note, some of these plans are impacted by state mandates about how we can operate this fall in response to the global pandemic.) We believe, however, that involvement from student leadership could possibly make a difference in recruitment efforts to bring these speakers to campus. The Provost’s Office and the Office of Student Engagement will continue to stress to departmental and club leaders the importance of considering diverse voices and extending speaking engagement offers to individuals of color as well.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Office

You have called for the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Office to be fully present for all members of the Drew community. We have started the process of a reconsideration of the structure of this office and its functions. Acknowledging that diversity, equity, and inclusion is the job of all administrators and faculty, the plan emerging for a new structure is to have two positions of leadership in this area: a senior diversity officer, working with Human Resources and the President’s Office, to focus on increasing diversity among faculty and staff, providing quality training for faculty and staff, ensuring that the community remains free from bias, and developing systems for holding those who exhibit racism and bias accountable. The second leadership role is to work with and mentor students and to create programming for a diverse and inclusive environment, including a focus on Black students’ experience, interests, and needs. The President and VP Merckx are responsible for following through on the restructuring of these responsibilities. They will take into account the comments set forth in your collective letter regarding this position and the office, as well as information shared by student leaders with VP Merckx during the spring semester, and we will seek additional student engagement in the process.


Faculty and Staff Diversity

We agree that to truly be a diverse university, we must be diverse in our employees. This is reinforced in our commitment to restructure the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Office with a prioritization on increasing diversity among faculty and staff. We must prioritize both hiring and retaining a diverse faculty and staff. Please note that a few of the specific items laid out in the letter require major action and further in-depth conversation; we’d like to dedicate future open sessions in their entirety to addressing these concerns. In the interim, there are two areas that we can address now: We’ve asked the athletic director to articulate a plan, particularly in the area of assistant coaches where there is more fluid hiring, to increase diversity among the athletic staff. Concerning the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services, in the short term we will seek a part-time counselor who represents the community our Black students seek—as we have done in Health Services—and we will continue to prioritize recruiting additional staff of color.

Presidential Search Committee

We are committed to involving the full community in the highest levels of decision-making at Drew, especially when the time comes for us to begin our search for a new full-term president. As expressed in the letter to Student Government representatives from the trustee chair of the interim search committee, the Board secured the commitment of dedicated faculty and staff members, representing all three schools and including diverse perspectives and ideas, to participate in this search process, which is different from the search process that would exist for a full-term president. One of the interim president’s first priorities when beginning their tenure at Drew will be to speak to Student Government representatives from all three schools. At the point at which we are ready to begin the search for a permanent president, the Board of Trustees will take all of your suggestions under advisement and will work with students across all three schools during that process.

Administrative Duties

Public Safety

The safety and security of the entire Drew community is our top priority. Over the last 18 months, Drew has been actively engaged in the assessment of Public Safety and recognizes that our current model does not reflect the direction desired by the administration. These assessments were informed by students via listening sessions and individual recounting of their experiences. It is now time for Drew to pivot from a law-enforcement model of public safety to a campus security model that is firmly grounded in community engagement and service. This revised model will also allow for students to be employed in and complete internships with the reimagined campus security unit. At this time, we are finalizing our plans for this shift, and you should expect to receive a community announcement by July 1 from VP Merckx. We recognize that every community member shares the responsibility for maintaining a safe and secure campus, just as every member must feel free to be present on campus without feeling singled out or harassed. With these impending changes, we reinforce our student-centered focus in our shared residential, living-learning community, where campus security team members are educators and community builders. You can expect regular avenues for communication beginning later this summer.

Policy Enforcement

Through the Human Rights policy, Drew prohibits community members from engaging in verbal, physical, or other behaviors that create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or learning environment, particularly based on a person’s identity. The University’s definition of harassment as stated in Daniel’s Dictionary includes “epithets, slurs, jokes, negative stereotyping or threatening, intimidating or hostile acts.” We are committed to enforcing policies for the use of racial slurs, especially by those in positions of authority. Beginning now, racist altercations may be reported using our updated Bias or Hate Based Incident Reporting Form, which is accessible via drew.edu/treehouseunder Student Services. Associate Dean Will Petrick will ensure that all reports are acted upon via the appropriate university policy and process, and engage with student leadership to evaluate and update the form regarding its effectiveness.

Community of Madison

We recognize that some students experience strong negative reactions when engaging with the Madison community. We know that the display of Blue Lives Matter flags is only one of many concerning issues. We are committed to our positive and cooperative community relationship with Madison Borough and aim to strengthen it by engaging with borough representatives at least once a semester through open sessions with students, beginning this fall. To the issue of the Blue Lives Matter flag, we reached out to our colleagues in Madison Borough, who informed us that this flag was removed from the borough’s flag rotation in May of 2018 after receiving feedback from the community.

Thank you once again for bringing these imperatives to our attention. The purpose of this work is to create a campus community that is committed to anti-racism, anti-Black bias, and to celebrating the amazing diversity that is Drew. The measures proposed by you, and agreed to or augmented by the leadership team, are grounded in our belief that our diversity is our strength. To achieve the safe and affirming community of living, learning, and growth for our Black community members, we need the support, commitment, and collaboration of the entire Drew community. We know the University will grow stronger and more equitable for each member of our diverse community as a result of our collaboration, and we welcome opportunities to dialogue through forums and open sessions as we set out to do this work. Implementing these recommendations is the right thing to do. They will make our community stronger.

We, along with other members of the Board of Trustees and the administration, look forward to discussing our responses in the Town Hall conversation we’re scheduling for next week. Details will be shared soon.


MaryAnn Baenninger, President

William W. Landis III, Chair of the Drew Board of Trustees

From President of Drexel: John Fry JUNE 3

Steps Toward Greater Justice and Healing

Dear Students and Colleagues,

We in the Drexel community are disheartened, disturbed and enraged by the pervasiveness of racism and violence against African Americans — most recently, George Floyd's senseless death in Minneapolis police custody, which prompted the demonstrations in Philadelphia and every other major city.

The tragedy of George Floyd's death, and the recent killings of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, are just the latest examples of our nation's abject failure to address the root causes of inequality. At a time when the African American community is bearing a disproportionately heavy burden from the COVID-19 pandemic, this unrelenting racial violence against the black community exacts a tremendous physical and emotional toll.

We are living in what the American Psychological Association has described as a "racism pandemic" that exacts a heavy emotional toll. We understand that black individuals carry an additional burden of fear and anxiety, simply by nature of the color of their skin. As the APA states, "If you're black in America — and especially if you are a black male – it's not safe to go birding in Central Park, to meet friends at a Philadelphia Starbucks, to pick up trash in front of your own home in Colorado or to go shopping almost anywhere."

We are painfully aware that our campus community is suffering, and that anger and fear are dominating the lives of many of our students, faculty, professional staff and alumni. Many students in Philadelphia are on the front lines of peaceful protest in this city, and students who are home in other parts of the country are doing the same. They are rightly shocked when they are met with resistance. We are proud of their activism and courage, and we support their actions.

At times like this, it is imperative that we harness the values of our campus community to insist on change wherever we are, change in our country and change on our campus. As a university community, we can strive for an extra measure of compassion and understanding as we move forward to action. We can take the time to listen to one another, to have hard conversations about racism, to confront uncomfortable truths about ideologies of white supremacy, and to use what we learn to create an anti-racist campus free from intolerance and hatred. These dialogues are a first step to create a more equitable community as an ongoing aspiration for our University.

On Friday, June 5, at 12:30 p.m., we are opening up a space for dialogue about racism and the difficult path forward to become active allies in the fight against racism. We hope you will join this dialogue and let us know your plan to attend this inaugural virtual conversation by responding at this online link.

We call on all members of the Drexel community to insist on a more just and equitable future, and to speak out in peaceful but defiant resistance to the racial injustice endured by the African American community. We stand with the Drexel community — our students, faculty, professional staff, trustees and alumni – in calling for an end to the racism and discrimination in our country.

We hope you will join this dialogue on Friday and for future conversations, and we urge you to stay safe.


John Fry

Subir Sahu, PhD
Senior Vice President for Student Success

Kimberly J. Gholston
Associate Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer

June 12

A Pledge to Address Systemic and Institutional Racism

Dear Students and Colleagues,

Drexel University stands with a nation rising in anger at the senseless deaths of George Floyd,
Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, and too many other Black individuals. The protests and demonstrations in Philadelphia and nationwide speak to the anger, pain, frustration, and fear felt in the Black community and increasingly understood by Americans of all races. I share in the calls for action: for a serious dialogue about systemic racism, a full accounting of the way institutional racism has affected all aspects of our society, and a clear action agenda that begins to change both policy and practice across this country.

Anthony J. Drexel founded our institution with the vision of educating students with no restrictions on religion, race, gender, or socioeconomic status. More than 125 years later, it is necessary to ask if Drexel University is living up to these ideals. I have heard from many of you in the past two weeks, and the answer is a resounding no. Members of the Drexel community are demanding accountability in addressing racism at all levels of our University. I hear this and I agree: We must take the steps necessary to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all students, faculty, professional staff and alumni and eliminate racism in our structures and practices.

One week ago, the University hosted a virtual campus-wide dialogue about racism. I have heard both praise for its intentions and criticism of its limitations. While more than 700 people across Drexel participated, we only scratched the surface of what needs to be discussed. In the past week, in every corner of the Drexel community, we have seen dialogues, town halls, petitions, letters and a shared sense of urgency to do more. We hear your testimonies filled with pain and frustration, and we hear your call for action. For Drexel, as is true for the nation as a whole, it is time to look in the mirror and challenge ourselves to do more.

First and foremost: I know we have work to do. We need to create a structure to bring your ideas and solutions forward, so we can together craft an action agenda that will be our playbook for the years ahead. To achieve that, effective immediately, Associate Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Kim Gholston will report directly to me. Kim will participate in all senior leadership team meetings and the Board of Trustees’ Executive Committee, and will continue to serve on the cabinet and the University’s Executive Council. In this role, Kim will continue to provide leadership across all levels of the University around diversity and inclusion, and she will ensure that this work is reflected in our policies and procedures. But she cannot do this work alone.

Anti-Racism Task Force

In the next week, I will appoint a university-wide task force to look at our practices across the entire University, both how we can more effectively support the Black community at Drexel and how we can eradicate racism in our policies and practices. This work will include recommendations for faculty and staff hiring, promotion and retention, curriculum review, campus-wide learnings, and resource allocation. The task force will have membership across the University, including students, faculty, and professional staff. We welcome our trustees and alumni to join us in this self-examination.

The work of the task force will include responding to the thoughtful suggestions and concerns that I have received from members of the Drexel community. Letters from our undergraduate students and the doctoral students in the Dornsife School of Public Health have offered good and timely recommendations. A coalition of faculty, professional staff, students and alumni provided particularly useful direction. And a letter to Drexel’s leadership from Black colleagues at the University laid out important lessons that we — particularly, white administrators — need to hear. I pledge that all of these issues will be addressed by the task force.

Independent Drexel Police Review

Concurrent with this, I am commissioning an independent review of the Drexel University Police Department by the former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey. Our Drexel police officers and dispatchers are a trusted and respected resource devoted to the safety of the Drexel campus and nearby neighborhoods, and our communication division and police are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. At the same time, we appreciate the sensitivity around policing and the importance of a transparent review and open dialogue with the Drexel Department of Public Safety and our community. I believe Commissioner Ramsey will help support that dialogue. He brings decades of experience not only in law enforcement, serving as police commissioner in Washington, DC, prior to coming to Philadelphia, but also as a leading voice in the national dialogue on community policing. In 2014, Commissioner Ramsey led President Obama’s 21st Century Policing Task Force, which focused on increasing trust and partnership between law enforcement and communities. He has undertaken similar reviews for other leading universities. Commissioner Ramsey’s involvement will ensure that there is an expert, unbiased and independent assessment of all aspects of policing on Drexel’s campus.

New Center for Black Culture

I have heard from many of our Black students a sense of frustration that they are not fully comfortable on our campus. As a first effort to address this, I am calling for the creation of a Center for Black Culture at Drexel. This new center will serve as a hub of information, activity, and community for the entire campus and will seek to increase knowledge of the peoples, histories, and cultures of the African diaspora and its many contributions to the world. Programs and services offered through the Center for Black Culture will be open to all Drexel students, faculty, professional staff and alumni who want to engage with and gain a greater understanding of the Black experience. It will be a partner resource to the Student Center for Diversity and Inclusion. Kim Gholston and Senior Vice President for Student Success Subir Sahu will provide co-leadership of the space, and they will be guided by an advisory board with broad representation from the campus community. In particular, we will seek leaders among our Black students, faculty and professional staff to be part of the visioning and leadership as this new center moves forward. We will convene a group this summer to begin working on all aspects of opening up the center, including establishing a connection to academic programs of study. I look forward to sharing more about the Center for Black Culture over the next few weeks and months.

Boosting Support for Local Businesses

Finally, as part of our engagement in West Philadelphia, I am reaffirming our support of the local business community — and especially minority-owned businesses — during this difficult time. Drexel has long mentored local businesses and brought them into our procurement operations. To that end, through the leadership of Allen Riddick, director of Supplier Inclusion, we redoubled our efforts to address their challenges during the COVID crisis. During the recent unrest, many businesses along West Philadelphia commercial corridors — 52nd Street, Lancaster Avenue, City Line Avenue, 60th Street— were seriously damaged, and Allen and his team have stepped in to develop a broad strategy to provide support. We know we must do even more. Allen and Julie Jones, associate vice president for Accounts Payable and Procurement Services, will work closely with all of our institutional purchasing to focus our procurement needs as much as possible on the local business community.

I know this is just a start, but it is clear that our community wants to see some early and tangible action that precedes the more significant, systemic changes to come. The hard work comes now, as the Drexel community joins together to create a shared vision and agenda. Identifying and addressing institutional racism and providing greater support to our Black community members is a process that requires honest dialogue, collaboration, and a clear assessment of current campus conditions. I am deeply committed to this, and I ask for your partnership and your engagement as we turn conversations into action.


John Fry

Dear members of the Drexel community,

I understand these are difficult and challenging times for everyone. I am deeply saddened and disturbed by the violence against African Americans and most recently the death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police. I want to assure you that Drexel remains committed to addressing the deep-rooted history of racism and pain in the African American community, as well as exploring how we can be active allies in restoring trust, acceptance and inclusivity for everyone.

I also acknowledge the anger, frustration, pain and, frankly, fear that was caused by seeing National Guard vehicles on or close to our campus in the past 24 hours. I appreciate that was a shock to our community and has created concern and distrust. To that end, I want to explain why the National Guard is in the city of Philadelphia and on Drexel's campus.

Let me start by clarifying that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania owns the Armory at 32nd Street and Lancaster Avenue, not Drexel University, and has independent control over its use. While the building is on Drexel's campus and the University has leased part of the building from the Commonwealth since 2008, the Commonwealth owns the facility, maintains control of the rectangular portion of the facility, known as the annex, and has the right to occupy the annex as needed. The University does not fund this space in any way, and we cannot bar the Commonwealth from using its own facility.

In the wake of the unrest and violence throughout the city that has followed from recent peaceful protests, Gov. Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency have placed National Guard members on state active duty to support local law enforcement in providing continued public safety and critical infrastructure security. At the request of Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, National Guard members have also been deployed to Center City to protect government buildings. Many of you will be seeing National Guard members at the Armory, as they are using the space as a central command center for communications and operations.

The Armory has been the home of the National Guard's 103rd Engineering Battalion since the 1920s and also serves as the home base of Drexel's Army ROTC program. More than a dozen Drexel students are currently serving in the Selected Reserve, and more than 600 alumni work for the National Guard.

This isn't the first time the National Guard has used the Armory to support public safety efforts. In 2015, more than 500 National Guard members were stationed at the facility to provide services for the visit of Pope Francis. The National Guard is also assisting with the Commonwealth's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Again, I understand that this has been upsetting, particularly on top of the terrible incidents of the past week. Please know that the University is not condoning violence against peaceful protesters or efforts to silence the voices that have risen up against racism in this country. This is a troubling time for all of us, and the emotional toll many of us are feeling is real. Our promise as a university community is that we will always provide care and support, especially in such difficult and challenging times. Please know that all students in need of individual support in processing these events can contact the Office of Counseling and Health Services. Faculty and professional staff should contact the Employee Assistance Program.

The University will continue to monitor the situation and respond as necessary to safeguard everyone in the Drexel community.


John Fry

From: President Vincent E. Price

Date: Wed, Jun 17, 2020 at 10:40 PM

Subject: Message from President Price about Racism and Inequality

To the Duke Community,

On Friday, we celebrate Juneteenth, the day when enslaved people in Texas learned of the Emancipation Proclamation that had been issued by President Lincoln more than two years earlier. We do so at a somber and sobering moment in our history, as our nation confronts the horror of police violence against Black people, amidst the backdrop of systemic racial inequities and injustices that have been laid bare by the pandemic.

In recognition of Juneteenth’s message of liberation from oppression, and out of respect for the anger, sadness, exhaustion, and courage of our Black friends and neighbors, this Friday, June 19, will be a day of reflection for the entire Duke community. I encourage you to pause from your regular work and reflect both on the ongoing history of systemic racial injustice and how it manifests in our neighborhoods, our places of work, our families, our faith communities, and at Duke. To the extent possible, managers should provide employees with time to take part in programs and observances for this day of memory and contemplation.

I hope that this opportunity for reflection will prove valuable for you, as I know it will for me. I cannot as a white person begin to fully understand the daily fear and pain and oppression that is endemic to the Black experience. Instead, I have been seeking to listen, and to learn. I’ve been meeting with my colleagues and reading Black authors and theorists, some here at Duke. And I’ve been reflecting on our national, and regional, and institutional history.

Those of us who are not subject to the daily oppression of racism must engage deeply, and with humility, with humanity, and with honesty. We must commit to doing so in a sustained way and not only in response to a moment of national crisis. We live with overwhelming evidence of systematic differences in life chances. They are there to be seen. And yet too often those of us not burdened by racism choose not to see, or we choose to explain away these disparities rather than move to correct them.

Here at Duke, we aspire to be agents of progress in advancing racial equity and justice; but it would be more than fair to say that we have often not fully embraced that mission. Our history makes that clear. We have accomplished so much in which we take pride, and yet we have often been slow to do the right things, the hard things, the transformative things.

We must take transformative action now toward eliminating the systems of racism and inequality that have shaped the lived experiences of too many members of the Duke community. That starts with a personal transformation, and I’m prepared to do that work. It must end in institutional transformation, and that is the hard work before all of us. And that is my responsibility: to put my full energy as president behind that effort.

That work begins today. I commit the university to the following actions, which, in recognition of anti-racism’s vital importance to every level of institutional activity, are embedded within all five core aspects of Duke’s strategic framework, Toward our Second Century.

First, as we commit to empowering our people, we will

  • significantly and measurably expand the diversity of our faculty, staff, and students, with particular focus on Black, Indigenous and people of color;
  • expand our need-based student financial aid, at all levels, and increase faculty support for Black, Indigenous and people of color, through chairs and other means;
  • seek and support a diverse community of staff, through robust workforce development and pipeline programs for underrepresented populations; and
  • ensure salary equity and promote excellence by increasing diverse leadership opportunities at every level of our organization.

As we commit to transforming teaching and learning, we will

  • incorporate anti-racism into our curricula and programs across the university, requiring that every Duke student—in undergraduate, graduate and professional programs—learns of the nature of structural racism and inequity, with special focus on our own regional and institutional legacies;
  • assess and remediate systemic biases in the design of our curricula;
  • amplify our student success resources to ensure that all students are able to take full advantage of Duke;
  • fully mobilize and expand Duke’s research capacity to address and help overturn racism and reduce racial disparities and inequities in policing, justice, health, housing, education, labor, and other domains of life, including new avenues of support for scholars who examine these issues; and
  • establish and support Duke as a global educational and research leader in anti-racism.

As we commit to building a renewed campus community, we will

  • require anti-racism and anti-bias training for every member of our faculty, student body, and staff in an effort to foster a more inclusive environment for all members of the Duke community;
  • enhance support for our students, faculty, and staff who are experiencing pain or trauma related to racial injustice;
  • establish a program of coordinated surveys of our faculty, students and staff to assess and inform our progress in addressing bias and promoting respect, meaningful inclusion, and true equity in our community;
  • highlight Black excellence throughout the campus community and increase the visibility of Black scholars, students, staff, and alumni; and
  • hold leadership accountable through the annual review process for promoting a more inclusive, equitable Duke.
  • As we commit to forging purposeful partnerships in our city and region, we will
  • strengthen relationships with the City of Durham and support the empowerment of underrepresented communities;
  • create internships for local students, expand local workforce-development programs, and elevate mission-consistent employment and engagement opportunities throughout the community;
  • deepen our engagement with North Carolina Central University and Durham Technical Community College, as well as Johnson C. Smith University, with whom we share a historic relationship through The Duke Endowment; and
  • support an expanded pipeline for transfer, graduate, and professional applications from students at community colleges and HBCUs.
  • Finally, as we commit to activating our global network, we will
  • redouble our efforts to support our alumni who are Black, Indigenous and people of color, including expanded opportunities for networking and professional mentorship;
  • provide opportunities for alumni who are Black, Indigenous and people of color to connect with students on campus;
  • reach out with educational programs for our alumni on racial inequities and injustices; and
  • assist in mobilizing Duke alumni to be agents of positive change in their communities.

These actions are only a starting point. Righting the wrongs of history will take time, and our efforts will need to be focused and sustained. We must also be far clearer about our goals and transparent as we work toward them.

To that end, I have charged our executive leadership—our Provost, Executive Vice President, and Chancellor for Health Affairs—to develop and implement a structure for rigorous assessment, accountability and reporting on our progress. I have also asked for a preliminary implementation proposal from the university’s senior leaders and the deans of each school by September 1; I will update the university community on our progress by October 15.

Ultimately, real progress will require an embrace of both personal and institutional humility, admitting to our blindness, our lack of understanding, and confusion.

Real progress will require an abiding commitment to humanity, to actually and deeply caring about each other’s life chances—enough to change them for the better.

Real progress will require both personal and institutional honesty, as change will only come if we seek, confront, and own our truth.

As a Duke community, we want to lead the way: on a campus that has had its share of painful moments, and here in the American South, with its legacies of enslaving Black people, undermining Reconstruction, enforcing segregation, and resisting integration through Massive Resistance and other means, and brutally suppressing—and even to this day frustrating at so many turns—the life chances of our Black neighbors and colleagues. We want to lead because when we commit to an anti-racist mission and truly lift up, and support, and celebrate Black lives and Black excellence, we will become a better and more perfect version of the great institution I believe we are.

We cannot, on this Juneteenth, bring news of true freedom—freedom from oppression, violence, and systemic racism. In many ways, even after a century and a half, that goal sadly remains elusive. But today, we can bring news of Duke’s commitment to be partners on the path to achieving it, and to resolutely turn our attention toward the mission of anti-racism.


Vincent E. Price


President Pierson's statement on George Floyd incident

June 3, 2020

The following is an open letter written by East Central University President Katricia Pierson and emailed to all ECU students and employees on Wednesday, June 3, 2020:

Dear Campus Community,

The murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, magnified the inequalities and injustice that continue across our nation. It was not an isolated or singular event. Sadly, his death is further evidence that racism still exists and must be eradicated.

The East Central University community is heartbroken by these recent events and is here to support our Black students, as well as their families and friends, who may be feeling the anguish of these inequalities and of this particularly vile form of hatred. We are here to comfort and heal.

Universities are places of knowledge, ideas and tolerance. ECU is committed to educating and empowering students to understand how our world works and to transform it into something better. As I noted in an email to campus in April, we will call together our Culture, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee, the Black Alumni Association, and the Black Student Association to explore ways to advance equity and fairness in our community – and beyond.

I have personally seen, many times, the good that our campus family is doing to unite our community and make it stronger. I have seen the drive in our students to make the world a better place. Together, we can continue to create a world that is just and equitable for all.

Katricia G. Pierson
President, East Central University

From: ESU Campus-Community List
Sent: Monday, June 01, 2020 1:43 PM
Subject: Message of Campus Unity from President Marcia G. Welsh, Ph.D. - June 1, 2020

Dear Warriors,

I write to you today with a sad and heavy heart. Over the last few weeks, we’ve not only been dealing with the ever-changing landscape of the COVID pandemic, but we have also seen the presence of racism and discrimination being played out across this nation. The events that have transpired in Minneapolis and across the country remind us that we need to be a part of dismantling racial injustice and become advocates for systemic change in our communities.

Unfortunately, communities of color, in particular, African-Americans, have experienced unequal and unfair treatment for centuries. The senseless killing of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd that resulted in multiple protests highlighting the pain and unrest in many communities, but also serves as a harsh reminder of the persistent racial inequities in our country.

During these times, many of us may feel helpless or even hopeless, but We are Warriors, Champions of Social Justice. We must stand up for one another and fight for what is right. Every Warrior on our campus belongs here and is a valued member of our community. I want to acknowledge what our African-American students, faculty, and staff may be feeling at this time. We stand with you as Warriors and we are here for you.

As we continue to face the many challenges of COVID-19, we must also address the issues that discrimination and racial injustice present before us. We will work with campus police to schedule proper sensitivity and implicit bias training for our officers to ensure the safety of our students, grounded in cultural awareness and understanding. Additionally, we commit to becoming a culturally competent campus that holds each other accountable for our actions.

Amid the national outcry for racial justice and systemic change. ESU remains Champions of Social Justice and our administrators, faculty, staff, and students are committed to challenging racism, bigotry, discrimination, and oppression. In collaboration with Zuri Redmond, president of the Black Student Union, ESU will release a series of videos from our campus constituents in the days and weeks to come, showing solidarity for individuals affected by racial violence and affirming our commitment to equity for all.

While our country grapples with the next steps toward equity and justice, as a community of WARRIORS, we will show compassion and love. The seven Ways of the Warrior<https://www.esu.edu/about/history_beliefs/way_of_the_warrior.cfm> help to guide our actions and strengthen our civility as a campus.

Together, we are stronger. Together, we are Warriors.

Marcia G. Welsh, Ph.D.

Message from President Pelton: America Is on Fire

Today, I write to you as a Black man and as President of Emerson College.

There is no other way to write to you, given recent events.

I didn’t sleep Friday night. Instead, I spent the night, like a moth drawn to a flame, looking again and again at the video of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of a Minneapolis white police officer. It was a legalized lynching. I also intently watched the fiery protests in American cities.

America is on fire, I thought.

Even in the face of a viral pandemic that had closed down much of human society, it could not stop a black man from being murdered in public view.

I was struck by the callousness and the casual dehumanization of Mr. Floyd. To that officer, he was invisible – the Invisible Man that Ralph Ellison described in his novel by the same name.

Black Americans are invisible to most of white America. We live in the shadows – even those of us, who like me, sit at the table of bounty. Ironically, at our colleges and universities we are hyper-visible in classrooms, work places, social settings, and as we go about our daily lives.

On Saturday, I was very angry. The persistent structural racism that under girds American society and permits the police and others to kill black people is pernicious and ubiquitous.

We mourn George Floyd. But let’s not forget the other George Floyds of which he is but one:

Ahmaud Arbery was jogging when white vigilantes pursued him in their pick-up trucks, shot and killed him. A Harvard educated black birder, Christian Cooper, was bird watching when a white woman walking her dog weaponized the lynching trope in an attempt to summon police.

Do you remember Trayvon Martin or twelve-year old Tamir Rice or Sandra Bland or Philando Castile or Eric Garner or Freddie Gray or Botham Jean or Breonna Taylor?

Say their names. This is not new.

All of them dead. Each of them invisible.

I’m still angry. As President, I didn’t want to write in anger. But I also didn’t want to write the kind of platitudinous letters that ordinarily appear after these kinds of killings. I consulted my children on Saturday. One said, “Dad, I don’t think you need to say anything if you don’t want to. Who even knows what to say right now. And as you said, it’s more up to white people to say something now.”

I consulted friends and one of the wisest among them said, “Let the world know how you feel. Everyone who gets it will be better for it; the others, who cares. In some context anger is not an emotion; instead, it’s a moral.”

And so, I write today.

I watched the video over and over again well into the morning hours because I was mesmerized by the casualness with which the Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd. Chauvin dug his knee into his neck for almost nine minutes, even as Floyd repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.” As he called on his Mama before he took his last breath, Chauvin continued to talk, he looked as if he didn’t have a care in the world. He didn’t stop until Floyd was unresponsive.

George Floyd was invisible. And it was his invisibility, a brutal white power structure and Chauvin’s dehumanization of him that killed him.

Floyd has a history. And so do I.

I was born in a house that had no indoor plumbing until I was six years old. Until they died, my mother and both of my grandmothers cleaned houses for middle class and rich white folks. My father was a laborer until he got a good paying job working at the City of Wichita, Kansas, where I was born and raised.

In my lifetime, I have been called the n-word by white people in every state and every city that I have ever lived in.

I have been pulled over driving while black more times than I can remember. I have been spit on by a white parking lot attendant. I was stopped 20 feet from my house by two white police officers in their cruiser, the searing heat of their spot lights on the back of my neck, guns drawn on either side of my car because I looked like a black man who was alleged to have stolen something from a convenience store. When I was living on the West Coast, I was pulled over twice in a single night by police officers because, according to each, I didn’t turn on my turn signal the proper feet before a stop sign. As President of Willamette University, two teenage boys drove up on the sidewalk to block my path home because I looked like someone who was suspected of stealing from neighborhood homes. When I asked what that person looked like they described someone more than twenty years younger than me. While visiting my cousins in Conway, Arkansas in the 70’s, I suffered the deep humiliation of having to go to the back alley of a local restaurant to order food. I was twenty years old. I was angry at the overt racism and at my cousins for enduring such indignities almost a decade after the passages of the two Civil Rights Acts of the mid-60’s.

That’s my history. And I have dedicated my life’s work to social justice in just about every aspect of American life, but especially for young people who grew up like me.

I also write to you today on the anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa, Oklahoma riots in which Greenwood, then the wealthiest black neighborhood in America (called the Black Wall Street), was attacked by mobs of white residents because a 19-year old black shoeshiner allegedly bumped into a 17-year old white female elevator operator. More than 800 black people were admitted to the hospital, and 6,000 Greenwood families were displaced as white vigilantes deputized by law enforcement killed more than 300 hundred black people and destroyed more than 35 square blocks of Greenwood, some it carried out by private aircraft. It is the worst single incident of racial violence in American history, and I suspect not one in ten in Americans have ever heard of it.

What happened to George Floyd is not new. It is as old as 250 years of slavery and the Jim Crow laws that sought to marginalize and shut out black Americans from American society.

As my wise friend reminded me, quoting James Baldwin, “Any real change implies the breaking of the world as one has always known it, the loss of all that gave one an identity, the end of safety.”

Black folks are sick and tired of being sick and tired.

So, I have no words of comfort today because they would be inauthentic. They would absolve so many from coming to terms with their own silent complicity in the world in which we live.

As I wrote to someone today, “This is not a black problem, but a structural issue built on white supremacy and centuries of racism. It’s your problem. And until you understand that, we are doomed to relive this week’s tragic events over and over again. What changes will you make in your own life? Begin with answering that question and maybe, just maybe we will get somewhere.”

The most important question is: What are you going to do?

At an appropriate time, I will gather the community to talk about what I have written and what we might be able to do together to address racism in America, beginning first of all with an honest appraisal of who we are and what we stand for.

Message from President Claire E. Sterk

May 30, 2020

"These senseless acts strike at the heart of Emory’s commitment to upholding equity, diversity, and inclusion. Now, more than ever, we must stand together against intolerance and racism," says Emory President Claire E. Sterk.

Emory to hold online vigil June 5 to mourn victims of racist violence June 2, 2020

Message from President-elect Gregory L. Fenves June 2, 2020

Message from Interim Provost Jan Love June 3, 2020

Message from Emory Healthcare CEO Jonathan S. Lewin May 30, 2020

Message from Dean of Campus Life Enku Gelaye June 5, 2020

Message from Emory Police Chief Rus Drew June 3, 2020

Message from James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference June 5, 2020

Message from Emory University Center for Ethics June 5, 2020

The following message was sent by President Claire E. Sterk to the Emory community on May 30, 2020.

All of us are grappling with the violent deaths of Georgia resident Ahmaud Arbery, Minneapolis citizen George Floyd, Kentucky citizen Breonna Taylor, and too many other instances of racism and violence against people of color. These senseless acts strike at the heart of Emory’s commitment to upholding equity, diversity, and inclusion. Now, more than ever, we must stand together against intolerance and racism.

The Emory community stands for justice in all aspects of our mission, and when confronted with hatred and prejudice, we must speak out. Emory respects the dignity and value of all human beings, and our community will continue to engage in conversations that matter, no matter how difficult the dialogue, so that together, we might seek a more just and equitable world for all.

We hope you will join with other members of our academic community in an online solidarity vigil on June 5 to mourn the lives lost and to lift our hope for an anti-racist world. Community support during these difficult times is also available through Campus Life, the Faculty Staff Assistance Program, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and the Office of Spiritual and Religious Life, among other university resources.

Although we are distanced physically during this pandemic, we strive to stand together in spirit. I hear and acknowledge the pain so many are experiencing, and we grieve and rage along with you.

Claire E. Sterk

Emory University President

From: FAU Announcement
Sent: Friday, June 19, 2020 11:21 AM
Subject: A Message from the President About Diversity at FAU

Eliminating Racial Injustices and Social Inequities

A long overdue and important conversation around systemic racism and violence against Black people in America has awakened our country. The injustices and violence that marginalized the experiences of people of color, particularly Black/African Americans, at the hands of those in positions of authority is real and devastating. Florida Atlantic University condemns and will not tolerate such acts of violence, and is dedicated to addressing racism, discrimination and injustices in all aspects of university life.

Ranked among the most racially and ethnically diverse institutions in the country, FAU’s commitment to diversity does not stop at the make-up of our student body. We recognize that in order to dismantle systemic discrimination we must take actions to ensure our students, faculty and staff have the opportunities, support and resources necessary to succeed in their academic and professional lives. We also recognize that eradicating racism requires developing responsible citizens by examining the ways power and privilege affect society and by developing pathways to meaningful, positive and lasting change.

With input from the Florida Atlantic University Diversity Council, some of our immediate measures include:

  • Expanding the focus of the diversity platform to include social justice and equity
  • Identifying university initiatives where social justice and equity dialogues and professional development opportunities can be incorporated
  • Developing a university-wide diversity and inclusion statement to be included in recruitment materials
  • Continue to provide educational platforms for students, faculty and staff to learn and discuss issues related to diversity, inclusion and equity

With educational programs spearheaded by entities such as the FAU Diversity Council; Peace, Justice, and Human Rights initiative; the Center for Inclusion, Diversity Education, and Advocacy; the Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education; and the Women and Gender Equity Resource Center, FAU is not only coming together in conversation, but actively building on existing initiatives and seeking new ones. We invite you to visit www.fau.edu/diversity-platform to learn more about FAU’s ongoing efforts to diversity, inclusion and equity.

John Kelly


A Message from Father McShane | Statement on the Death of George Floyd


Dear Members of the Fordham Family,

It is with a heavy and (let me be honest here) angry heart that I write to you today. I suspect that your hearts are also angry and heavy with sorrow. And how could we not be angry, dismayed and sorrowful at this moment? In the course of the past few painful months, we have witnessed the savage and senseless killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, as well as many other instances of violence—lethal and not—against people of color in the United States. That is not to mention the longstanding economic violence against people of color and their communities in this country, and the widespread, systemic and shameful disregard for the value of their lives in the eyes of others. (We have seen this systemic disregard quite clearly during the COVID-19 pandemic: amid the suffering across the country, and especially in the Bronx, communities of color were and are more vulnerable and more harshly affected than are white communities.)

I do not think I have to convince any of you that these acts and this state of affairs are sinful and immoral, and that they go against everything that a Jesuit university stands for. I do, however, think that some of our fellow citizens need to be reminded that they are happening every day in our very midst—in our own communities. Although we don’t all like to admit it, people of color—and let’s be frank, especially Black people—live lives of relentlessly hostile scrutiny, and they have been telling us so since the ink on the Thirteenth Amendment was barely dry. Four years ago, when we were confronted with a sadly similar shameful moment, former President Obama wrote that, “When incidents like this occur, there’s a big chunk of our fellow citizenry that feels as if because of the color of their ‎skin, they are not being treated the same. And that hurts. And that should trouble all of us. This is not just a black issue. It’s not just a Hispanic issue. This is an American issue that we should all care about. All fair-minded people should be concerned.” And he was and is right. The problems that we must confront belong to all of us. Therefore, we need to own up to them. We have to own them. All of us. Their solutions also need to be owned by everyone, but especially by our leaders and those in positions of authority and influence.

Yesterday, in the immediate aftermath of George Floyd’s death former President Obama once again issued a statement that said, in part, “…we have to remember that for millions of Americans, being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly ‘normal’ — whether it’s while dealing with the health care system, or interacting with the criminal justice system, or jogging down the street, or just watching birds in a park.”

As you might imagine, I found myself returning to President Obama’s haunting reflections over and over again in the course of the past few days. And I was made uneasy by them—in the best possible sense of that word. For you see, I heard in them the unmistakable ring of truth. And that truth pierced me to the heart. Therefore, I asked myself how the Fordham family can and should respond to the challenges that the events of past week have presented to us. Of course, as a community of faith, we will pray for the repose of the souls of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery. We will also pray for their families as they wrestle with the losses they have suffered in and through the deaths of those whom they loved so dearly. That goes without saying, and I ask you to join me in those fervent prayers.

But, let’s be honest. That is not enough. We must do more. We are a university community. Therefore, we must also recommit ourselves to the work that is proper to us as an academic community. A university’s greatest strength is its intellectual capital—the research, teaching, and learning that occurs both in and outside of the classroom. It is our central mission, and the one on which we expend the great majority of our budget and most of our energy—intellectual and moral. Tapping into these strengths and assets, we must recommit ourselves to the work of educating for justice and to doing all we can to figure out how our beloved nation, to paraphrase President Abraham Lincoln, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all are created equal, has allowed itself to stray from the ideals (and the promises those ideals hold out to all) upon which it was founded.

We are not, however, merely a university community. We are a Jesuit university community. And what does that mean for us and the work we must undertake? As I have told you before, I believe that the issues that divide and challenge our nation are moral issues. Therefore, I believe that precisely because we are a Jesuit institution, we have a special responsibility to reflect on the events of the past week and on the challenges that they have created for our nation in particularly moral terms. What do I mean? Just this: We can remind our students (and ourselves) that ‎the situation in which the nation now finds itself is one that requires us to engage in an honest examination of conscience and consciousness so that we can be what God wants us to be. If we are willing to engage in this examination of consciousness, we will be able to take the first step toward the conversion of heart that will free us from the bondage of anger, frustration, and suspicion that holds us back.

I will not lie to you. The work of conversion is hard. And frequently it takes time. A long time. But I assure you that it is worth the exertion that it requires. The death of innocents calls us to it. The Gospel that has always stood at the center of our life and mission calls us to it. Therefore, let us all look into our hearts and see what justice would look like for the communities of color that are languishing and being crushed under the weight of racism in our country. Let us take to heart the loving invitation contained in the message issued on Friday by the United States Catholic Conference: “Encounter the people who historically have been disenfranchised [and]continue to experience sadness and pain and more authentically accompany them, listen to their stories, and learn from them, finding substantive ways to enact systemic change. Such encounters will start to bring about the needed transformation of our understanding of true life, charity, and justice in the United States.”

As I said, the work of conversion is hard, but if we commit ourselves to its rigors, we will be able to redeem the promises of our founding ideals for all of our citizens, who are (in the eyes of God) our brothers and sisters. Our beloved brothers and sisters.

You are in my thoughts and prayers today and every day.


Joseph M. McShane, S.J.

Fordham University Action Plan | Addressing Racism, Educating for Justice


Dear Members of the Fordham Community,

After decades and centuries, we have still not created a nation and a culture in which all citizens are truly equal, a nation in which each citizen is treated with dignity.

The Black community has never enjoyed the kind of respect, and has never had access to the range of opportunities, that other communities in our country have had. The protests that have occurred across the country and that have brought together people from every race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, and age group in the aftermath of the brutal killing of George Floyd are both a cry of the heart coming from a community that has been the victim of systemic racism for our entire history, and a call to a national examination of conscience on race relations and on racism itself. And a call to action for Fordham.

In the course of the past few weeks, the members of the Board of Trustees, the administration, and I have watched and listened. We have read the many emails, petitions, and Instagram posts that have come from the University community. We have all been moved and dismayed by these statements and testimonials, and deeply saddened by the trauma that prompted them. Therefore, it is clear that the national awakening has come to Fordham. To be sure, we have in the past made strides in our efforts to create a more diverse, inclusive, and affirming community. But this moment has made it clear that we can and must do more. We all know this in our bones and in our hearts.

In the immediate aftermath of George Floyd’s killing, the chair of our Board of Trustees convened a special meeting of the Executive Committee of the Board devoted to addressing the scourge of racism. During the meeting (which was attended by a majority of the board’s members), our conversations were led by the Black members of the board. That meeting was followed by a meeting of the Board Strategy Committee. The board came away from both of those meetings with a firm belief that the question of racism was of such great mission-importance that they have both recast the charge of the Mission and Identity Committee to include Social Justice (and hence that committee has become the Mission and Social Justice Committee, which will be co-chaired by Anthony Carter and Thomas Regan, S.J.) and asked us to make the confrontation of racism in all its forms an important part of our strategic planning.

The same passion for confronting racism has been clear in all of the conversations that I and the other members of the administration and faculty leadership have had in the course of the past month. Indeed, the Board of Trustees feels so strongly about this that they have mandated annual anti-racism training for all faculty, administrators, staff, and students—including the president’s cabinet and the Board of Trustees.

Therefore, with the backing of the whole Fordham community (from the board to the faculty to the staff to the students), the administration, the provost, the vice presidents, the deans, the chief diversity officer, and I have drawn up the action plan that is outlined below. As the board, the administration, and I share it with you, I assure you that this should be seen as the first in a series of steps in what we now recognize must be an iterative process: as we listen more attentively and as we do more, we will learn more and adjust our plans and actions accordingly. Therefore, let us begin.

Goal: Develop Robust Admissions Strategies for Effective Recruitment of Students of Color to Fordham

Recruitment and Pipeline Development

The University will launch an aggressive recruitment program for Black and Latinx students, with a focus on talent identification, pipeline development, and enhanced financial aid aimed at substantially increasing our undergraduate Black and Latinx student populations. We are committed to dedicating significant resources to achieve this goal.


Create an overnight Multicultural Admitted Students’ Yield Program designed specifically for historically underrepresented students and their families.

Continue to co-sponsor (with the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities) and host the only college open house for Black and Latinx students in New York state.

To promote the University’s interest in furthering diversity, Fordham will increase the amount of financial aid available to our Black (and Latinx) students by prioritizing the creation of endowed scholarships in our new capital campaign.

Launch the Urban Justice Scholars Program to bring to Fordham each year a cohort of 15 high-achieving, low- to moderate-income students from across the country whose academic, cocurricular, and vocational goals focus on understanding and addressing social and economic inequality from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives.

The University has already adopted a test-optional admissions policy. In Fordham’s undergraduate admission process, each application will continue to be reviewed holistically as we look for students who will be academically successful and bring personal qualities of integrity, perseverance, and leadership to our campus communities.

Actions Supporting the Building of a Better Admissions Pipeline

Create the Bronx Bothered Excellence Scholars Summer Program to serve historically underrepresented high school students in grades 10 through 12 who are committed to the Catholic and Jesuit mission of justice and cura personalis.

Drawing on the success of our outreach efforts at local Catholic high schools in the Bronx and Manhattan (such as Cardinal Hayes High School, Cristo Rey New York High School, and the Academy of Mount Saint Ursula), we will expand our efforts to include other neighborhood high schools, both public and private.

Goal: Recruiting and Retaining a More Diverse Faculty, Administration and Staff


Fordham will continue to prioritize the diversification of the ranks of the entire staff of the University: administrators, faculty, and staff.

Building on the success that we have had in the past few hiring cycles, the chief diversity officer will continue to conduct annual workshops for deans, chairs, vice presidents, and search committees to familiarize them with the University’s expectations for hiring practices.

Launch the John LaFarge, S.J., Visiting Scholars and Fellows Program, which will bring doctoral candidates to Fordham to facilitate the career growth and success of degree candidates who are underrepresented in their proposed fields of study to work with Fordham faculty mentors in their fields.

Launch the Joseph Fitzpatrick, S.J., Postdoctoral Fellowship and Cluster Hire Program, a postdoctoral scholars program designed to attract young scholar-teachers whose work takes an interdisciplinary, praxis-oriented approach to examining the structures, policies, and practices that produce racial and gender inequality in American society.

Goal: Develop Curricular and Cocurricular Initiatives That Support the Imperative of Confronting Racism and Educating for Justice


Increase support for the work of the special assistant to the provost for faculty development to enhance initiatives focused on anti-racist pedagogy and practice.

The Office of the Chief Diversity Officer will offer Teaching Race Across the Curriculum Grants to assist the faculty’s efforts to develop ways to integrate questions of race, racism, inequality, and justice into their introductory courses as well as in Values Seminar and Interdisciplinary Capstone Core courses.

The deans of all of the schools will work with their faculty members to ensure that courses include content-appropriate discussions or treatment of issues of racism, inequality, and diversity as often and as richly as possible.

Use faculty resources to create a library of print, audio, and audiovisual resources on racism, race, and diversity. This library will make it possible for faculty to use these resources as asynchronous elements to achieve the goal of providing all first-year students with the course that contains a strong introduction to anti-racism called for in the University’s Diversity Action Plan during the 2020–2021 academic year, and to embed discussion of issues associated with diversity, inclusion, and racism in their existing courses.

Strengthen and expand our Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP), as well as our Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP).

The University will increase its support of and work to raise the visibility of the Department of African and African American Studies, as well as the Bronx African American History Project.

The University will co-sponsor and significantly increase its support of the Law School’s Center on Race, Law and Justice in order to convene scholars across the University working on issues of racial justice. The center aims to be a hub of scholarship on issues relating to race that strengthens the University internally and helps to build its reputation in the wider community.

Goal: Create a More Welcoming and Affirming Campus


The University has made provision in the plans for the new campus center at Rose Hill for the creation of a much-needed dedicated Multicultural Center. A similar center will be established on the Lincoln Center campus.

Supplement the goal of supporting diversity in all University policies with the goal of confronting racism in all we do.

Institute annual, mandatory anti-racism training for all faculty, administrators, staff, and students—including the president’s cabinet and the Board of Trustees.

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council, which collects suggestions and feedback from all constituencies at Fordham, shall make twice-annual recommendations to the president on necessary actions and policies.

Building on the work of the Diversity Leadership Team, led by Rafael Zapata (chief diversity officer), Kay Turner (vice president for human resources) and Juan Carlos Matos (assistant vice president for student affairs for diversity and inclusion), redouble our efforts to create and sustain a campus culture that supports and cherishes our students, faculty, and staff of color.

Drawing from input we have received from our students, the counseling office, the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer, and the Office of Multicultural Affairs will continue to refine the following offerings: Black Healing and Empowerment Circle, Ally Solidarity and Support Space, Non-Black Students of Color Support Group, and Navigating Police Brutality and Racial Trauma Workshop.

Establish a peer mentoring program for students of color.

As was the case this year, the University will henceforth observe Juneteenth as a paid University holiday.

Goal: Build Lasting Partnerships With Our Neighbors


Launch the first Bronx Youth Summit on the Rose Hill campus during calendar year 2021, convening high school students from across the borough to study and actively address issues affecting their communities.

We will strive to become the primary sponsor and host of the annual Bronx Book Festival, as well as co-sponsor events with the organization throughout the academic year.

Led by the finance division and the Office of Government Relations and Urban Affairs, we will develop a plan to increase our university-wide contracting and purchasing with and from minority- and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs), with a particular focus on those in the Bronx and Manhattan.

We will launch the Annual Fordham University Arts, Community, and Social Justice Banquet to honor local artists, youth, community organizations, as well as Fordham students, faculty, and staff whose work, service, teaching, and scholarship embody lives dedicated to justice for others.

Through the Fordham Foundry and Social Innovation Collaboratory, we will create a consulting service/office (staffed by undergraduate and graduate students from the Gabelli School of Business) to assist minority-owned neighborhood businesses in applying for funding, including loans from the Small Business Administration, and to help them draw up business plans that will enable them to achieve greater stability and success in the future.

Building on the work of the Center for Community Engaged Learning (CCEL), double or triple CCEL’s investment of time, energy, and attention in sustainable partnerships in areas around the Rose Hill and Lincoln Center campuses.

Use the expertise and services of the Graduate School of Social Service, the Graduate School of Education, the School of Law, and the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education to create clinics or outreach to serve the members of our Bronx and Manhattan neighborhoods.

Goal: Amplify our Voice in Educating for Justice Beyond the Campus


Create an ongoing WFUV series on The Black Experience in America that will be aired on the station, ensuring that conversations on racism, race, and the richness of Black culture are shared broadly with the WFUV audience.

Seek a partnership with the recently established Museum of Civil Rights that will enable us to broaden the University’s involvement in the study of the Black experience in America.

Build collaborative relationships with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, PEN America, and other prominent academic and cultural institutions in New York City.


The divisions and departments responsible for the various initiatives outlined above will develop implementation plans. The Board of Trustees and the cabinet will be deeply involved in the process, reviewing those plans and follow-up reports with an eye to effectiveness and sustainability.

Concluding Reflections

To those of you who have shared painful memories via email and on social media, let me say I am deeply grateful for your forthrightness, something from which I learned more than I can say about the way in which systemic, structural racism inflicts pain on those who suffer from its power. You have my solemn word that we will do better.

I invite the whole Fordham community to see this inflection moment in our nation’s history and in Fordham’s history as an opportunity to work for the creation of a more just world.


Joseph M. McShane, S.J.

Dean's Statement on the Death of George Floyd

Dear GSS Community,

On Saturday evening, the President of our University, Fr. Joseph McShane, S.J. issued the following statement addressing “the savage and senseless” killing of George Floyd last week in Minneapolis. In doing so, he calls upon us to open ourselves to the larger causal truths that have kept “communities of color crushed under the weight of racism in our country… and living lives of relentlessly hostile scrutiny.”

Fr. McShane's statement is a powerful indictment of our country’s flawed social, political, and economic conditions that have been shamelessly shaped by racism and exclusion. He is eloquent about the need for each of us to convert our personal pain and anger into action. As individuals and as a community, I ask that we heed this call.

Social work is a profession founded on a commitment to social justice. In truth, I’m not sure we've always kept this commitment at the forefront of our work. As a social worker and a white woman, I stand in solidarity with our communities of color. Yet, I know that a commitment to social justice means I must be willing to recognize and challenge my own biases and prejudices. I believe that as a profession, social work must engage in this same examination. We must be willing to collectively and honestly reflect on how prejudice shows itself in the ways we relate to others and to systematic oppression.

Citizens all across our country have taken to the streets to give voice to the inequities that social workers witness every day. As a profession, we can do better. We must do more. In our work, in all of the organizations and communities we serve, I ask that we recommit ourselves to bringing about the social, political, and economic justice that our profession stands for and is so long overdue.

Debra M. McPhee, Ph.D.
Fordham University
Graduate School of Social Service

A Message on George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Race and Justice from Dean Diller


Dear Fordham Law Community,

I write in response to the recent and tragic killings of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, and the protests across our nation that have followed. I join in Father McShane’s eloquent statement condemning our country’s long history of racism, particularly against African Americans, that runs so deep in our society and continues in many manifestations. He highlighted the special role of a Jesuit institution in educating to provide both knowledge that prepares students to address racism and values that make clear the imperative to do so.

I wanted to highlight another dimension that is specific to our mission and community at Fordham Law. As law students and lawyers, we have a special commitment to work toward the principle of equal justice under law – the principle that demands that African Americans are entitled to live safely and without fear; the principle that makes evident that New Yorkers should be able to enjoy the pleasures of Central Park without harassment or fear of arrest. The events of the last weeks reinforce that which is apparent in the string of injustices that continue to happen both here in New York and throughout our nation – much work needs to be done.

The disproportionate suffering borne by communities of color during the current pandemic are a reminder that the impacts of racism infuse our institutions and social structures. It is important to condemn the appalling acts of a police officer in Minnesota and other specific instances, but it is also important to recognize that the problem runs deep and requires broader social transformation. This year alone, at least five black lives were senselessly taken, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Sean Reed, George Floyd, and Tony McDade, and we should remember each one as we seek to address the injustices against them. Too often have we seen the outrage immediately following the loss of a life wain soon thereafter, rather than translate into the pursuit of justice. We have to make sure that our commitment to end this cycle of senseless death endures.

As a Law School, it is our responsibility to foster understanding of not only the successes of our institutions and our democracy, but the failings as well. For unless we understand the shortcomings, it is impossible to move forward. Over the past few days, many across the country have come together in a show of unity against the loss of black lives, and as Fr. McShane wrote, these losses belong to all of us and thus we must confront them. As future lawyers, we have the unique ability and responsibility to not only to condemn the actions of rogue law enforcement officers, but to use our legal training to ensure that those who take the lives of young black and brown men are brought to justice; and on a larger scale, we must work to enact laws and policies to protect young people from marginalized communities so that they no longer suffer the pain of death for doing nothing wrong. We can begin to uphold our responsibilities by committing to having the difficult conversation surrounding issues of racism in our country. We can and must take action based on the ideas and concerns we gather in those discussions. As a community of law students and lawyers, and as a society of individuals, we must act often and always to stop this racist violence in its tracks.

On a personal note, I was deeply saddened when I heard of the death of George Floyd. It was indicative of a bigger societal problem surrounding race relations and asked myself why, as a society, does this keep happening. I was angered by this senseless death, so I can only imagine the anger and sorrow that Mr. Floyd’s death caused our diverse students and our student body as a whole. Although I realize there is little that words can do to console our students during this challenging time, please know that our counseling center, our faculty, administrators and staff, and of course I myself, are all available to listen and to console you. Please know; however, that as Dean, I realize that this statement applies to our own school as well as it does to other institutions in society and that we too as a community have more work to do to ensure full inclusion and to prepare future lawyers to make the ideal of equal justice a reality. To that end, Fordham Law is committed to working to end these injustices.

Warm Regards,

Matthew Diller
Dean and Paul Fuller Professor of Law


Pain & Protest

As I write to you tonight, I am struck by the words of Jason Parham this weekend on WIRED’s website in an article called “Depth of Field: George Floyd and the Illusion of Progress.” He writes:

I am writing this the week that Tony McDade, a black trans man, was fatally shot by police in Tallahassee. I am writing this week after Breonna Taylor, a black EMT, was shot at least eight times by Louisville law enforcement in her apartment. I am writing this months after Ahmaud Arbery was hunted and killed by the McMichaels, a white father and son, in Georgia. (The pair now face murder and aggravated assault charges.) Six years ago during the peak of July, Eric Garner shouted the same haunting arrangement of words that George Floyd chose, which again rattle the mind, our now unholy inauguration to summer.

Tonight’s message comes in that context and also in the painful knowledge that F&M is not immune, not separate, not exempt. We are part of the world. Our students, now and for generations, have not had the freedom from racism—on our campus and in our world—that they fully and unreservedly deserve. That makes us part of the problem. It is tempting for those who want to think forward and fix it to think of our institution as part of the solution, to lean on changes we’ve made in the months since anger and frustration were expressed on our campus in the fall. But so long as people are angry, hurting, and afraid, that progress is not nearly enough. As Parham points out, “We have not come very far. We have so far to go.”

As protests spread across the country following the killing of George Floyd — which follows upon so much that has gone before – I see more and more clearly how important it is not just to feel the outrage but to express it, to name it, to act on it, to say out loud that Black Lives Matter, and especially so because I am a person of privilege. I am sickened by the murder of Mr. Floyd, haunted by his dying words, and outraged by the never-ending stream of injustice and tragedy in this country.

As a white woman, I do not suffer the same inequities. My heart has not been burdened by the same worries for my sons as those suffered by the parents of children of color. I have not been treated unfairly by law enforcement or been given cause, just for walking out my front door in the morning, to fear for my very life. I do not know the depth of that pain, but my indignation grows by the day. There’s a good quotation often attributed to one of F&M’s founders: “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.” What are the questions those with privilege must be asking ourselves and doing about it? How can we extend our humanity to one another? How can we mobilize even those who may still feel unaffected to take the necessary measures so that people of color – our families, our neighbors, our students – can feel safe in their homes, their communities, and their campuses?

What I lack in lived experience I can learn by actively listening, by seeing the reality of what is happening all around us. I, too, am tired of this horrendous inequity and lack of justice for our country, for the young people who come to live and learn and the employees who come to work at the college I am in charge of. For our students, faculty, and staff to be able to concentrate, do their best work, and benefit from every opportunity, they must, first and foremost, feel safe.

As a college president, I am in a position of authority. All across the country, we need leadership to stand up and step up. Franklin & Marshall must achieve higher standards for our own conduct, policies and procedures, and expectations. I am keenly aware of the impatience that members of our community have expressed about progress on our campus. I am grateful that you express it. You are not passive recipients of an F&M education; you are active participants in it, contributing to the circle of lifelong teaching and learning that must involve each of us. I will, and we will, continue to push on this. Our work on issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion has continued because it is critically important. The protests on our campus last fall were and are a rallying cry to move ahead with overdue change. Those changes are never fast enough, and the work will never be fully done. Nonetheless, I will work with dedication every day to move us forward.

There are very specific things that I want and need to happen at F&M, and I will accept no less than this: our students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and neighbors in Lancaster must be able to see, by our actions and not just our words, that we are dedicated to addressing racism, injustice, and inequity. Our progress must move from good intentions to evident reality. You, our students, faculty and staff, must be able to know that I, and the College, have your back.

Expect to hear more from me and from other offices and departments in the coming days and weeks. Right now, I and others are partnering with individuals and organizations to set up a virtual space for discussion and comment. Very soon, please look for information coming about online interview sessions with the finalists for F&M’s inaugural Chief Officer for Diversity & Inclusion, who will be a member of senior staff and report to me. I hope you will participate in those sessions. Also, I and other area college and university presidents are co-authoring an op-ed that I expect to be published soon.

Please be sure to remember that many students and employees may be feeling anxious, distracted, and overwhelmed right now, and please give them grace. You can reach out with a statement of moral support and offer people a safe ear, but give them space if they don’t want to reply.

We’ve been hearing messages from our students full of pain and calls to action. In case you didn’t see it, DipCon’s message provided a list of resources and I encourage you to make use of it:

YWCA Lancaster 24-Hour Confidential Sexual Assault Line: 717-392-7273
Lancaster County Crisis Intervention: 717-394-2631
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741
The Trevor Lifeline (LGBTQ+ Suicide Prevention): 866-4-U-TREVOR (1-866-488-7386)
5 Digital Self Care Tips
When Police Brutality Has You Questioning Humanity and Social Media Is Enough

The Lancaster NAACP issued a statement yesterday in which President Blanding Watson announced that they will be hosting their next Virtual Town Hall on Police and Criminal Justice Engagement next Thursday at 6 p.m. It will be accessible via the NAACP – Lancaster PA Facebook page, and all members of the general public are invited.

We often say that F&M is a place where you can find your voice. Please use yours now. Perhaps most importantly, vote. Connect with friends and mentors. Write an op-ed for submission to a media outlet or letters to your area legislators and government officials. Across the nation tonight, protests continue and took place in Lancaster today. If you use your voice to participate in protest, please stay safe. We miss you here.

Barbara K. Altmann, Ph.D.


Professor of French

Franklin & Marshall College

MAY 31, 2020by Tom Evelyn, VP for University Communications

Dear Campus Community,

Even though we can’t be together in person right now because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we ask that you come together with us in spirit to reflect and take action on behalf of the Furman community. Over the past few weeks a number of incidents of racial violence have shaken our country. We have watched in horror and with deep sadness as Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd were killed at the hands of police or neighborhood vigilantes.

These killings are the latest in a continual litany of macro-aggressions and racial profiling of African Americans. Police action as a weapon against African Americans is particularly egregious given the disproportionate numbers of African Americans who are arrested and convicted via our criminal justice system and the mounting numbers who have been killed as a form of state-sanctioned violence. This perpetuates a racialized privilege and threatens the physical, mental and emotional health of African American citizens.

As a university, we recently undertook a close examination of our institutional ties to slavery, segregation and injustice. In doing so, we uncovered a history of white supremacy among Furman’s early leaders that lasted well into the second half of the 20th century in South Carolina and across the country. We shared what we learned and have taken steps to more fully tell our story, including recognizing and honoring those who helped build and change Furman.

But the events of the past few weeks remind us that we – at Furman and across our country – need to do so much more. Continued violence, as well as health care disparities revealed by the pandemic, have again laid bare the stark, systemic and institutional realities of racial injustice in America that says through words and actions that black lives are expendable.

At Furman, it is important for our entire community to understand that these circumstances have affected many of our African American students, faculty and staff in countless ways, reflecting a burden carried by many African Americans who fear for their lives and wonder if justice and equality will ever be realized. With this in mind, we ask that each of us takes time to reflect on this moment to consider the collective trauma experienced by the African American community.

Our request is that the Furman community not turn away. Instead, we must confront this moment with a spirit of empathy and an ethic of caring, but also with a conviction and a call to collective action. As a community, do we understand what it’s like to be an African American student, faculty or staff member? Have we asked or otherwise sought to understand? And, if we collectively knew the answers, would they lead us to say or do things differently?

We must recommit ourselves to acknowledging racism and to working with African American students, faculty, staff and others in our community in ways that are affirming, supportive and understanding of the cultural trauma they have experienced. In confronting an uncomfortable truth, our hope is that we can have a stronger understanding of what it takes to build a beloved community, where equity and inclusion permeate all that we are and all that we do.


Elizabeth Davis, President

Connie Carson, Vice President for Student Life

Jason Donnelly, Athletics Director

Tom Evelyn, Vice President for University Communications

Meredith Green, General Counsel

Mike Hendricks, Vice President for Enrollment Management

Michael Jennings, Chief Diversity Officer

Susan Maddux, Vice President for Finance and Administration

Heidi Hansen McCrory, Vice President for Development

Ken Peterson, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

Liz Seman, Chief of Staff and Liaison to the Board of Trustees

Dave Steinour, Chief Information Officer

From: Office of the President <[email protected]>
Date: Sun, May 31, 2020 at 1:35 PM
Subject: Confronting Racism

Georgetown University
Office of the President

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Dear Members of the Georgetown University Community:

In recent weeks my communication with you has focused on the global pandemic and how we—as a Georgetown University community—are working our way through the challenges generated by a virus that has created a degree of dislocation and disequilibrium unlike any we have experienced in our lifetimes. In just three horrific months, one in four Americans has become unemployed and is looking for work. More than a hundred thousand people in our country have lost their lives to COVID-19. Our individual and collective routines and rhythms have all been disrupted. Although we are now beginning our tentative first steps toward a re-opening (under conditions of great uncertainty), we know we have much to do to rebuild our nation.

In the midst of this devastating experience, the original fault line of our republic has been exposed once again for the nation. We grieve the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia as unconscionable acts of violence. Their deaths, and subsequent nationwide protests, once again present our country—and each one of us—with the imperative to confront the enduring legacy of slavery and segregation in America.

On too many occasions over the years, there has been cause for me to share reflections with our community, as we grapple with the devastating impact of racism and hatred in our nation. In August 2014, following the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; in December 2015, following the grand jury decision in the killing of Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York; in August 2017, following the march of white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia. In these moments, which encompass far from the full extent of experiences of racism and racist violence, I have tried to frame the work in which we must engage within the mission and purpose of the Academy. Our role in society—to pursue the truth—through the methodologies and disciplines through which we establish knowledge in our world, demands our engagement. In our response, we have sought to accelerate our academic commitment to addressing racial justice, and to address our own connection to the institution of slavery and the enduring legacy of racism and to undo the structural elements that sustain this legacy.

We know this legacy is sustained by two elements: first, it is sustained by our own interiority—our beliefs and attitudes, our biases and prejudices, our ways of interpreting and making meaning in our world. Perhaps this element is unconscious, implicit, and unintentional, but it is nevertheless omnipresent and fundamentally influential. We also know that the very ideas of race and subsequently of racism are social constructs, the product of early American scholarship, developed and nurtured in order to justify the institution of slavery.

The second element consists of institutional structures that perpetuate inequity and inequality. Consider what we have seen since mid-March with the pandemic caused by COVID-19: African Americans in our country have been hit disproportionately hard by COVID-19.

A study by amfAR—the Foundation for AIDS Research, done in collaboration with colleagues at our O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, indicates that 22% of U.S. counties are “disproportionately black” and that these counties “account for 52% [of COVID-19 cases] and 58% [of COVID-19 deaths].” In a recent column, Michele L. Norris of the Washington Post indicated:

  • “Blacks comprise 32 percent of Chicago’s population but nearly 70 percent of covid-19 deaths.”
  • “Blacks comprise 26 percent of Milwaukee’s population but account for 73 percent of covid-19 deaths.”
  • “Blacks account for 40 percent of covid-19 deaths in Michigan even though they represent just 14 percent of the state’s population.”
  • “In Louisiana blacks make up 32 percent of the state’s population but 70 percent of those who have died because of the virus.”

For the members of the Georgetown University community, this evidence of structural injustice in healthcare has animated the work of many of our colleagues for decades. Recently, through the work of our colleague, Professor Christopher King, PhD, we have a deeper grasp of the health disparities here in our nation’s capital. His 2016 report, The Health of the African American Community in the District of Columbia: Disparities and Recommendations provided a comprehensive presentation of the realities here in the District. In the coming days, a second report, Health Disparities in the Black Community: An Imperative for Racial Equity in the District of Columbia, will be released. Professor King calls us to the work of achieving the day “when race is no longer a predictor of a health outcome.”

There are other structures—economic, educational, housing, criminal justice—that sustain inequity and inequality that are the enduring legacy of our American history. Coming out of these past three months, we know we have a nation to rebuild. We need to find ways to put forty million Americans back into the workforce and we must still contain a virus that remains a lethal threat to all of us. At the same time, we cannot return to a status quo that leaves inequity and inequality in place. As part of that determination, we must address the conditions that lead to the senseless and indefensible loss of life of our fellow citizens. We need to confront the violence that shapes the daily experiences of far too many, who expect so much more of us, as a people. We need to listen to the anger, the pain, the trauma that accompanies our failure to meet these expectations.

This requires the work of each of us and of all of us. Individually, in each of our own interiority, we must determine how we contribute to perpetuating injustice and sustaining structures that cannot continue and that now must be reimagined. And, for us in our shared membership in this Georgetown University community, it remains for us in the Academy to contribute to this work of reimagining the social, political, economic and moral structures to ensure justice for all—and especially for those for whom it has been too long denied.


John J. DeGioia

From: Joel Hellman
Date: June 17, 2020 at 6:13:35 PM EDT
Subject: A Call to Action on Global Anti-Racism

Dear Members of the SFS Community,

Today I received a resounding call from the SFS community to commit to global anti-racism as a core principle of our school. The call was signed by more than 700 students and over 100 faculty and staff with many more apparently ready to sign before it was closed. Our SFS community is united in recognizing that we as a school have not done enough to understand the forces that perpetuate racism and injustice around the world and to promote action to combat racism and injustice around the world. We can do better. We must do more. As Dean, I fully support the goal of making racial justice a foundational principle of the second century of SFS.

Moving from the call to action to real changes that advance anti-racism will be hard work, especially now as the pandemic reshapes everything we have come to know about a college campus. It will require concrete proposals for change that come organically from the lived experience within our community. It will require decisions about resources at a time when resources are scarce. It will require the engagement of our entire community to confront our own responsibility for sustaining a global order built upon inequality. It is hard work for all of us, but we must do it to stay true to the values for which this school was created.

I look forward to receiving proposals for concrete actions from the ad-hoc working group that organized the call. I also welcome proposals for concrete actions from other groups of concerned students, staff and faculty. Some students have already come forward with specific proposals and many of our programs and centers have been actively engaged in this effort already. I will seek a platform for disseminating these proposals and soliciting feedback so that everyone in the SFS community has an opportunity to have their voice heard on these critical issues. I will report back to you on our progress as we move forward.

The pain of the murders of George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, and the broader recognition of the entrenched racism and injustice in our institutions, has galvanized the SFS community to look at our own institution with a new commitment to recognizing our responsibility for these outcomes. I am ready to engage with you on the hard work ahead.

Stay well,

Joel Hellman

From: Joel Hellman
Date: Tue, Jun 30, 2020 at 6:10 PM
Subject: Call to Action on Global Racism

I hope you all saw the exchange that we had on the Call to Action signed by so many of our faculty, staff and students. I had a chance to meet an ad-hoc group of faculty members who forwarded a set of recommended actions as a follow up, which I attach below. This is an excellent starting point for action that I am fully committed to pursue.

I know that several individual MA programs have received similar appeals from students. While I recognize that each part of our community should look inwards and see what everyone of us can do to move from solidarity to action, there may also be things we can do at the school level that might address some portion of the concerns expressed at the program level.

As recommended by the ad-hoc group, I have submitted a proposal to create a Vice Dean for Equity and Inclusion from within our faculty who could serve to facilitate our work across the school. As you might imagine, there are quite a few hoops to jump over in the current environment, but I am committed to doing it. Hopefully if we can move forward quickly on this, there will be someone to support our actions across the school.

I have also established an internal collaborative web page where we could post the various calls to actions, solicit and compare recommendations for action from across our community, and track our progress. I would appreciate if you could send to Will Layman, any documents that might have come from within your programs and once the page is up and running, Will will share the details.

I also recognize that many of our programs have already been working on these issues at the school level that we must take full advantage of. Carla Koppell of GIWPS has been leading a great effort among schools of international affairs, called the University Leadership Council, to collect best practices across the schools. ACMCU has already announced a set of Global Anti-Racism Fellowships in direct response to the call to action. The Mortara Center is already engaged in a fascinating series of talks on Remapping IR. And there are many more initiatives across all of our programs. We need to build on this work and go much further.

Before each program responds to the various program-specific calls to action, I suggest we devote a share of the next directors meeting to see what we can do collectively (in addition to the small matter of discussing our plans for the Fall). I wanted to give you the heads up as I know that many of you are in the throes of thinking through your own responses.

All best,


Agenda for Change: Global Anti-Racism at the Walsh School of Foreign Service

The School of Foreign Service (SFS) is rightly concerned with systemic racism in the United States. We also recognize that systemic racism is not disconnected from international relations theory and practice. As many critical scholars of race have detailed, the transatlantic slave trade and colonialism have produced racial thinking and racism all over the world , making it a central component for how global cultural, political, and economic inequalities continue to be produced into the present. These realities require actionable steps toward diversifying the SFS’s 1)Curriculum, 2) Faculty, and 3) Admissions.

On Sunday June 14, 2020 we circulated a call to our SFS community to Commit to Global Anti-Racism . Within three days, over 800 members of our community signed on to this commitment. Before us now is the work of laying out an agenda to live up to this commitment.

We were delighted to learn that other groups are working along similar lines, and we look forward to connecting this “agenda for change” with theirs, to make sure we move forward together.

1) Curriculum : Every student who enters SFS at any level will learn about Georgetown’s history of slave-owning and the university’s commitments to make reparations for this history. It should serve as a starting point for broader curriculum changes that further examine race in a global context.

a) Review the SFS Core Curriculum with the goal of centering global anti-racism in the different fields represented in the SFS. Involve diverse students, staff, and faculty in this review.

b) Require reading the Working Group Report on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation upon entering SFS in proseminars as freshmen and orientation for graduate students.

c) Develop a cross-SFS faculty seminar in which all fields or majors and graduate programs report on how they are conceptualizing global anti-racism along with recommended methods of curricular implementation.

d) Create one core requirement dedicated to the study of global race and racisms.

e) Recognize teaching in a diverse classroom within SFS merit review.

2) Faculty : Educating for global racism requires investment in a diverse faculty, as well as intellectual breadth and methodological diversity among our faculty and core curriculum. The “Global Anti-Racism Initiative” commits to diversifying the administration and faculty while developing a research agenda that foregrounds how race operates in political systems, economics, development, humanitarianism, and other core areas of SFS education.

a) Train faculty, staff, and all educators in anti-racist and feminist pedagogy.

b) Create a new position for a rotating Vice Dean of Equity and Inclusion in the SFS, chosen from the faculty.

c) Establish the “Global Anti-Racism Initiative” for faculty, research, and development:

i) Review all vacant faculty lines towards the on-going project of diversifying the faculty and curriculum in line with the SFS Global Anti-Racism Core Principle.

ii) Hire diverse, underrepresented scholars of color for faculty lines that are already approved, once the hiring freeze is lifted.

iii) Reward faculty for mentorship and service that facilitate diversity and social justice work; this includes the disproportionate advising and mentoring load carried by faculty of color and women. Compensation could include a course release, awarding additional merit points, summer funding, etc.

iv) Institute cluster hire(s) in global anti-racism interdisciplinary research :

1) Critical Race Theory and International Relations

2) Racial Capitalism

3) Global Race, Migration, and Violence

4) Environment, Racism, and the Planet

5) Imperial Past and Present, Indigenous Sovereignty & Survivance

6) Global Race, Technology, and Surveillance

v) Develop the “Next Century Global Anti-Racism Scholars Program” : SFS will establish teaching and research post-doctoral fellowships open to first generation college students, graduates of minority-serving institutions (e.g., HBCUs), and international students who otherwise would not receive such opportunities (due to financial or political instability in their home countries). By supporting these scholars, SFS will become a leader in the training of a more diverse and representative international affairs community.

vi) Fulfill the commitment to establish the Racial Justice Institute and prioritize a partnership with SFS focused on global anti-racism : SFS agrees to commit significant resources to the institute so that it can serve as a secondary “home” for post-docs and cluster hires, produce working papers and policy briefs on global anti-racism, invite scholars from around the world to share their work, and develop pedagogical tools that signal SFS as an emerging leader in global anti-racist policy, pedagogy, and practice.

3) Admissions : Implicit and explicit biases in admissions affect who makes up our student body.

a) Train those involved in admissions--including but not limited to staff, alumni in the Alumni Admissions Program, and Georgetown Admissions Ambassador Program (GAAP)--to recognize their own biases, and how these biases influence the choices they make and discussions they have about admissions decisions.

b) Waive or eliminate standardized test requirements that heavily disadvantage non-white students in the admissions process.

c) Actively recruit and fund students of color from public schools in the US, and especially in DC, and promote transfers from community colleges to the SFS.

d) Remove legacy admissions as this long standing practice reproduces whiteness, classism, and global inequality.

From: Scott Taylor <[email protected]>
Date: Wed, Sep 9, 2020
Subject: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the SFS

Dear Members of the SFS Community:

Just a few weeks ago, I began my tenure as the inaugural Vice Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in SFS, a position established by Dean Joel Hellman as part of his commitment to making global antiracism a core principle of the SFS. I look forward to working with the dean and all members of the SFS community to embed this principle in our curriculum, our institutional culture, and in our composition.

Like so many others in our community, I was deeply shaken by the events in this country that have driven thousands into the streets this summer, particularly the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and more recently, the shooting of Jacob Blake. These tragedies were a collective manifestation of the casual devaluation of Black lives, shaking this nation to its core and leading to many outward expressions of both searing outrage and heartwarming solidarity. The events also forced many institutions, including the SFS, to look inward: to better understand our institutional failures when it comes to race and inclusion, as well as to appreciate the transformational role a school like SFS can play. As noted in the Call to Action first voiced by my faculty colleagues and amplified by Dean Hellman, the next generation of global leaders will not be not served by the status quo. Thus, the SFS must be at the forefront of scholarship and practices that respond to structural inequalities. Indeed, our school’s founding creed insists on a dedication to justice, to conscience, and to morality, so that we can achieve a more peaceful and equitable world. By standing for racial justice, we honor that commitment and empower the future global leaders we seek to educate, including those who have been excluded for too long.

In the past few weeks, I have had the opportunity to hear from students, faculty and staff in the SFS, as well as from many alumni. In addition, I have begun to form partnerships with the many administrators and units across the University whose work deals with addressing racism, bias and other forms of discrimination. The work already being undertaken by concerned members of our SFS community is downright impressive and inspiring. DEI committees have sprung up across the School, not as mere window dressing, but as meaningful efforts at self-examination and toward the enactment of a truly antiracist agenda. Individual faculty members are revisiting their syllabi and courses, discovering the gaps on race, diverse authorship and perspectives and realizing, at long last, that inclusion does not mean the dilution of intellectual content, but the enrichment of it. Centers and programs in the SFS are instituting robust efforts to diversify their student bodies, their curriculums and their programming. We are awakening, slowly, and newly sensitized to the needs of historically marginalized students. Students are organizing, too, in impressive ways to effect changes in the School’s climate, admissions policies, and the SFS curriculum. Staff members are pursuing opportunities for training and dialogues to make the SFS a better, more welcoming and more inclusive place to work.

Across the SFS, I see emerging best practices that can be honed and shared with the entire community, including great ideas such as DEI liaisons, syllabus evaluations, diversified advisory boards, enhanced recruitment of students locally and at HBCUs and similar institutions, concrete approaches diversifying faculty searches, clear bias reporting guidelines, enhanced networks for students and alumni of color in international affairs fields, and many others. As these and other results-oriented initiatives reveal, antiracism is an active project.

As Vice Dean, my role is to ensure that we coordinate and collaborate in order to effect meaningful, lasting change in the SFS. We cannot be complacent. We cannot let this momentum dissipate. My job is to help build an SFS-wide infrastructure that enables us to sustain the impressive efforts already underway and embed antiracism as a core principle, as Dean Hellman has charged us. As we engage in this critically important work, I look forward to updating the community on our progress. Moreover, I invite all members of our community to partner with us: join one of the initiatives mentioned above within the Centers and Programs; participate in the faculty, staff or student committees now engaged with DEI; or reach out to us directly. Eventually, we expect to have a website that will serve as the main avenue of communication on SFS DEI issues. In the meantime, should you have any questions or concerns, or wish to share suggestions, please contact [email protected].

Our aim is nothing less than to make the SFS a better place, true to its mission, true to its ideals. In doing so, we enhance the School, the nation, and the world around us.

Sincere best wishes,

Scott Taylor


Scott D. Taylor, Ph.D.

Vice Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Professor, African Studies Program

Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service

A Call for the School of Foreign Service to Commit to Global Anti-Racism as a Core Principle

In capitals across the world, protesters have joined Black Lives Matter and communities of color in the United States to resoundingly call for a new global order premised on racial justice. At this historical turning point, the School of Foreign Service (SFS) should affirm its commitment to racial justice by making it a foundational principle and enacting concrete changes toward its achievement. We invite the SFS to reflect on how racism is embedded in the foundation of our university, starting with Georgetown’s legacy of slavery. SFS holds the promise of rejecting a global order built on inequality. However, it has fallen short. For racial justice to be prioritized, the school must confront how whiteness informs its underlying values, guiding everything from how financial decisions are made to the students who are admitted, the faculty that are hired, and the classes that are taught. It can address these shortfalls by committing to racial justice as a core component of its curriculum, admissions process, and future hiring. The next generation of leaders are not served by the status quo. Rather, the SFS should advance scholarship and practices that respond to structural inequalities that have long shaped the modern world. By standing for racial justice, the SFS will inspire commitments to global service that truly reflect the transformative potential of cura personalis.

(As of 9/11/2020: This has been signed by 126 faculty & staff and 734 students & alums)

Statement on George Floyd

Posted: May 31, 2020 11:12am

Like many of you, I have struggled to process the senseless, heartbreaking killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis. It is hard not to see a pattern of violence against black people when this tragic death comes on the heels of Ahmaud Arbery’s shooting right here in Georgia, Breonna Taylor’s in Kentucky, and so many others before them across our country. I acknowledge the pain many members of our community are feeling, and I stand in solidarity with our African American brothers and sisters and all people of goodwill, as we find a path forward.

There is much soul-searching we need to do as a society. We all share in the responsibility to deliver on our foundational belief that all people are created equal and are endowed with the same fundamental rights. While we demand change from those with the power to enact it, we must also ask what each of us can do to make good on that promise. And that includes all of us at Georgia Tech.

For the past few months, we have worked together on a new vision of inclusion, public service, and impact. That vision requires that we open the doors of opportunity to more people of underrepresented backgrounds. That we reduce barriers of access that still persist and that have nothing to do with talent. That we reject the status quo and do better. That we listen to and work with our students to create a more inclusive environment where people of all backgrounds can learn and grow. That we educate students who can think critically about the society we live in and can lead us to a better place.

As scholars and researchers, we need to ask ourselves how the science and technology we advance and the theories and solutions we propose help all of us live better lives. As alumni and leaders in business and society, we need to hold ourselves to a higher standard of equal opportunity, inclusivity, and impact.

Last September, we had the privilege to meet, listen to, and honor the first four African American students in the Institute’s history. That day helped me better appreciate our long struggle to become more just and inclusive — and how, by being more just and inclusive, we have become much stronger. Today, we must reflect on how much further we have to go.

I encourage all of us at Georgia Tech to be true to our motto of Progress and Service, to deliver on our mission to develop leaders who advance technology and improve the human condition. Those aren’t just words on a page. We have a responsibility to our campus community, to our local community, and to our nation to help change our world for the better. We have a responsibility to empower and include more people, backgrounds, and perspectives in the process.

Dear Members of the Gettysburg College Community,

Eight minutes and forty-six seconds.

For eight minutes and forty-six seconds, a white Minnesota police offer, Derek Chauvin, pressed his knee forcefully and brutally against the neck of a black man, George Floyd, until—lying face down upon the pavement—he gasped his last breath, as others stood by and did nothing. Video shows that Chauvin did not relent even after Floyd had lost consciousness. He continued to pin his weight against Floyd’s motionless body for a full minute after paramedics arrived at the scene.

Every day, black and brown people around this country are subjected to acts of racism—actions that strip them of their most basic humanity. As a College dedicated to making a difference in our world, we must do more to call out racism whenever we see it and to work towards implementing the necessary structural changes at our College, in our government, and in our society to eradicate this pandemic that has lasted more than 400 years. This essential work begins here, on our campus, with every one of us.

You will soon hear more from me, President Iuliano, and others about how we as a community can prepare our students for this work and, equally, examine and improve our own institutional practices and behaviors.

Today, the NAACP is calling for a National Day of Mourning in recognition of George Floyd’s funeral. Beginning at 3:45 p.m., I ask you to consider joining me in observing an eight-minute and forty-six-second moment of silence. It offers a time to reflect upon the weight carried by black people and other people of color who for generations have been forced to live and to learn on society’s margins, and to commit to bettering our own College through our individual and collective voices, experiences, and most importantly, our actions.


Jeanne Arnold
Chief Diversity Officer

Dear Members of the Gettysburg College Community,

A week ago, I shared with you an email in response to the horrific killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis as a result of police brutality. As we all grappled with what the video of the incident laid bare, I sought to offer our community a moment of reflection. In the days that followed, I listened as our students and alumni voiced their own lived experiences of racism and other forms of injustice and inequality, not only in our broader society, but also here at Gettysburg College, as members of this learning environment.

These painful accounts—from black and underrepresented members of our community—underscore that our College is not exempt from the rhetoric and behaviors that have devalued and dehumanized people of color in this country throughout its history. The deepest wounds we endure in life are often the ones inflicted by those we trusted. In the cases of our students and alumni who shared their stories—and those who did not but who have similar experiences—you have every right to expect better of us. Let me be clear: Black lives matter. I am grateful for your willingness to bring these experiences into the light and to advocate for change on our campus. Gettysburg College must do more. We must be better.

As I have emphasized since my arrival on campus, we have a responsibility to ensure that every member of this community has a full voice, has full membership, and has the full opportunity to do their best work. This requires a safe and supportive environment. It also means ensuring that the worth and dignity of every person of color at this College is respected and affirmed. Every educational institution owes its members that responsibility because it is both right and necessary; we have a special responsibility given the history of this institution and the values of racial justice that it demands. The College has worked hard on these issues in recent years, but we must redouble our efforts, and, as president, that commitment begins with me. It is going to take more than any single College organization or group to bring about the change we need on our campus and beyond; it will require action by all of us, guided by our mission and fortified by our commitment to justice. This is what we must expect of ourselves and of one another. I am devoted to leading this charge, and to holding us accountable for tangible progress.

Steps to progress

On Thursday, I received an open letter from Gettysburg alumni urging action. I am grateful to the signatories for raising their voices and challenging us to grow. The letter offered a number of thoughts about the hard conversations we need to have and ways to advance the priorities before us. Given the urgency of this work, it is important that we not only pursue new initiatives, but that we also build upon other key community initiatives—many of which also were noted in our alumni recommendations—that were launched or have progressed since the start of my tenure at the College last July.

For example, in the coming year we will be conducting a comprehensive review of the Gettysburg curriculum to ensure that we continue to prepare students as effectively as possible for a rapidly changing and interconnected world. Our current curriculum includes an Informed Citizenship goal which prescribes two cultural diversity course requirements. It is critical that the review process goes back to first principles and reimagines how the Gettysburg curriculum will help broaden students’ understanding of diversity, racism, and marginalization.

In addition to our focus on a diversified and culturally responsive curriculum, we also are taking strides in diversifying our tenure-track faculty, most notably through the efforts of our Inclusion Partner Program, the conversion of two Gondwe Fellow positions to tenure-track positions, and a recent $800,000 Mellon Grant, which resulted in the hiring of five new tenure-track faculty from diverse backgrounds. The Mellon Grant also afforded us resources to substantially revise existing courses and create new courses that demonstrate the incorporation of diversity and inclusion efforts. To date, 25 courses have been reimagined or newly-created thanks to this grant.

We recognize, of course, that our students do not spend all of their time in the classroom. There is essential social, cultural, and intellectual development that occurs outside of traditional curricular settings as well. To that end, as we look to the semester ahead, the College is working on opportunities that will focus on helping community members navigate, bridge, and find strength from difference. For example, we have a team working on a plan that will update our First-Year Orientation programs with a focus on bias in our campus community, ensuring that all new members joining our community are aware of our expectations. Additionally, our Greek Life system has implemented new programs and initiatives over the last three years including dialogues hosted by the College and the Greek Life Equity and Inclusion Committee; mandatory education for chapter and council leadership on topics such as implicit bias, bias prevention, and cultural competency, including the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI); and, mandatory attendance at workshops and programs focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion for all new members.

These curricular and co-curricular initiatives are not a comprehensive list of the efforts we have undertaken to make Gettysburg a more dynamic and inclusive place. Nor are they by any means sufficient. We have much to do to ensure our investments and commitments are authentically felt by all of our members—across all dimensions of our education—and that they make a real difference in the day-to-day lives of our students.

Moving forward

As we move forward, I have asked our Bias Awareness Resource Committee (BARC) and Campus Climate Study Implementation Group to work together, starting by understanding the stories and ideas brought to the fore by our community. Among the areas I have asked to be studied, and to receive recommendations by July 31, 2020 on means of improvement, are:

  • The tools and resources we provide faculty to educate, mentor, and advise an increasingly diverse student body.
  • College protocols for bias incidents between all constituencies—on campus, in the local community, and beyond.
  • Campus programming and events, and specifically whether they are inclusive for underrepresented populations, and prove intentional in their education on social issues and their commitment to bridging difference through open and honest dialogue.
  • The ways in which we enhance awareness and understanding among students, faculty, administrators, staff, and senior leadership at the College, and whether to establish a required bias incident education module.

We also will be establishing a new Inclusive Excellence in Teaching Award, given annually to a Gettysburg College faculty member who personifies our community aspirations. I have asked the groups mentioned above to assess any steps necessary to have the award given beginning next academic year.

As noted in my letter from last week, I have convened a group of diverse students to advise me and the College on how we can advance our commitment to the work of belonging and inclusion. I will continue to benefit from that group’s advice and wisdom, and anticipate bringing together this group, together with some alumni of color, to broaden our perspectives and base of experience.

This more immediate work will be followed by a host of intermediate- and long-term objectives currently in discussion at College. The Diversity and Inclusion Office will soon be in touch regarding how you can add your voice and perspective to this planning. The completion of this near-term work will lead into our second Campus Climate Study in the spring of 2021, which will equip our Diversity and Inclusion Office, as well as our senior leadership team, with the data and insights necessary to add to our intermediate- and long-term strategies designed to heighten our standards for diversity, inclusion, and belonging.

In the spirit of advancing this work, and on the heels of our latest Current Issues Dialogue—hosted by the Office of Multicultural Engagement (OME)—I was heartened to see that our Black Student Union, alongside our alumni, will come together to support one another and to rally for change at a meeting later today. I also encourage our community members to participate in a Candlelight Vigil for Peace tonight at 7 p.m., hosted by the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life. And, finally, please explore our Musselman Library diversity and inclusion guide if you are interested in readings on these important topics.

I also want to remind our community that the robust activities we had planned for the spring are being rescheduled and updated for the fall. We will share more information with you once event details have been finalized.

I believe in this community and in our potential to make a difference in the world. We must all be accountable for instilling and sustaining fundamental change, as we redefine our hopes as shared expectations. As voices across the world have rightly made clear, these issues will not be resolved through words alone. It will take concrete action, determination, and a renewed and unrelenting sense of urgency. I ask that you, and our entire Gettysburg College community, join me in undertaking this meaningful and long-overdue work.


Bob Iuliano

Dear Grand Valley Community:

The words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. are a clarion call as we reflect on our individual and collective responsibility to our Black community, following the reprehensible killing of George Floyd and the ongoing racial and social injustice that exits in our society. “If you wait for the right time, chances are that you might never find it,” Dr. King said. “You must do it now, it is now or it is never, and for the right thing, delay is its worst enemy.” For Grand Valley State University, and for me, that time is now.

As an institution that educates the next generation of leaders, we will fail them, our communities and ourselves if we do not act when we know that more than words are expected of us. Learn. Understand. Act. Lead. These are the standards against which we must be measured.

During the past several weeks, the university’s senior leadership team and I have been working to assess where we are and where we need to go. We are facing two viruses: COVID-19, where racialized health outcomes have become even more apparent, and systemic racism, which underscores for Black members of our community that equal justice under law is all too often not equal. We acknowledge the hurt, anger, fear, and distrust that many of our Black faculty, staff, students, and administrators must feel. We also acknowledge that the well-being of our entire community rests on fulfilling the elemental promise that every member of our campus community is welcomed, supported, respected, and valued.

Our Charge

  • We must elevate the voices and experiences of our Black faculty, staff, and students.
  • We must listen carefully, valuing each member of our community.
  • We must fulfill our goals for inclusion and equity.
  • We must all deepen our understanding and knowledge through education.
  • We must then use this knowledge as the basis for understanding and addressing institutional and systemic racism and oppression to make meaningful change.

To that end, I am today announcing the first of several action steps that will support this charge for social and racial justice, ensure that our own house is in order, and assist the greater community with its undertakings. I realize some actions will take time, but I expect all to act with thoughtfulness and urgency. Each action identifies someone to hold us accountable to ensure progress toward implementation, improvements, and/or changes.

  • I am appointing a campus-wide network of advisors to allow broad input and commitment and ensures Black faculty, staff, students, and alumni voices are elevated to the highest level of engagement with me and all university senior leaders leading the work outlined below. I have asked George Grant, Dean of the College of Community and Public Service, to convene and facilitate this network along with Vice President for Inclusion, Equity, and Presidential Initiatives Jesse Bernal. The network will examine previous institutional recommendations as well as consider new opportunities for improving campus climate and equity for Black members of our community and other underrepresented communities.
  • I am appointing a Grand Valley Campus Safety task force to review current policing practices and recommend any needed change. I have asked Vice President for Finance and Administration Greg Sanial, Vice President Bernal, Dean Grant, and GVPD Chief Brandon DeHaan to identify and work with a diverse group of scholars and community members to advance this important action-focused review that will include interagency agreements.
  • Associate Vice President for Human Resources Maureen Walsh is charged to identify opportunities and look to implement the formation of greater and clearer promotional, developmental, and recruitment pathways for employees of color.
  • Vice President Bernal is charged with identifying structural changes and opportunities that strengthen accountability across the organization for leadership and supervisors in advancing inclusion and equity, including in our recruitment, evaluation, and promotion processes, campus climate metrics, and their own education.
  • I am instituting a universal training for all members of our university community to enable each of us to build the necessary understanding, knowledge, and skills for social justice, power, privilege, and anti-racism. The Division of Inclusion and Equity, Human Resources, and the Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center will be responsible for the program and our network of advisors will assist us in shaping the most meaningful experiences. All appointing officers, including the deans, vice presidents, and I, will fully participate.
  • Because of COVID-19, three important actions have been slowed. As all demonstrate direct impact for our underrepresented communities, we will move forward swiftly as the fall approaches. This includes: hiring a university ombuds, finalizing a salary equity study, and issuing final recommendations for the 2019 campus climate study with plans to reassess next year.

Academic Enhancements

  • Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs and Provost Maria Cimitile is committed to leading work together with the University Academic Senate Chair Professor Felix Ngassa, and Vice Chair Shawn Bultsma, to explore ways we can expand education for our students and one another on the forces of systemic racism, with an eye to ensuring every graduate deepens their understanding of social justice and racial equity through a Grand Valley experience.
  • Provost Cimitile and Dean Grant, along with the university’s Criminal Justice and Social Work programs, will embrace the opportunity for the GVSU Police Academy to lead the way in enhancing public safety education with more robust requirements for diversity, inclusion, and de-escalation.

Student Support

  • Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Loren Rullman and Associate Vice President for Inclusion and Student Support Marlene Kowalski-Braun are charged with supporting Student Senate in its development of peer-to-peer learning and other initiatives.
  • Upon his arrival in July, Vice President for Enrollment Development B. Donta Truss will be charged with developing an even more aggressive program for the recruitment and retention of students of color that will be undergirded by policies that remove barriers to access. A new strategic enrollment management plan will be developed with strategies and initiatives with the bold goal of removing all equity gaps.
  • Under the leadership of Associate Vice President Michelle Rhodes and Vice President for University Development Karen Loth, the university’s financial aid program will be expanded to include a racial equity scholarship in honor of the Black lives that have been lost due to racialized violence. Students who demonstrate a commitment to social justice and racial equity may be eligible.

Leading a National Dialogue

  • When social distancing requirements allow it, Vice President Truss will bring his experience and passion to host a national conversation on the need for racial equity, the disproportionate impact on male-identified Black members of our community, and how it can be strengthened in an institution and community that is historically white through a Black Male Symposium on campus. This convening, and extensions from it, will confront other transformative institutional and systemic responsibilities we have for our diverse Black community, including female-identified and transgender members. This symposium will inform K-12 and postsecondary educators, education adjacent leaders and organizations, non-profits, business and community leaders on the necessary equitable ecosystem that must be created to best serve our Black community.

Strengthening our Commitment to Grand Rapids

  • We also have a special obligation to the City of Grand Rapids which hosts nearly half of the university’s enrollment and many of our public service degree programs. We will commit university talent and resources to the City’s development of a new youth employment program – GRow1000 – a commitment to provide paid employment to at least 1,000 Grand Rapids youth ages 15-21 this summer with priority to those neighborhoods and zip codes which have been most heavily impacted by disproportionate outcomes, including from COVID-19.
  • I will waive all financial requirements for Pell-eligible students in the City’s high schools for enrollment in Grand Valley’s new Math Advantage Program for rising high school seniors and college-bound high school graduates. Success in this gateway program will help to improve college readiness and retention which disproportionately impacts our communities of color.

Grand Valley has a long-history of work to advance inclusion and equity. Today, I am committing us to double down on our efforts to ensure our words are not rhetoric, but rather forces for institutional change. We have started a new website to keep the university apprised as efforts continue and additional actions are identified at www.gvsu.edu/inclusion/action.

I welcome your input to this agenda of action, listening never stops. We will be calling on you to help with many facets. When you hear from me and the others leaders identified in this email, say “yes.”

With gratitude and hope,

Philomena V. Mantella

“Remaining Awake During a Revolution”

The brutal killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and countless others against the backdrop of the disparate impact of the coronavirus on Black communities across the United States has awakened this country. In October 1967, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke on Grinnell College’s campus about “Remaining Awake During a Revolution.” It should not have taken a revolution to wake us up. We must continually recommit ourselves to challenge systemic racism, anti-blackness, and white supremacy by interrogating our history and changing the future. This is our work now and always.

Over the past week, President Raynard Kington, Dean Anne Harris, and many others shared messages with our community. We acknowledge that Grinnell College has a lot of work to do around racial justice and that these messages came too late for too many. In our commitment to sustain the anti-racist work of our community, the College has developed a plan of action, which we are eager to share:

The College will make a contribution of $50,000 to Black Lives Matter to support the fight for freedom, liberation, and justice. Many Grinnellians have been inspired by Opal Tometi, co-founder of Black Lives Matter and executive director at the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, who participated in Grinnell College programming in spring 2017, including her incredible presentation of the Scholars' Convocation lecture. President Kington is making this allocation from the president’s discretionary fund as his last allocation from this fund.

In collaboration with community partners, the College will be setting up a fund to match donations that support communities of color and the fight for racial justice locally. Grinnell College will donate $25,000 and the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation will donate $5,000 to establish a fund at the Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation to help local organizations advance the work of racial equity here in our own community. Together, the two organizations will match gifts dollar for dollar up to $30,000 for this work. Gifts can be directed to the Racial Equity Fund at the Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation.

Through the Iowa Council of Foundations, we also are co-sponsoring a two-day Building Racial Equity workshop for funders across Iowa who want to learn how to use philanthropy to advance racial equity across the state and in their own communities.

Our commitment to this work must focus both externally and internally. We know we must take community and personal responsibility to address systemic racism, anti-blackness, and white supremacy, and Grinnell College is dedicated to the hard work of creating lasting change.

Black Grinnellians (students, staff, faculty, and alumni) had the opportunity to hold space with each other yesterday, hosted by Intercultural Affairs and co-facilitated by Ombudsperson Chinyere Ukabiala and Director of Education Professions Career Community Leslie Bleichner ’07.

Faculty and staff are invited to a panel discussion Beyond Empathy: Sharing Anti-Racist Resources. Colleagues will share and briefly discuss anti-racist resources for challenging white supremacy at 11 a.m. on Monday, June 15. The panel will be moderated by Professor of Sociology Karla Erickson.

In addition, Intercultural Affairs, the Dean’s Office, and Diversity and Inclusion staff will continue to offer audits and training to campus departments to advance inclusion practices, and to recommend opportunities for learning about anti-blackness, racism, and white supremacy in all aspects of our community.

Grinnell College will form two new coalitions to engage our community in its work from pedagogy to practice, from curriculum to programming, and beyond.

Coalition on Confronting Whiteness: This Coalition is being formed to focus on training, development, and education for white people by white people about white supremacy, systemic racism, and understanding privilege. More information to come. If you are interested in taking action or learning more, please contact Intercultural Affairs at [email protected], including the name of the coalition in the subject line. We encourage you to engage as individuals and as members of the many communities to which you contribute.

Coalition on Racial Justice: This Coalition is being developed to focus on acknowledging resilience, developing racial empowerment strategies, and addressing ways in which white supremacist and anti-blackness ideologies exist around the globe for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC). BIPOC staff and faculty are encouraged to engage to their level of comfort. More information to come. If you are interested in taking action or learning more, please contact Intercultural Affairs at [email protected], including the name of the coalition in the subject line.

Much of the work we need to do is known to us, practiced, and pushed forward by the College’s Diversity and Inclusion Plan, which provides a roadmap for diversity and inclusion efforts and exists as a living document that is revised and tracked annually. We are deeply grateful for the work of our Chief Diversity Officer Lakesia Johnson, Intercultural Affairs, the Council on Diversity and Inclusion, and all the embedded diversity professionals across campus for their ongoing efforts.

We are deeply grateful for the work of all who have helped us take these actions, but know that we are only just beginning.


Raynard S. Kington, President

Anne F. Harris, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College

Message from President Thomas LeBlanc

Dr. LeBlanc speaks to GW community about recent racist incidents in the U.S. involving black Americans.

May 31, 2020

Dear GW Community,

Like everyone in our community, I write to you today feeling sad and angry about the brutal killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, along with the racist incident in Central Park.

I cannot begin to fathom the hurt GW’s Black students, faculty and staff may be feeling. My heart goes out to all who are suffering and may not feel safe.

Please know that we continue to offer support and resources and are planning some online community events that are referenced in this message from Vice Provost Caroline Laguerre-Brown and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement.

While I wish we had the opportunity to host these conversations and support one another on campus, I know that we remain a strong community, and we will find ways to connect until our planned return to campus this fall. I look forward to working together—harnessing the power of the community that comprises this great institution—to address racism and injustice on our campus and in our society.


Thomas J. LeBlanc


Dear GW Community,

Many of you understandably have many questions in the wake of the Medium post by GW faculty member Jessica Krug. While the university reviews this situation, Dr. Krug will not be teaching her classes this semester. We are working on developing a number of options for students in those classes, which will be communicated to affected students as soon as possible.

We want to acknowledge the pain this situation has caused for many in our community and recognize that many students, faculty, staff and alumni are hurting. Students who have been affected are encouraged to seek support from our Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement (ODECE), Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), or Office of Advocacy and Support (OAS). Assistance for faculty and staff is available through our Wellbeing Hotline. Please know that we are taking this situation seriously and are here to support our community.


M. Brian Blake, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Paul Wahlbeck, Dean, Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

Hamilton’s Commitment to Racial Justice and Plans for Action

JUNE 14, 2020

Dear Members of the Hamilton Community,

Since my statement on May 30, I have heard your reactions to recent community posts. I have also heard your demands for the College to do more. I want to express my deep regret for the pain inflicted on an already hurting community. My initial communication and the two posts did not state unequivocally that Black Lives Matter, contained language many found insufficient or confusing and, most importantly, did not identify any action steps. I know that Hamilton must do better – and we will.

The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and now Rayshard Brooks have highlighted yet again the nature and extent of systemic racism in our country. We know that these events have caused enormous pain, particularly for members of the Black community, and for the Black members of our community. We stand in solidarity with them, because Black Lives Matter.

We commit to developing collectively a comprehensive plan of action, beginning with the following three steps.

  1. Host listening sessions and form an Advisory Council to hold us accountable. Listening sessions with members of Student Assembly, the Black and Latinx Student Union, the ALANA Caucus (a group of faculty and staff of color), and alumni representatives, including members of the Equity and Inclusion Committee of Alumni Council, will enable us to engage collectively in a dialogue about the path forward. I will also form an Advisory Council, starting next week, to establish a formal feedback loop on an ongoing basis. We will begin with listening and follow with informed planning and urgent action. You have this commitment from me, from senior leadership, and from the Board of Trustees.
  2. Expedite a new equity and inclusion plan. Last summer we began a strategic planning process to enhance our equity and inclusion efforts and identified a set of institutional goals. We have made progress, but must do more. With input from the Advisory Council and others, we will build on those goals and publicly track our progress.
  3. Increase resources. From my discretionary fund, I am committing $200,000 per year for the next five years to increase funding of the College’s equity and inclusion initiatives, with a focus on how we can support Black and Latinx members of our community. The initiatives may include but will not be limited to expanded microaggression and implicit bias training for community members, additional resources for the development of inclusive pedagogies, and additional funding for the recruitment and retention of faculty, students, and staff of color.

In addition to this commitment of funds, a generous friend of the College has stepped forward to offer a $250,000 match for gifts made by June 30 that are directed to the College’s equity and inclusion initiatives or in support of scholarship aid through the Hamilton Fund. Gifts will be matched dollar-for-dollar until we reach the $250,000 maximum.

The actions outlined above are initial steps, but we will develop a more complete action plan in the months ahead, and we will report back to the community on our progress in September. I am grateful to everyone who has spoken up with conviction, and believe that together we can make real progress toward a fully inclusive Hamilton.

Most sincerely,


From: "Lawrence S. Bacow"

Date: Saturday, May 30, 2020 at 6:00 PM

Subject: What I believe

This message contains graphics. If you do not see the graphics, click here to view.

Dear Members of the Harvard Community,

The last several months have been disorienting for all of us. COVID-19 has profoundly disrupted the lives of people worldwide. It has caused more than 365,000 deaths around the globe and more than 100,000 in the United States alone. Forty million Americans have lost their jobs, and countless others live in fear of both the virus and its economic consequences.

In the midst of this incomprehensible loss, our nation has once again been shocked by the senseless killing of yet another black person—George Floyd—at the hands of those charged with protecting us. Cities are erupting. Our nation is deeply divided. Leaders who should be bringing us together seem incapable of doing so.

I cannot help but think back to 1968, the spring of my junior year in high school. First, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, then Bobby Kennedy. Riots broke out in nearby Detroit, as they did across the country. Then, like now, our nation was hugely polarized, and we desperately struggled to find common ground that might unite us.

At the time, hope was in short supply. It seemed difficult to imagine how we would move forward, but we did. As I think about the challenges that we face today, I return again and again to what I believe:

I believe in the goodness of the people of this country—and in their resilience.

I believe that all of us, liberal and conservative, Democrat and Republican, whatever our race or ethnicity, want a better life for our children.

I believe that America should be a beacon of light to the rest of the world.

I believe that our strength as a nation is due in no small measure to our tradition of welcoming those who come to our shores in search of freedom and opportunity, individuals who repay us multiple times over through their hard work, creativity, and devotion to their new home.

I believe in the American Dream.

I believe in the Constitution, the separation of powers, the First Amendment—especially the right to a free and independent press that holds those in power accountable, and to a free and independent judiciary.

I believe in the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws—for everyone, not just for those who look like me.

I believe that no person is above the law regardless of the office they hold or the uniform they wear. Those who break the law must be held accountable.

I believe that one measure of the justness of a society is how it treats its most vulnerable members.

I believe we must provide opportunity to those who may not encounter it on their own so that they may achieve their full potential.

I believe in the power of knowledge and ideas to change the world, of science and medicine to defeat disease, of the arts and humanities to illuminate the human condition.

This is just some of what I believe. I hope you will pause during these troubled times to ask what you believe. Even more importantly, I hope you will find the strength and determination to act on your beliefs—to repair and perfect this imperfect world. Those of us privileged to work or study at a place like this bear special responsibilities. As Luke teaches us, from those to whom much is given, much is expected.



From: Dean Rakesh Khurana and Dean Katherine O'Dair

Sent: Sunday, May 31, 2020 8:59 PM

Subject: Making a Better World Together

Dear Colleagues,

We are writing today to share with you a message that was sent to our students this afternoon. We look forward to working with you to create a better world for every single student and individual, on our campus and beyond.


Katie and Rakesh

Dear Harvard College Students,

Here in Cambridge, our campus is still and quiet, as it has been these past few months. But this weekend, the contrast between our serene campus and the events outside our gates has never seemed so stark.

We are outraged by the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. We are outraged by the countless deaths of Black and Brown people that have been caused by a system that treats so many as expendable. And we are frustrated by those who are willfully blind to the systemic racism that led to these deaths and to so many others. We know that so many of you share our outrage and frustration, and we are writing to you today to tell you that we stand with you. Black lives matter, and we must do better.

Even before these recent events, the COVID-19 pandemic had exposed the deep fractures in our society. Political, racial, and religious divides are all around us. Wearing a mask has become a political statement; science and facts are contested; people of color are disproportionately threatened by their mere existence in public spaces. Acts of xenophobia have increased, and implicit and explicit forms of violence disproportionately impact the most vulnerable and discriminated against. This is not the society that we want to live in, and it is not the society we want for all of you.

All of us who believe in our College’s mission must transform our outrage and pain into action. We must ask ourselves how Harvard College can be a place that contributes to a more informed and honest conversation about the inequalities both within Harvard and in society. We know that we must strengthen the way we work across differences and the way we welcome people into our community.

We have already begun to think about how the College’s programming and support can reflect a deeper understanding of the challenges confronting us. And we are committed to supporting all of you in pursuing research and service opportunities that will empower you to contribute to creating a more just society.

Whether you are an incoming or returning student, we look forward to hearing from you in the coming months about how we can work together to create positive change, both on campus and beyond. These are unsettling times, but we have confidence that together we can help make this world – our world – one that recognizes the dignity of every human life.


Katie O'Dair

Dean of Students

Rakesh Khurana

Danoff Dean of Harvard College

From: "Lawrence S. Bacow"

Date: Tuesday, June 16, 2020 at 4:10 PM

Subject: Juneteenth

Dear Members of the Harvard Community,

On this Friday, June 19, the University will be closed to commemorate Juneteenth. All faculty and staff will have a full day of paid time off. If you must work that day to support essential operations, your efforts will be acknowledged with other paid time off.

Long celebrated as an Independence Day in the African American community, Juneteenth marks the day—155 years ago this year—that enslaved African American people in Texas were told of their freedom from bondage. It offers a moment to acknowledge and celebrate the promise of a new beginning, and I cannot imagine a better year for Harvard to begin recognizing its significance. These are extraordinary times distinguished by extraordinary displays of passion and resolve. We are everywhere reminded of the possibility of something different—something better—for our communities, our states, and our nation, as well as the deep reflection and hard work getting there will require of all of us.

Throughout the week, the Harvard Gazette will be featuring related coverage and resources, and I encourage you to learn more about the many ways in which members of our community are advancing the cause of racial justice in America. Each of us has a role to play in considering the past and the present as we work together to imagine our future, and I am proud to undertake that important—and essential—work with all of you.

All the best,


From: HKS Office of the Dean

Sent: Monday, June 1, 2020 11:01 AM

Subject: The Death of George Floyd

Dear Members of the Harvard Kennedy School Community,

I was terribly saddened and angered to read about the brutal death of George Floyd at the hands of someone charged with protecting the public. With the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, the racist treatment of Christian Cooper, and a Covid-19 mortality rate for black Americans that is more than double that for white Americans, we are reminded—yet again—of the scourge of racism in American society and of the imperative to change. I know that many of you have felt fear and grief in the wake of these events as well.

Tim Walz, the governor of Minnesota, said that the protests that have followed George Floyd’s killing stem from “generations of pain, of anguish, unheard.” Indeed, Martin Luther King, Jr., said many years ago that "a riot is the language of the unheard"—and also said “For years now I have heard the word ‘Wait!’…This ‘Wait’ has almost always meant ‘Never.’”

I hope that everyone in this country can hear that pain, understand it, and take action now. We at the Kennedy School need to do our part, and to do so with a sense of urgency.

One of our core values at the School is belief in the worth of each person regardless of their race and other characteristics. We must hold true to that value in everything we do—as we work with and learn from each other, and as we apply our skills and knowledge to make a more just society.

In my remarks for graduation, taped before George Floyd’s death, I expressed the hope that our graduates would take on the challenge of systemic inequities. I am gratified that so many of our students are recognizing the urgency of this challenge and taking it on before they graduate, through their learning about racism and their advocacy and organizing for racial justice.

We have worked hard in the past few years to appoint more faculty members who are actively engaged in teaching, research, and practice on many aspects of racial inequity, including health, education, democracy, policing and criminal justice, and more. As these faculty members—some of whom will be starting this month—offer courses, conduct research, and build programs at the Kennedy School, all of us at the School and people outside the School can gain a better understanding of the broad, deep, and enduring impacts of racism, and, crucially, of actions we can take to overcome racism.

Despite the horrible events we have seen in Minneapolis and elsewhere, I believe that progress is possible and is possible right now, not just at some hoped-for future time. Bryan Stevenson, who was a speaker in last week’s virtual graduation, is one of the most important and impressive alumni of the Kennedy School and of Harvard Law School. As part of his lifelong fight for justice, he recently led the creation of a national lynching memorial—which is described as “a sacred space for truth-telling and reflection about racial terror in America and its legacy.” Such truth-telling and reflection—at the Kennedy School and elsewhere at Harvard and in the world—can inspire us and direct us to action. We can make a crucial difference and can do so now. That is our responsibility and our opportunity.



Douglas W. Elmendorf

Dean and Don K. Price Professor of Public Policy

Harvard Kennedy School

A message from OID & DSA

June 2, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

It is with anger, sadness, and fear that we reach out to you today. In the wake of the most recent tragedy involving the murder of George Floyd by members of the Minneapolis Police, city-wide protests have been occurring to demand justice and the end of racial violence targeting members of the African American community. These protests carry with them the sentiment and message that was shared by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who once said “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

There are too many people who have been killed by racial violence. These three are among the many:

George Floyd

Ahmaud Arbery

Breonna Taylor

We encourage you to say their names aloud. We urge you to remember and say the other names of people of color whose lives have been taken by racism. By saying their names, by remembering them, we acknowledge that their names matter, their lives matter, #blacklivesmatter. As Mudders, we urge you to show support for our communities of color who are carrying the weight of these tragedies.

Our hope is that as a community we can come together to support our students, colleagues, or friends of color who are surely feeling the pain of these tragedies. Injustice is dependent on indifference. Mudders, now is not the time to be indifferent. Reach out to the people you know who are hurting and let them know they are not alone. What is occurring in our nation, these overt acts of racism, instances of racial bias, acts of microaggressions our communities of color may face because of the color of their skin, are not ok. We as a campus are committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment for our Mudd family.

The Office of Institutional Diversity and the Division of Student Affairs is here to support you. Please reach out to us. You can also reach the Monsour Summer Campus Health telehealth care line which provides 24/7 medical and mental telehealth care for all students, at no cost.

In Solidarity,

Office of Institutional Diversity + Division of Student Affairs

Black Lives Matter

June 11, 2020

We usually use this space to share updates about Harvey Mudd College with you or to allow you to hear from the voice of one of our staff members, faculty or students. We use it when we have policy changes, announcements or recognitions to share. Today we use it to express our sadness, disgust, and anger toward the violence against Black people we have seen in recent weeks but which has been preceded by hundreds of years of systemic racism and discrimination. The murders of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and a list of countless others at the hands of police officers require us to recognize, name and address the historic inequities Black people and other minoritized communities have suffered in the United States since its founding. The protests that have sprung from these murders and which have rightly drawn the attention of the world to this ongoing suffering cannot help but have an impact on our future and serve as a call to action.

We are often asked what activities students should engage in that will make them attractive to college admission offices. Our answer is always the same – that there is no wrong activity nor better activity. We want you to follow your interests, and we look to see what you do with the resources you have available to you. That said, we hope that students who seek to join our community are also looking around them: who else is involved in the things you are? Are you seeing a diverse range of people participating? If not, why not? Are there policies or practices that are further alienating those who have already been alienated? Are there actions you can take to make your organization more welcoming and inclusive?

Similarly, students choose to join the Harvey Mudd community because of the spirit of collaboration and connection. What are you doing to foster that spirit of collaboration in your current environment? For our non-Black prospective students, what can you do to support your Black classmates and friends as they navigate their high school education within systems that are often sending both explicit and implicit messages that they don’t belong? It is easy during our busiest and most chaotic times to choose to switch into self-preservation mode and focus our energies on doing the work we need to do, but we know that research, discovery and discussion are all better when we work to ensure that all voices are at the table. During these times, more than ever, Black students need the rest of us to join their fight for inclusion and to feel our support through our actions.

This leads us to also turn these questions on to ourselves at Harvey Mudd and in our office. We have worked for years to diversify our student body with varying levels of success. The campus has engaged in some difficult conversations about how we best serve Black, Latinx and Native students, but it is clear in listening to our student groups that we have far more to do to move beyond representation toward inclusion and empowerment. When it comes to Black students, we need to do more to get to representation. Programs like our Future Achievers in Science & Technology (FAST) and Women’s Inclusion in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (WISTEM) have been instrumental in helping Black students and other minoritized students see themselves at Harvey Mudd. This year these programs will be virtual, and this allows us to expand their reach and hopefully their impact.

We are committed to expanding our outreach to Black and other minoritized communities to add to the STEM pipeline. Knowing what we do about the intersectionality of race, class and gender, we will continue to partner with organizations that support low-income and first generation students. We have taken steps in democratizing education with the removal of SAT Subject Scores and are examining other ways to expand access and remove barriers in our application process. Our counselors continue to be committed to helping Black students forge a path in STEM whether their path leads them to HMC or to other institutions. We commit to seeking out more opportunities to do this work where it will involve and benefit Black students specifically. We see ourselves not only as admissions staff for HMC but as counselors who have taken on the challenge of guiding students so that they can create a more just society. We believe Black voices will be integral in this endeavor. We believe that Black lives matter.

Harvey Mudd’s first president, Joseph Platt, along with our earliest faculty, helped to ensure that our curriculum would instruct students in the STEM fields as well as the humanities and social sciences in order to graduate alumni “with a clear understanding of the impact of their work on society.” Never before has the idea of understanding the impact of your work – both that of your profession as well as of your life’s work –on society been more crucial. The idea of “science with a conscience” has been at the heart of Harvey Mudd since our founding. We hope and trust that our students, alumni and entire Harvey Mudd community will expand that call beyond our commitment to science and education to doing the work it will take end destructive systems that have brought us to this place. That is true and lasting impact.

From: Office of the President

Subject: Addressing Systemic Racism

Date: June 24, 2020 at 7:55:43 PM EDT

Dear Harvey Mudd Community,

For your information, I am sharing a message that recently was sent to our faculty, staff and students.

Thank you,



Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

Black Lives Matter. We condemn these senseless killings. We condemn police violence. We condemn the crushing sense of injustice that we feel when we hear these stories day in and day out. We believe that no Black person should be afraid of a traffic stop, of a jog in their own—or any—neighborhood, or of just sitting in their own home. But they are. And it is incredibly challenging for those of us who are not Black—who’ve never experienced that fear for a single moment in our lives—to even remotely comprehend what that is like. To understand that for some members of our community, this is everyday life. And it has got to stop.

How does Harvey Mudd College, a small liberal arts college for STEM, meet the challenge of this moment and do something that will have meaning? As a team, we have debated and discussed many different approaches to addressing the issues and demands you’ve shared. While we know we don’t have all of the answers, we know there are some immediate steps that can be taken. We are committed to continuing our work on this. The list below is only a beginning. We will be sharing more initiatives in the coming weeks. Here are the steps that we can share right now:

• Harvey Mudd College is becoming an institutional member of the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity, which supports faculty, postdocs and graduate students through mentorship, training opportunities, coaching and peer support.

• Together, with the other Claremont colleges, we are exploring ways we can work with other institutions that are committed to addressing systemic racism. We hope to be able to share more about this partnership in the coming days.

• The Division of Student Affairs will begin an Intergroup Dialogue Program on Race and Ethnicity. The program will recruit interested faculty, students and staff to be trained facilitators for an 8-week module that engages participants to explore and reflect upon their personal and social responsibility for building an equitable and socially just society.

• The Office of Institutional Diversity and Institutional Research will host a series of Equity Scorecard Sessions featuring Dr. Estela Bensimon in the fall and spring semesters. This professional development opportunity will increase knowledge on interrogating numerical data and how to see patterns that lead to inequities for students of color. During these sessions, participants will gain an understanding of the Equity Scorecard process while also beginning the process of identifying 10-15 indicators for an equity scorecard for their areas.

• The Division of Student Affairs will add specific anti-racism sessions as part of the 2020 New Student Orientation and sponsor book clubs on the topic of anti-racism beginning this summer and throughout the academic year.

• The Office of Advancement will be working with Academic Affairs to begin major fundraising efforts to raise resources to develop curriculum that addresses systemic racism.

Supporting our Black students, faculty and staff, as well as our other students, faculty and staff of color will continue to be a priority for our work as a Cabinet.


Maria Klawe, President

Karen Angemi, Director of the President’s Office and Secretary to the Board

Thyra Briggs, Vice President for Admission and Financial Aid

Andrew Dorantes, Vice President for Administration and Finance/Treasurer

Anna Gonzalez, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

Tim Hussey, Chief Communications Officer

Hieu Nguyen, Vice President for Advancement

Lisa Sullivan, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty

Joseph Vaughan, CIO and Vice President of Computing and Information Services


May 30, 2020

Dear community members,

By now you have witnessed the videos of the death of George Floyd. We watched Mr. Floyd handcuffed, prone and pinned by a Minneapolis police officer’s knee on his neck. In his final moments, we hear him pleading for his life, calling out that he could not breathe. This all comes in the wake of the killing of Ahmaud Arbery on February 23, an unarmed 25-year-old Black man who was shot while jogging in a Georgia suburb and Breonna Taylor on March 13, an unarmed 26-year-old Black woman shot by police in her apartment. George Floyd’s murder comes in the same week of the 9th anniversary of the death of Corey Jackson on May 20, 2011, an unarmed 34-year-old Black Genevan who was shot by a Geneva Police Officer.

On behalf of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, I am writing to express not only our deep sadness, but also our solidarity with families and communities who work against the vileness and violence of institutional racism. We see you, and we bear witness to the visceral anguish around the nation, and what the Mayor of Minneapolis recently described as “the truth Black communities have lived.” This is a truth that is four American centuries in the making.

We call upon our community of scholars, educators and leaders to direct our outrage and anger into the vital and ongoing work of confronting racism and working towards true community. Faculty, staff and students do this work through justice-minded service learning initiatives, in courses that remap our view of the world, and local partnerships that resource and empower regional organizations. We also do this work through student organizing and scholarship that centers marginalized realities. In these extraordinary times, we must forward the best of what a liberal arts education can activate: a critical, ethical and broadminded approach to the deepest social problems that confront our world.

While it pains me for this to be the office’s first correspondence to the community, I am hopeful about the shared work that awaits us. In the weeks ahead, we will put forth plans to support faculty, staff and students to create, revive or redouble collective efforts towards equity and inclusion. In the mean time I invite you to reach out to connect, reflect and share ideas and priorities or for resources to address this moment.

A perplexing feature of institutional violence is that it is often perpetrated under a banner of good intentions. This moment offers all of us an opportunity to talk intently with each other and reflect honestly on our positions of privilege or marginalization and our relationship with the wider Geneva community.

In the years since the killing of Corey Jackson, his father and brother have memorialized his life and death with words that matter for us here and now: “we have work to do.”

With love and solidarity,

Khuram Hussain, PhD
Associate Professor of Education
VP for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion


June 2, 2020

Dear Members of the Hobart and William Smith Community,

These are intensely challenging times, including the sobering national and international events of the past week in reaction to the horrific death of George Floyd, with both peaceful demonstrations and violent acts occurring against the backdrop of the ongoing pandemic. I reiterate from our recently ratified strategic plan that the Colleges must continue to stand for willingness to engage in dialogue, treating all with dignity and respect, and working toward a better world. Over the weekend, Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Khuram Hussain sent a message to faculty, staff and students that clearly encapsulates the role of higher education at this moment. He writes: “In these extraordinary times, we must forward the best of what a liberal arts education can activate: a critical, ethical and broadminded approach to the deepest social problems that confront our world.” And in his May 30 note to the Episcopal Church, the Most Rev. Bishop Michael B. Curry ’75, Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church, writes that the work of racial reconciliation, “…must go on when racist violence and police brutality are no longer front-page news. It must go on when the work is not fashionable, and the way seems hard, and we feel utterly alone.”

I couldn’t agree more with both of these statements. There is clearly much work ahead to tackle these endemic social problems in order to create a more just and equitable society. This work is underway in Geneva, which over the past two days has been the site of three peaceful demonstrations during which community members marched side by side with Geneva Police Officers. I will be at the NAACP’s rally in Geneva at 6 pm Wednesday in Bicentennial Park to express my own support and commitment to change.

At junctures like this, it may be hard to envision a way forward. That’s why Dr. Hussain will be holding two important sessions in the coming days. The first, a webinar on June 5 for alumni, alumnae and parents, will allow for a re-imagining of diversity and the liberal arts today. The second, a teach-in for students, faculty and staff, cosponsored by Africana Studies and Intercultural Affairs, will involve members of our community in examination of national protests and criminal justice reform. I will be attending both of these sessions and encourage you to join as well. Details will be provided to you soon.

As we wrestle with multiple points of pain and isolation that we face daily as a result of systemic racism, and as we take positive steps to envision a new future, we must also make time for events that unite us, providing social connection and a beacon of hope – so that we understand that we are not alone. I’m especially grateful that Bishop Curry has agreed to return to campus to deliver the Commencement Address to the Classes of 2020 when we hold their in-person ceremony. This ceremony will occur on the morning of Sunday, June 6, 2021. This date corresponds with the last day of Reunion Weekend, allowing generations of Hobart and William Smith community members to gather as a family to celebrate with the Classes. More information and details will be provided in subsequent communications.

Until we see each other again, please stay safe yourself and watch for the safety of others. Know that we are working hard here at the Colleges, perhaps the hardest we have ever worked, to try to live up to the principles that we have articulated while we tackle numerous matters of consequence.


Joyce P. Jacobsen


June 9, 2020

Dear HWS Community,

The past days have been witness to a groundswell of public resolve to stand with Black Americans against institutional and structural racism. Popular discourse is starting to echo what Black communities have said at the margins of power for centuries. From David Walker’s 1829 Appeal to Alicia Garza’s 2013 #blacklivesmatter, racial justice is a long time coming.

This is a moment that calls upon us all to learn, teach and act. The Office of the President and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion invite community members to join us in engaging this moment through the following events, resources and programs:

  1. Join us on the afternoon of Saturday, June 13, for the first in a series of virtual teach-ins on racial justice: “Voices of Protest and Love: Liberatory Knowledge in the Hour of George Floyd.” Featuring Geneva’s wealth of educators, scholars and activists, the teach-in, Professor Virgil Slade explains, will ask: “What does true liberation mean? Does it mean the same thing for each of us? How do we go about achieving it? Who does the ‘educating’? Which voices are privileged and which are silenced? These are vexed and contested questions but when you live in a society where too many are taken from us too often, in a place where even requests to breathe are fatally ignored, these are conversations that we cannot afford to delay.” This program (click here for details and registration information) is co-sponsored by Africana Studies and The Office of Intercultural Affairs.
  2. Public health advocates and scholars have long described the “pervasive and lethal force of white supremacy” as a public health crisis. In the face of the double-harm of COVID-19 and institutional racism, the DEI webpage will regularly update resources for supporting the well-being and survival for Black students, faculty, staff and the wider community. On the DEI webpage, you will find a new link: “Black Community Care,” where such resources can be found. We commend William Smith Congress and other students for sharing some outstanding resources for our community and hope that this page will serve to aggregate many of these tools.
  3. This weekend we received a compelling petition from more than 200 HWS students asking that our network of alums be engaged in direct conversations about supporting this moment of community need. Coincidently, we met with more than 100 alums on Friday afternoon to talk about diversity work at HWS – wherein many expressed a desire to support our students. In that spirit, we are launching a series of initiatives that will engage alums and students in shared community building. We will kick off on Friday, June 19, with a Juneteenth conversation between Black HWS alums and Black students titled: “Each One Reach One: The Future of Black Solidarity at HWS.” Details and registration information will be announced later this week. This event is a collaboration between the HWS Afro Latino Alumni/ae Association and DEI.
  4. As students, staff and faculty have recently urged, we must educate ourselves and others about the history and conditions that have brought us to a moment like the murder of George Floyd. In that spirit, the DEI webpage has created an “Anti-Racism Resources” link that provides literature and teaching material created by educators of color for teaching about race and racism. In addition, William Smith Sophomore Fatim Cisse has organized a bi-weekly “Hour of Power” to support students of color in building self-knowledge and self-love. Please visit the DEI page for information.
  5. Lastly, many students, faculty and staff have expressed an interest in engaging the wider community in equity work. In that light, DEI is offering micro-grants of up to $500 to students, faculty and staff who have an idea for an initiative or program that addresses Goal 5 of the Strategic Diversity Plan on Community Development. Applications will be open starting June 12 on the DEI webpage.

Our community has a generational opportunity to honor our individual and shared pasts, educate each other about our present moment and collectively envision a shared future. We hope you will join us in doing work within our community that will have consequence beyond it.


Joyce P. Jacobsen

Khuram Hussain
Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

From: Hofstra University

Sent: Wednesday, June 10, 2020 8:56:38 PM

Subject: A Message from the President, Provost and CDIO

Message from the President, Provost and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer

The killing of George Floyd is a stark reminder of the tragic impact of the history of racism and violence in this country. The reactions throughout the nation - anger, fear, fatigue and frustration - are reflected in the Hofstra community. The University shares in this outrage, joins in the cry for justice, and stands in unity with our Black and African-American students, faculty, administrators, alumni, and family members.

As a university and a community, we denounce racism, and unequivocally say Black lives matter at Hofstra.

This tragedy also challenges us to examine how systemic racism is perpetuated in our society and our institutions. It is incumbent upon each of us to speak up and speak out against racial inequality. Our future, quite literally, depends on it.

The University is devoted to listening to the experiences of those in our community and engaging in difficult and needed dialogues.

As we continue to offer support, resources, and activities that support diversity and inclusion, we are committed to the following actions to address issues of inequality in our community:

  • The Office of Intercultural Engagement and Inclusion (IEI) has established the first of a series of virtual dialogues for students, entitled "Black Hofstra Matters".
  • Planning is underway for a faculty and staff virtual forum to discuss the impact of racism, marginalization, and inequality in higher education and in the greater society.
  • In cooperation with the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, we will initiate an ongoing dialogue, including open meetings with students and other members of the campus community, to examine the policies and procedures of the Department of Public Safety.
  • Expanding anti-racism and implicit bias training for students, faculty, staff, and administration in the coming academic year.
  • A virtual forum cohosted by the Hofstra Black and Hispanic Student Alumni Association (BHAA) and the Office for Development and Alumni Affairs to discuss the impact of the George Floyd killing, and ways the BHAA can better serve as a resource, and support positive change in the Hofstra community.
  • In cooperation with the Office of the Provost and the Hofstra Center for "Race," Culture, and Social Justice, we have established a task force of faculty and administrators to revitalize our Africana Studies program with more robust course offerings.

These new efforts build on and amplify our longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion – a commitment that dates back nearly six decades. In the 1960s, Hofstra became one of the first universities in the nation to build a barrier-free campus, long before the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) made it mandatory. Hofstra launched one of the first college opportunity programs for students from underrepresented areas. New Opportunities at Hofstra, known for more than 50 years as NOAH, was a model for New York's HEOP program, which now makes it possible for thousands of New Yorkers from underrepresented areas to get a college degree each year.

Below are some of the many efforts from our recent past to advance equity, inclusion, and social justice:

  • The Legacy 1619- 2019 was a year-long programming series that recognized the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to North America and the ongoing experiences of African Americans, including signature speaker Nikole Hannah-Jones, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the New York Times' 1619 Project.
  • In 2018, the President, recognizing the centrality of inclusivity and diversity for an educational institution, appointed the first Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer (CDIO) at Hofstra to coordinate institutional strategies that advance diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • No Hate @ Hofstra – launched in 2018 with a mural in the Student Center highlighting campus diversity initiatives, this campaign was organized by the Student Government Association, the Hofstra Cultural Center, the student chapter of the NAACP, IEI, the Office of University Relations and the Division of Student Affairs to promote inclusion and multidisciplinary projects that promote diversity.
  • In 2017, Hofstra founded the Center for "Race," Culture and Social Justice, which is led by a group of faculty, students and staff, and sponsors a variety of events, including roundtable discussions, a colloquia series and a Distinguished African Scholars and Writers Series
  • The Campus Climate Survey, conducted by an independent consultant in 2016-17, was a comprehensive study of students, faculty, administrators and staff that focused on inclusion and looked at a variety of topics related to identity, including gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion or faith orientation, socio-economic class and others.
  • Our work is not yet done, and we must do better. Now, more than ever, we must come together to build a better university. We call on all of you to join us on this journey, to work with us, so we can learn from and about each other and make Hofstra a fairer, more just campus.

Stuart Rabinowitz


Herman Berliner

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Cornell L. Craig

Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer

From: Hofstra University

Sent: Tuesday, June 23, 2020 3:20:15 PM

Subject: A Message from President Rabinowitz

Message from the President

Two weeks ago, the Committee on Representation in Public Spaces met to consider anew the placement of the statue of Thomas Jefferson that stands next to the main entrance of the Student Center.

This Committee, chaired by Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Margaret Abraham and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Cornell Craig and comprised of a diverse group of faculty, administrators, students and an alumnus, began its work last year to review representation on the Hofstra campus. I thank them for their efforts.

Institutions, like people, evolve, and come to new understandings based on the work and words of activists and leaders. It has become clear to all of us that the pain of our Black students and citizens in regards to the symbols and representation of our national history is substantial. Thomas Jefferson has long stood at the entrance to the Student Center, the primary campus thoroughfare for students, but over the past few years, the placement of the Jefferson statue, and the history it represents, has been a reminder and consistent source of pain for many of our Black students and allies. Understanding that, we asked the Committee to reopen the discussion about the statue placement.

The Committee unanimously recommended that the statue be relocated from the entry of the Student Center to the west side of the Emily Lowe Museum, where it will continue to be accessible to the public. This recommendation is in alignment with the requests made in petitions about the statue of Thomas Jefferson from student groups in prior years. I agreed with the Committee's recommendation and in turn recommended that the Board of Trustees approve the relocation. The Board of Trustees approved the recommendation by Resolution, and the statue is being moved. The Committee on Public Spaces will continue its work to create contextualization and education about this and all public works of art on the Hofstra campus.

In the next year, my hope for our community is that we might focus on moving our University forward and continuing the critical work of listening and building an ever more inclusive and diverse community. We understand, thanks to the voices of students, faculty, alumni, staff and our neighboring communities, that we all have a role to play in creating that community so that every individual feels valued and heard. I look forward to continuing this work with you, as we listen to and learn from one another.


Stuart Rabinowitz


From: Boroughs, S.J., Philip <[email protected]>
Date: Fri, Jun 19, 2020
Subject: Anti-Racism Action Plan


Dear Members of the Campus Community:

In the past two weeks, we have seen ongoing protests across the country and the globe as we collectively respond to the racism and violence experienced by Black & African American people. Though we are marking Juneteenth and the end of slavery in this country, we recognize that we still have a long way to go to combat racism. We have heard from many of you - sharing stories of the ways in which you are contributing to these efforts, highlighting the ways in which the College can support these efforts, and encouraging us to do more. The commitment to social justice is at the heart of our institutional mission. We agree that in order to overcome the sin of racism, whether it be interpersonal or structural, we need to have a plan.

Today, we are affirming our commitment to be an actively anti-racist organization. We join the voices around the country and globe to proclaim that Black Lives Matter.

To further affirm this commitment, the Board of Trustees is establishing a permanent Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. Trustee members of this committee will receive ongoing updates on DEI work at the College, and will engage with students, faculty and staff directly on DEI priorities. Trustee Francine Rosado- Cruz ‘94, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Davis, Polk & Wardwell, LLP, has agreed to chair this committee. More details will be forthcoming.

In April 2019, the College created a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Planand appointed the DEI Implementation Team, which issued an update of its work in February 2020.This work involved hiring new staff, committing resources and improving practices to support diversity and inclusion on campus. And that work continues.

But we need to do much more. The starting point for this work is a new 40-point Anti-Racism Action Plan, which can be found on our new anti-racism website. Through this plan, the College is dedicating substantial financial resources to the following areas:

  • Creating a culture of anti-racism
  • Training, education and anti-racist action planning
  • Faculty and curriculum
  • Civic engagement and national conversation
  • Support, resources & ensuring equitable access
  • Recruitment of diverse communities
  • Accountability and structure

The plan recognizes the need for Holy Cross to create a culture of anti-racism. It is not enough to be non-racist, as an institution we must adopt individual, departmental and institutional strategies that promote and encourage efforts to dismantle racism.

A few important elements of the plan include:

  • Devoting funds for faculty to develop new courses, or to significantly revise existing courses, around topics of race, racism and anti-racism.
  • Continuing to enhance our efforts to recruit diverse communities of students, faculty and staff, with strategies including expanding the use of “Mission and Diversity Search Ambassadors” for student-facing and high-impact hires at the College.
  • Providing new opportunities for training, education & anti-racist action planning for students, faculty and staff.

We heard a clear call that the burden of education and anti-racism work cannot fall on Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities, and therefore this plan will be broad-reaching across the College. We also recognize the detrimental impacts of interpersonal and structural racism on the physical, mental, financial, emotional and spiritual health of individuals. The Office of College Chaplains, Counseling Center, the Office of Multicultural Education are all planning to provide support and resources for those impacted by racism and those who put in the hard work for racial justice.

These are just a few examples of the work we are planning. We encourage you to read the entire planto learn more. The work of anti-racism requires us to be accountable to one another and to the community. This plan creates structures and requires transparency that will allow this important work to move forward, and reflects and reaffirms our commitments to anti-racism. We look forward to working with all community members on these action steps.


Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., President

Tracy Barlok, Vice President for Advancement

Jane Corr, Chief of Staff

Margaret Freije, Provost and Dean of the College

Marisa Gregg, Interim Vice President for Communications

Dottie Hauver, Vice President for Administration and Finance

Michele Murray, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

Amit Taneja, Associate Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

From: fac-l Faculty list <[email protected]> on behalf of Office of the President - Illinois State University <[email protected]>
Sent: Saturday, May 30, 2020 10:58 PM
Subject: [FAC-L] President Dietz's message on the Minneapolis tragedy

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff Members,

Tonight, we are all experiencing a time in our nation in which the fight against a health pandemic has been supplanted by a crisis of human behavior, with racist acts of violence so vile and so systematic as to test our limits of comprehension.

With three members of the Minneapolis Police Department negligently observing, another police officer held George Floyd to the pavement and pressed his knee to his victim’s neck with a callous disregard until he stopped breathing. Despite Mr. Floyd’s strangled pleas and the screams of onlookers, the officers ignored any expression of human decency and let him die on the street.

Extreme acts of hatred across our country are unfortunately all too familiar. But when they occur while we should be joining together to face the greatest global health threat in memory, it borders on the unimaginable.

Millions in our country tonight will mourn and many millions will speak out, not only over the death of George Floyd but also the killings of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. These acts of mourning and protest against racism are a natural response to social injustice and ISU is a community that welcomes the civil discourse among our students, faculty, and staff that can only serve to make our society a better place, and the right of our campus citizens to speak out.

As President of Illinois State, I have pledged to work harder to make ours a campus that embraces the humanity, the gifts, and the diverse contributions of each and every individual who joins the Redbird community. There is no room on our campus for bigotry and hatred, and I ask each of you to embrace and carry out ISU’s core values of fostering an inclusive environment characterized by cultural understanding and engagement, ethical behavior, and a commitment to social justice.

Under different circumstances, actions on campus might have included a march, rally, candlelight vigil, or town hall-style meeting in the Bone Student Center. Unfortunately, the time of year and limits of the COVID-19 pandemic make those types of actions difficult.

For faculty, staff, and students who remain in Normal-Bloomington, I encourage you to attend a community gathering of concerned citizens tomorrow at 5 p.m. at the McLean County Law and Justice Center in Bloomington. I am sure those of you reading this will find similar opportunities wherever you are currently living.

If illness, or concerns about social distancing keep you inside of your homes, I urge you to make your voices heard across social media platforms, and to also keep the names of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor in your thoughts, and in your hearts.

On behalf of the University community, I extend our heartfelt sympathies to the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. We join in mourning their tragic deaths.


Larry H. Dietz

From: President Shirley M. Collado

Date: Sat, May 30, 2020 at 5:08 PM

Subject: A Message from President Shirley M. Collado: Coping with Tragedy and Injustice

A Message from President Shirley M. Collado: Coping with Tragedy and Injustice

Dear Ithaca College Community:

Like so many of you, I woke up thinking about the gut-wrenching loss of George Floyd, an African-American man from Minneapolis who was killed last week while under police custody. Mr. Floyd is the third person of color since February to tragically and unjustly be taken away from us. Before him, we lost Ahmaud Arbery from rural Georgia, and Breonna Taylor from Louisville. My heart breaks for these three precious souls, and their families and friends. I just keep thinking about them.

Later in the morning, my husband, Van, and I watched Governor Andrew Cuomo’s daily Coronavirus press briefing, and we so connected with what the Governor said in his opening remarks: “It’s a hard day. It is a day of light. It’s a day of darkness. It’s a day where we see how far we have come in so many ways, but yet a day where we see how far we need to go in so many ways.”

So, while the nation is making great progress in re-opening from the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to be mired in violent, senseless acts against people of color, over and over again. These acts of violence have become all too commonplace. They must be condemned, and they must be stopped, as we are hearing from the protestors of all races and from all walks of life in Minneapolis, Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, and elsewhere across the country. As we saw in Louisville at the protest against the shooting of Breonna Taylor, with the solidarity between the Kentucky National Organization of Women and the protestors of color, this violence affects all communities.

Van and I talked about the incredible weight of living with this hard truth about race, violence, and injustice in America. We mourn for the black mothers and families who endure these losses of their children on a regular basis, in a nation already in turmoil from a public health crisis. And we know the horrendous killings weigh heavily on the hearts of our kind and loving IC family members who make their homes in these cities and states, now saddened by these tragedies. We are thinking about you, one and all.

In closing, I want to let you know that we think it is very important to create a space for reflection and for action. We will be sharing more details about our plans next week.

Please join me in remembering and celebrating the lives of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, as well as others whose deaths are less well known. Stay safe and strong. We are with you.

In Solidarity,

Shirley M. Collado

President, Ithaca College

From: JMU President Jonathan Alger

Sent: Sunday, May 31, 2020 5:36 PM

Subject: Building a better tomorrow together

Office of the President

Dear JMU Faculty and Staff,

I write today with a heavy heart, deeply saddened and disturbed by the recent incidents of hatred and senseless acts of violence against people of color, individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, and other marginalized groups in American society. For far too long, we have witnessed tragedies and injustices that have resulted from our collective failure to live up to the promise of a democracy that is of, by, and for the people — all the people. We know this grief and pain extends throughout our community, and want you to know that on behalf of the institution and as an individual, I stand with you. We will do everything we can to help create a better tomorrow — one in which no individual has to live in fear that they may someday become a target of hate.

As an institution of higher education, James Madison University has an obligation to our students to equip them to go into the world and address the systemic issues that plague our nation. I recognize and appreciate your work in creating an environment that is conducive to that charge, that is diverse and inclusive, and where every Duke is respected and affirmed. And as an educational institution, it is our responsibility to call out these issues, critically examine the underlying causes, and identify ways to use our knowledge and skills to make positive change. At a time when there is so much hurt, fear and uncertainty, there is much work to be done on this front to make sure that as a university we emerge as a beacon of access, diversity, inclusion, and hope — accepting and embracing all differences.

You know better than anyone that at its core, the Madison experience is about people. JMU is a community of individuals from every imaginable background, and it is important in these times to address these challenges together, to build strength and solidarity among us, and to reaffirm our shared values of mutual respect and equity. For this reason, JMU will be hosting two Virtual Town Halls for faculty and staff this coming week, the first will be hosted by the James Madison Center for Civic Engagement, and the second co-hosted by JMU Student Affairs and Academic Affairs. These events will serve as an opportunity to process incidents of racism and hatred, and discuss visible and tangible ways that the university must provide support to our students, faculty and staff of color. Details are forthcoming, and I hope you will consider participating.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. taught us that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are proud of our faculty, staff and students who have been working peacefully to build a more just nation, but it takes every single one of us being the change we wish to see in this world to make a measurable difference. Now, more than ever, we must lift each other up and affirm one another. Remember always that you have a home at JMU, as part of a community that supports you and is walking alongside you in our desire and demand for positive change and a better future.


Jonathan Alger

President, James Madison University

James Madison University Libraries

A Pledge: Self-Examination and Concrete Action in the JMU Libraries

Posted on: June 9, 2020

“The beauty of anti-racism is that you don’t have to pretend to be free of racism to be an anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it’s the only way forward.” — Ijeoma Oluo, author of So You Want to Talk About Race

Black lives matter. Too long have we allowed acts of racism and deeply ingrained, institutionalized forces of white supremacy to devalue, endanger, and grievously harm Black people and members of other minoritized and marginalized groups. State-sanctioned violence and racial terror exist alongside slower and more deep-seated forces of inequality, anti-Blackness, colonization, militarization, class warfare, and oppression.

As members of the JMU Libraries Dean’s Council and Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, we acknowledge these forces to be both national and local, shaping the daily lived experiences of our students, faculty, staff, and community members. As a blended library and educational technology organization operating within a PWI, the JMU Libraries both participates in and is damaged by the whiteness and privilege of our institutions and fields. Supporting the James Madison University community through a global pandemic has helped us see imbalances, biases, and fault lines of inequality more clearly.

We pledge self-examination and concrete action. Libraries and educational technology organizations hold power, and can share or even cede it. As we strive to create welcoming spaces and services for all members of our community, we assert the fundamental non-neutrality of libraries and the necessity of taking visible and real action against the forces of racism and oppression that affect BIPOC students, faculty, staff, and community members.

Specifically, and in order to “fight racism wherever [we] find it, including in [ourselves],” we commit to:

  • Listen to BIPOC and student voices, recognizing that they have long spoken on these issues and have too often gone unheard.
  • Educate ourselves and ask questions of all the work we do. (“To what end? To whose benefit? Whose comfort is centered? Who has most agency and voice? Who is silenced, ignored, or harmed? Who is elevated, honored, and made to feel safe? Who can experience and express joy?”)
  • Set public and increasingly measurable goals related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism, so that we may be held accountable.
  • Continue to examine, revise, and augment our collections, services, policies, spending patterns, and commitments, in order to institutionalize better practices and create offerings with enduring impact.
  • Learn from, and do better by, our own colleagues.

We are a predominantly white organization and it is likely that we will make mistakes as we try to live up to this pledge. When that happens, we will do the work to learn and rectify. We will apologize, examine our actions and embedded power structures, attempt to mitigate any harm caused by our actions, and we will do better.


Dr. Bethany Nowviskie
Dean of Libraries, Professor of English, & Senior Academic Technology Officer, JMU

Dr. Brian Flota
Associate Professor, Humanities Librarian, Library Faculty Assembly Representative, JMU Libraries

Kristen Shuyler
Director of Communications and Outreach, Associate Professor, JMU Libraries

Dr. Aaron Noland
Assistant Dean of Libraries, Assistant Professor, JMU

Zach Sensabaugh
Music Library Assistant, Outgoing Staff Advisory Council Representative, JMU Libraries

Mark Lane
Digital Preservation Librarian, Assistant Professor, Libraries Leadership Group Representative, JMU Libraries

Stefanie Warlick
Interim Associate Dean of Libraries, Professor, JMU

Kelly Miller-Martin
Director of Facilities Operations, JMU Libraries

Andrea Adams
Interim Associate Dean of Libraries, Associate Professor, JMU

Liana Bayne
Libraries Administrative Assistant, JMU

Bill Hartman
Director of Technology, JMU Libraries

Kevin Hegg
Director of Digital Projects, Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Member, JMU Libraries

Jess Garmer
Educational Technology Instructor, Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Member, JMU Libraries

Karen Snively
JMU Music Library Services Manager, Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Member

April Beckler
Reserves Coordinator & Interlibrary Loan Borrowing, Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Member, JMU Libraries

Hillary Ostermiller
Communication & Media Studies Librarian, Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Vice Chair, JMU Libraries

Alyssa Valcourt
Science & Math Librarian, Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Chair, JMU Libraries

From: Johns Hopkins Alumni Association

Subject: Juneteenth time for reflection; Johns Hopkins University closes at noon

Dear members of the Johns Hopkins alumni community,

Today, we write to you to share a message of unequivocal support for the Black and Brown members of our Johns Hopkins alumni community. Our community is 230,000 alums strong. When some of us are mistreated, face inequity, or brutality like we have seen, it is heartbreaking for all of us. We see it, we acknowledge it, and we want to be part of the change needed in our country.

The Alumni Association’s mission continues to be one that strives to support all Johns Hopkins alumni, equally, but we recognize that we still have a long way to go. Please consider sharing your alumni experiences, as well as your thoughts on how we can evolve to better support you. You can send those ideas to [email protected].

Today, on the eve of the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth, we thought it was important for us to share President Daniels' recent communication with you, which includes the many ways our community will come together to acknowledge and celebrate the day. We hope you can join us.

Now more than ever, our alumni community will continue to stand with one another in solidarity.


Allyson Hughes Handley

President, Alumni Council

Johns Hopkins Alumni Association

Anika Penn

First Vice President, Alumni Council

Johns Hopkins Alumni Association

Susan deMuth

Assistant Vice President for Alumni Relations, Johns Hopkins University

Executive Director, Johns Hopkins Alumni Association

Dear Johns Hopkins Community:

The past several weeks have shown starkly the toll and trauma of racism. We understand that it is incumbent upon us not only to listen and support our Black and Brown colleagues but to take actions that embody our belief that their flourishing at Johns Hopkins truly matters. In the coming days, we will share more about a framework for determining together the steps we can take to combat racial inequity and forge a path forward as a university.

In recognition of the need as well for reflection and rest, the university will close for regular business at noon this Friday, June 19, and provide a half day of paid leave to employees. For those whose work involves essential operations, patient care, or COVID-19 and other essential research activities, this leave may be taken in the next several weeks, in coordination with their supervisor.

This Friday is an apt day to take time as many in our community and around the country mark the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth, the day in 1865—two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation—when news of their freedom finally reached hundreds of thousands of enslaved people in Texas. In the years since, Juneteenth celebrations have honored the strength, resilience, and independence of Black Americans in the face of slavery and enduring discrimination.

We look forward to using this day to reflect upon the significance of this moment in history and the difficult but essential work ahead to achieve the full promise inherent in Juneteenth. We hope you will take some time to do so as well and offer below information about some of the events planned across Johns Hopkins to commemorate this important date and engage in critical conversations about race and racial justice.


Ronald J. Daniels


Sunil Kumar

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Daniel Ennis

Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration

From: President Daniels, Dean Rothman, and President Sowers

Sent: Friday, June 12, 2020 5:59 PM

Subject: Solidarity and reimagining public safety

Dear Faculty, Students, Staff, and Neighbors of Johns Hopkins:

As hundreds of thousands rise in protest here and across the nation, we share the continued anguish and anger at the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, and the unjust loss of so many other Black lives, in the long and grotesque history of structural racism that has shaped this nation and its institutions.

This moment of national reckoning implicates all areas of our lives and the work we do together as a learned community. We recognize the ways in which systemic racism impacts unfairly our Black and Brown colleagues, neighbors, students, and staff. We know we must do more as an institution and as individuals to fully realize Johns Hopkins’ core commitment to justice, equity, and inclusion, and we are grateful for the many difficult and important conversations that are happening now and that will guide our efforts to listen, to support, and to act.

Today, we want to speak to the renewed questions and broad concerns about policing in America and the calls to reconsider our decision to create a university police department at Johns Hopkins.

We sought the legislative authorization to build this department because of the sustained surge in violent crime directly impacting our faculty, staff, students, and neighbors, and because, in contrast to our public university peers in the city, we lacked a police department that could help protect them. In seeking this authorization, we embraced without reservation many of the reforms that are now being called for across the country, and we hope that legislation can contribute to the wider discussion of the steps needed to realize lawful, nonracist, and publicly accountable sworn policing.

The legislation that was enacted responded in a detailed and comprehensive manner to many of the concerns that were raised about the need for training to address racial bias, excessive force, and de-escalation, and the requirement for increased transparency and accountability. These issues are now very much at the center of the public debate over what modern policing—however large or small its scope—must be in this country. Critically, the Johns Hopkins Police Department (JHPD) legislation explicitly enacted the best practices recommended by the national Task Force on 21st Century Policing and the Consent Decree that currently governs the Baltimore Police Department.

Throughout the process and again in recent weeks, we have been keenly aware of the range of principled and thoughtful perspectives on these issues, and we hear now the increasingly urgent calls for reconsideration of the way in which public safety in our community is achieved.

Many people see no role whatsoever for sworn policing in our country. Many others accept the necessity of some role for sworn policing but seek a fundamental and vigorous reimagination of how that role can be carried out equitably and integrated with other initiatives that ensure community safety.

We want Johns Hopkins to be part of the conversation about what is possible for our city and country in rethinking the appropriate boundaries and responsibilities of policing, and to draw on the energies, expertise, and efforts of our community in advancing the agenda for consequential and enduring reform. And we want to be able to work now—with a sense of shared purpose and commitment, with our neighbors, and across our university community— to develop and model these alternative approaches.

Given the need for us to come together as a community in this enterprise of reimagining public safety, we have decided to pause for at least the next two years the implementation of the JHPD.

Pausing the immediate implementation of the JHPD is important for several reasons:

• First, it will give us the opportunity to focus on the opening that we have now in the debate on public safety and to invest our energies in that endeavor, where we believe our leadership could be impactful. There are, in particular, many parts of our university that are leading experts in public health and other fields that could inform this debate, and we want to provide them the support to devise new models.

• Second, significant legislative efforts are being mounted at the local, state, and national levels to advance police reforms, including a reexamination of Maryland’s Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights. We want to benefit from these new norms and best practices and can take them into account as we consider the nature and scope of responsibilities for university policing. We can invest in alternative approaches to reduce to the greatest extent possible our reliance on policing.

• Third, the pause will allow us the time to improve our existing non-sworn campus safety and security operations through enhanced training, professional development, and oversight.

• Finally, it will provide us with time to work with city leadership, including a new mayor and our police commissioner, and understand fully the strategy for police reform, improved safety, and violence reduction that our city requires.

We hold with utmost seriousness our responsibility for the safety of our entire community, and in that spirit embrace the opportunity before us to allow that community to help guide us forward on an issue that has so deeply riven this country.

In partnership and gratitude,

Ronald J. Daniels


Johns Hopkins University

Paul B. Rothman, M.D.

Dean of the Medical Faculty

CEO, Johns Hopkins Medicine

Kevin W. Sowers, M.S.N., R.N., F.A.A.N.

President, Johns Hopkins Health System

EVP, Johns Hopkins Medicine

Sent: Tuesday, June 2, 2020 5:21 PM

Subject: Message from Dean Triantis

Dear Faculty and Staff,

Our nation continues to suffer from longstanding disparities and injustices, particularly affecting African Americans and other people of color. The violent deaths of George Floyd and others are the latest manifestations of our systemic issues. Racism must not be allowed to persist in any form. The protests we are witnessing in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and other parts of the country are rooted in the frustration of many who have waited too long for change. In these turbulent times, I take comfort in the belief that those who want meaningful and lasting change outnumber those who do not.

The issues we face will not be solved overnight. I cannot truly understand the experiences of so many, but I do know that a segment of our community cannot be expected to bear this societal burden alone. At Carey, if we are to be a community dedicated to our core values of Relentless Advancement and Unwavering Humanity, we must continue to advocate for the rights of others and challenge the status quo. We know that business can be a force for good in society and business education can be an important driver to promote economic development, address inequities that exist in business, and support communities in need. We must continue to emphasize humanity in our work and in our actions, and we must also continue to make Carey Business School a diverse and inclusive environment.

We all have different perspectives and experiences to share and I want to continue our dialog toward achieving our common goals. I encourage everyone to participate in the monthly discussion series Open Conversations About Things That Matter, which is organized by our Committee for Diversity and Inclusion. We will discuss these topics further at our next Town Hall meeting on June 12. In the meantime, you can also send suggestions to me at [email protected].

The current state of our world can be tough for anyone to bear. For anyone struggling in these challenging times, Johns Hopkins University has resources to help at mySupport.


Alex Triantis


From: President Daniels, Vice President Hill Golden, Dean Rothman, and President Sowers

Sent: Sunday, May 31, 2020 8:54 PM

Subject: Johns Hopkins Stands in Solidarity Against Racism and Inequity

Dear Members of the Johns Hopkins Community,

In the past three months, across the U.S. and around the globe, we have experienced extraordinary challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In communities of which Johns Hopkins is a part—from Baltimore City, Washington, D.C., Prince George’s, Howard and Montgomery Counties to St. Petersburg, Florida, and many more—we have witnessed our African American, Latinx, Native American and poverty-stricken communities disproportionately dying from COVID-19, while our Asian and Asian American communities have been targeted with vitriol because of the disease’s origins. People have lost family members, and the economic impact of this pandemic has led to many people having lost their jobs.

This has been a tremendous burden for many to bear. The recent death of George Floyd in Minneapolis as well as the deaths of Breonna Taylor, a first responder in Louisville, Kentucky, shot in her own bed while sleeping; Ahmaud Arbery, shot while jogging near Brunswick, Georgia; and far too many others reinforce the brutal truth that the African American community still remains vulnerable to senseless violence, even during a pandemic. For those of us in Baltimore, these tragedies also call to mind the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody five years ago. And this moment serves as a reminder of the compounding effects on our communities.

Because we are all intricately connected by our common humanity, if one segment of our community is hurting, it adversely impacts all of us. This is not just an issue for African Americans; it is an issue that threatens the future for all Americans.

We hear the needs of the Johns Hopkins community to have an honest dialogue about these issues and develop steps to address them through our daily activities and relationships, scholarship and teaching, and health care delivery and leadership. We must acknowledge that these vulnerabilities to violence and health crises faced by black and brown communities are born out of continued racial disparities in education, employment, housing, and criminal justice. To that end, under the leadership of the JHM Office of Diversity and Inclusion and in collaboration with other groups across Johns Hopkins, we will host a Journeys in Healing symposium series, “The Language of the Unheard: A Virtual Town Hall on Racial Injustice,” in early June. More details will follow once dates have been solidified.

We also recognize and acknowledge the anguish that these recent incidents are causing for our faculty, students, staff, trainees and alumni across the Johns Hopkins family. We encourage you to access the many supportive services available. At JHM, these services include mySupport, Spiritual Care and Chaplaincy, the Office of Well-Being, the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and the JHM Office of Diversity and Inclusion. University affiliates can reach out to mySupport, find student wellness resources at https://wellness.jhu.edu or on the Student Outreach and Support site, or contact the Office of Institutional Equity for assistance.

During this time of immense challenge, let us work together to be a light to facilitate education, healing, connection, support and service to each other and to our community.


Ronald J. Daniels


Johns Hopkins University

Sherita Hill Golden, M.D., M.H.S.

Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer

Johns Hopkins Medicine

Paul B. Rothman, M.D.

Dean of the Medical Faculty

CEO, Johns Hopkins Medicine

Kevin W. Sowers, M.S.N., R.N., F.A.A.N.

President, Johns Hopkins Health System

EVP, Johns Hopkins Medicine

Message from President Gonzalez on Systemic Racism and Injustice in the U.S.

Posted on June 1, 2020

Dear K Community,

As an institution that puts civic engagement at the heart of its mission, and as a community that works tirelessly toward justice, the senseless killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others hits us at our core.

When we watch the images in the news of George Floyd’s murder, we are witnessing the deadly consequences of systemic racism on the Black community and other communities of color. The outrage, pain, fear and sorrow are immeasurable. To all of our Black students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members, we mourn with you, and we stand in solidarity with you against racism, violence and injustice.

As we reflect on the protests this weekend and all the work that needs to be done, I am committed to continuing our efforts on diversity and inclusion at K. Creating institutional and cultural change is a slow process—often too slow—and it’s imperative that we continue to work toward a community where everyone feels welcome and safe on campus.

It is also important that we carry on with community partnerships and curricular and co-curricular experiences that address structural barriers and inequality in our larger society. Our graduates are among leading voices fighting for issues like access to health care, solutions to gun violence, job access, food and farming justice—and their experiences as K students formed the foundation of so much of their work. Our educational mission to foster enlightened leadership has never felt more critical.

More immediately, I encourage everyone in the K community to support our students, colleagues and friends of color. Take care of one another. Speak out against racism and bias. Listen to and lift up voices of color. And students, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Counseling Center if you need someone to talk to during these difficult times. You can call them at 269.337.7191, or you can contact Dr. Kenlana Ferguson at [email protected]. Resources are also available to employees through our Employee Assistance Program. Connect confidentially by calling 1.800.854.1446 (multi-lingual) or by visiting www.unum.com/lifebalance.


Jorge G. Gonzalez


From: News Bulletin

Date: Mon, Jun 15, 2020 at 2:59 PM

Subject: [Employee-Info] COVID-19 Update: Fall semester to begin August 24


Dear members of the Kenyon College community,

I am writing to update you on our planning for next academic year. The events of the past three weeks, including the tragic killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black men and women, and the continued national reckoning with police violence and racial injustice, weigh heavy on our minds. We must look urgently at our systems and structures through the lens of antiracism in order to recommit ourselves to a more just and equitable future. You will hear more soon on this work, with specific initiatives for next year.

In the meantime, our work continues to reimagine operations at Kenyon in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. There is much progress to report on, and yet still many questions to be answered. We will host a livestreamed Q&A session for employees on Thursday, June 18, at 2 p.m. EDT; you may submit questions in advance using this form. You may also visit our website or email [email protected] at any time.


Sean Decatur


June 15, 2020

From: Sean Decatur

Sent: Monday, June 1, 2020, 03:46:01 PM MDT

Subject: Reflections from Kenyon in the Aftermath of Recent Events


Dispersed as we are, and in such unsettled times, I find myself reaching for touchstones — in history and literature, the arts and sciences — to make sense of the events around me. As a member of the worldwide Kenyon family, you share a commitment to embracing complexity, troubling as it may be. I hope that your Kenyon education has been a wellspring in recent days.

This morning, I offered the following reflection to Kenyon students, faculty and staff. I share it with you now as we seek ways to move forward in common purpose.

I hope that you are safe and well,

Sean Decatur


Dear members of the Kenyon College community,

I have been president of Kenyon for seven years now, and I have lost count of the number of community messages or events mourning the loss of Black lives to police or vigilante violence. We’ve had faculty panels, marches, candlelight vigils. I’ve written letters and blog posts. We’ve had guest speakers and group readings. Yet this summer the tragedy continues to mount: Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd. And while I watched the video of Mr. Floyd’s life being senselessly and brutally extinguished, my deep sadness was exceeded only by my powerful anger. After nearly seven years of many of us asserting that Black Lives Matter, America consistently presents the Black community with evidence to the contrary. The nationwide protests are an expression of that anger, as well as a reflection of voices that have long been ignored or silenced.

I know that many of you share this feeling of sadness and anger. There are not many words I can offer that can address this adequately, nor should there be: This is one of those moments when some may need to feel the anger for a while before it can be fully processed and focused.

Yet no one becomes an educator, or pursues an education, without having some enduring optimism that can help us move beyond anger. The acts of teaching and learning are intrinsically about the future, about generations of students reaching their full potential and through their success improving the world around us. That is not an easy path, nor a straight one; and all of us make mistakes along the way. But undoubtedly, we were all drawn to Kenyon because we have hope, not only for a more just future, but for our ability to shape that future.

In that spirit, I do have some suggestions on actions to take to help process our anger.

  1. Dissent is a critical component of a liberal arts education. Protest is a powerful form of expression of dissent; march if you feel moved to do so. Please be safe: There is guidance for safe practice at protests (especially during the COVID-19 pandemic) here, here (PDF) and here. There is a peaceful gathering on the square in Mount Vernon Monday, June 1, at 6 p.m. If marching is not for you, write, speak, talk to others, find ways to make your voice heard.
  2. If you are not familiar with the deep history and legacy of violence against the Black community in the United States, and how this has a powerful impact on the lives of all Black Americans, this is a good time to study. For history, I’d recommend Ibrahim X. Kendi’s “Stamped from the Beginning” or Jill Nelson’s “Police Brutality: An Anthology” as places to start. For policy proposals to reform policing, see Campaign Zero. If poetry is where you’d like to start, read Claudia Rankine's “Citizen” or Evie Shockley’s “can’t unsee.” If you prefer podcasts, try this episode of Code Switch, or an episode of the Ezra Klein podcast on health disparities by race. Or, take one of the great courses from our faculty in African diaspora studies.
  3. If you have the means, lend support to those who are struggling. This can take the form of simple outreach and emotional support (“I am here for you”). It can involve volunteering for efforts to reform the justice system and make it more equitable. It can mean contributing to efforts to support protests or support communities that have been impacted by the protests. Moreover, there is still work to do to make the Kenyon community more inclusive, and we can use the lessons of these events to examine and propose change here in Gambier.

As I wrote in the aftermath of the Tamir Rice shooting in 2014, “all of us at Kenyon make a commitment to lead well-examined lives, to understand the complexity behind tragic events, to learn lessons from both history and present-day, and to apply these lessons as we move beyond the Hill. The study of the liberal arts is not intended to be an exercise in self-indulgence. Rather, we engage in the study of the liberal arts because of an ancient belief that an understanding of the humanities, of art, and of the sciences (natural and social) makes us better citizens.” Keeping this in mind, here in 2020 we can formulate a short-term path for moving forward: Raise our voices in dissent, educate ourselves about the matters at hand, and find ways to take concrete action, beyond Gambier and here on campus.

Yours truly,

Sean Decatur

President of Kenyon College

Remembering George Floyd: A Message to the Knox Community

The Knox community stands on the side of social justice. We challenge ourselves and others to take action to eliminate racial disparities locally and globally.

The message below was sent to our campus community following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis:

Dear Knox Community,

This past week, the nation’s attention has shifted from the pandemic to yet another vivid manifestation of the scourge of racism in the United States. The on-camera murder of George Floyd has again brought to the forefront the state violence that communities of color have faced for hundreds of years. George Floyd’s death follows an all-too-familiar pattern that our country cannot ignore. We write to you today because events like this have a powerful impact on many members of the Knox community—particularly our Black students, faculty and staff. Such violence, coupled with the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black, Latinx, and native peoples, makes evident the structural racism and socioeconomic inequalities that persist in our country.

As we experience a global crisis that will impact our communities for generations, it is more critical than ever that we use the moment to confront and condemn our nation’s historic inequalities. More than 200 people came together on Saturday, May 30, in the public square in Galesburg, called to action by a Knox student and a recent Carl Sandburg/St. Olaf graduate. For an hour, we called out the names of Black people killed by police officers, recognizing that was only a tiny fraction of the victims of racialized violence over the history of this country. As we chanted “Say their names,” we took comfort in being together in our mourning and in our anger. Even though we were masked and socially distant, we were able to come together in social solidarity. We know that many of you would have participated in the protest alongside other Knox faculty, staff and students if you had been on campus, so please know that we were there to represent you.

Along with protest actions, so, too, must Knox make decisions in this time that address these issues in our own context. Earlier this spring, we began the work of revising the curriculum and co-curriculum to provide for more focused and high-impact education on inequality, of intensifying our hiring practices to diversify the Knox faculty and staff, of implementing diversity and inclusion education for all employees, and of increasing the resources devoted to the support of Black students. That work continues. In addition, we recognize that loss of income in communities of color will create even greater needs for financial aid and the College will reallocate its expenses to meet as much of that need as we possibly can. We commit to you that we are making every decision in these COVID-19 times through an equity lens.

It is common to hear these days that the virus does not discriminate. As a matter of biology, that is true. But exploitation and marginalization have been built into our history as a nation from its beginnings and so the virus spreads unknowingly through those structures of inequality. Unlike the virus, though, we are not unknowing and now, more than ever, we must work together to dismantle those structures and create a more just world. We ask that you join us in supporting our Black students and colleagues, and in remembering that each of us is obligated to stand up to injustice whenever and wherever it occurs.


Teresa Amott, President
Michael Schneider, Provost and Dean of the College
Anne Ehrlich, Vice President for Student Development

Published on May 31, 2020

Addressing Racial Injustice

To the Lafayette Community:

At Lafayette College, we associate the name of Lafayette with the ideals the Marquis stood for: liberty, democracy, and equality. We take pride in the fact that Lafayette was deeply committed to the cause of abolition in America, and to promoting the rights of citizens in France.

It was thus especially horrifying to see Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C.—dedicated in the same year that the citizens of Easton, Pa. decided to honor the visiting General by naming their proposed college “Lafayette”—become the scene last week of an extraordinary attack on peaceful citizens who gathered to protest police brutality and the murder of George Floyd. As Aurélia Aubert and Lorna Bracewell noted in the Washington Post, nothing could be farther from the ideals and legacy of Lafayette than the use of flash grenades and pepper balls to drive back protesters seeking to affirm that Black lives matter.

At a time when justice demands institutional accountability on all levels, it is appropriate to consider whether Lafayette College has always lived up to its own ideals. Members of our community have asked where we stand in the struggle to combat systemic racism and in efforts to address racism on our own campus. In particular, the examples of police violence seen across the country have raised questions about the work of our own Department of Public Safety, our relationship with the Easton Police Department, and the steps we take to counter racial bias among officers who interact with our students. I thank all those who have sent letters or signed a petition on this topic, and appreciate their concern for the safety and well-being of our students and community.

For Lafayette, as for the nation as a whole, it is a time to look ourselves in the mirror and challenge ourselves to do more.

That conversation may begin, but should not end, with a look at our public safety operations. Lafayette’s Department of Public Safety, which includes full-time commissioned officers, part-time commissioned officers, and several security officers, has participated in training on implicit bias, as well as annual training on de-escalation techniques, with two of our officers certified as trainers in de-escalation. Our Department of Public Safety is on occasion assisted by the Easton Police Department in investigations of major crimes, and the Easton Police Department also helps to provide security and crowd control for large campus events. The Easton Police Department, along with the FBI, were integral players in the successful investigation into the social media bomb threat hoax of two years ago.

Recognizing the current level of community interest and concern, both Lafayette Department of Public Safety Director Jeff Troxell and Easton Police Department Chief Carl Scalzo have expressed their eagerness to engage students and others in discussions about how to build confidence and trust in the community they serve.

I believe such dialogue will be most effective if it takes place in the context of a broader community commitment to institutional self-examination. At moments like this, many institutions describe themselves as “not immune from racism.” If we have learned one thing from this pandemic, it is that if you do not have immunity, you must take concrete, systematic steps to repel contagion. If we want a Lafayette that is free from the virus of racism, we need programs and policies that are actively anti-racist.

With that in mind, we are committing to the actions below as the first steps in an ongoing process of education and improvement. We will:

  • Establish a task force, to include two members of the President’s Cabinet, along with student, faculty, staff and alumni representatives, to gather community input about the work of Public Safety and its collaboration with the Easton Police Department, and develop recommendations for ways to enhance its relationship with the Black student community and other marginalized groups.
  • Provide an expanded program of anti-bias training for students, faculty, and staff, to be completed periodically to keep us all engaged in ongoing and up to date conversations about racism and racial injustice.
  • Approve, as an exception to the current hiring freeze, the new position of Assistant Director for Student Support and Advocacy, to serve as a resource, advocate, and caseworker for a diverse population of students.

In addition, we will work to enhance the programming on issues of racial injustice currently offered through the Office of Intercultural Development in collaboration with a number of student organizations.

Our community is not confronting these issues for the first time. Lafayette has a long history of activism on issues of race. Last spring, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the founding of ABC, the Association of Black Collegians, at a McDonogh Network event where many alumni shared stories about the personal struggles with racism at Lafayette that led to the founding of ABC, the establishment of the Portlock Black Cultural Center, and other efforts to support Black students, faculty, and staff.

As we have recruited an increasingly diverse student body, students have shared testimonies about racism on campus, and talked about strategies and solutions, in student organizations dedicated to marginalized groups, in Posse Plus Retreats, and through events offered in partnership with the Office of Intercultural Development. In 2016, nationwide and campus protests led to a series of student recommendations to combat racism and inequality that included the creation of the student Equity, Transformation, and Accountability Board. Faculty and administrators on the College’s Diversity Committee and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council have worked to develop proactive programs of student and community support.

At the curricular level, we have in recent years added courses in multiple disciplines and learning outcomes for all students that address aspects of diversity, inclusion, and social justice; offered inclusive teaching programs through the Center for the Integration of Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship; and created a strategic hiring initiative that has recruited a number of new faculty from underrepresented populations to Lafayette. We will continue to expand these efforts to infuse inclusive pedagogy and subject matter into the curriculum, recognizing that our own institution is also a legitimate object of critical interrogation.

Looking ahead to a fall semester that as a result of COVID-19 may present unique challenges to our ability to function as a community, it will be especially important that we enter into that environment from a place of trust in, and respect for, each other. We will work diligently throughout the summer to create dialogue that advances those goals.

To help begin that conversation, the DEI Council and the Office of Intercultural Development will sponsor a Town Hall meeting on Thursday, June 11 titled A Community Conversation About Racial Injustice. Additional programs are in development through OID, Africana Studies, and other departments and organizations. I hope that many members of the community will join these programs to share your experiences, insights, and concerns.

In this difficult moment, we will all find different ways to express our anger and show our support. Strengthening Lafayette College is one place to start. Thank you all for your commitment to our students and community.

President Alison Byerly

From: Kimberly A. Barrett

Subject: Our Continued Commitment to Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Date: Friday, May 29, 2020 7:09:52 AM

Dear Lawrentians,

As I write this I am grieving. Not for the loss of normalcy brought on by efforts to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 in our lives, but rather our desire to rush back to a normal that for many is just not safe and never has been. The pandemic has put in stark relief the longstanding, deadly inequities in our society. As you are all aware, we are experiencing significantly higher death rates for people of color, including those from tribal nations, who contracted the disease, the consequence of centuries of economic and health care-related injustice.

Simultaneously, the type of violence we have come to see as all too normal is also plaguing us. The nation recently watched in horror as video was released of a young African American man, Ahmaud Arbery, being shot to death by white men while jogging. Although any murder is tragic, even more disturbing in this case was the fact that the prosecutors who were initially made aware of the incident did not think it was worth pursuing. Soon after this incident came news of the police-involved deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. These are just a few examples of how the need to make our society more just and inclusive continues and is perhaps even more urgent at times like these.

I share this with you to underscore that Lawrence University continues its commitment to creating a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse community, especially during these turbulent times.

We must be able to balance an immediate focus on the logistics of change required by the pandemic with the ongoing work of creating a more inclusive Lawrence and, by extension, world. I continue to be hopeful, even in my grief, that the deaths of Mr. Arbery, Ms. Taylor and Mr. Floyd, along with the many who have succumb to COVID-19, will serve as a catalyst for us to come together with renewed resolve to create a new normal in which we can all thrive, free from the imminent threat of violence based on our identity.

If you are also grieving and need support, please don’t hesitate to utilize the campus resources available to all members of our community, regardless of where you may live at this moment. These include staff in the Diversity and Intercultural Center, the Office Spiritual and Religious Life, Counseling Services, and the Employee Assistance Program. Please reach out to me as well.

We are here for you, even at a distance.


Kimberly Barrett

Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion, Lawrence University

Dear Lawrence Community,

  1. you for sharing your hopes and frustrations with us individually or in larger community discussions over this past week. We too are experiencing anger and frustration and are at a time in our history when systemic oppression, racial injustice, and police violence are not just on the minds of our Black and other community members of color, but on the minds of all of us.

As we wrap up final projects and complete the academic year, we will work to make Lawrence University a better place for all to thrive, especially for community members of color. Lawrence has a history checkered with racism and oppression. As our values have evolved, we have arrived at a moment to declare where we stand.

We stand against racism. We stand against systemic oppression of people of color. We stand against police violence.

To ensure that these values are realized, the President’s Cabinet has started to assemble institutional actions that will continue to foster an antiracist campus culture. We have much work to do—some of it builds on continuing initiatives; some of it is planned but not yet in action; and some of it still needs development. All of it is vital to our institution.

Our next steps are outlined below.

Resources, Reading & Workshops

Recognizing that our community needs time to process all that has happened and prepare for concerted action in the fall, the Office of Diversity & Inclusion has provided resources to help you, your families, and communities put this in context at your own pace over the summer. The resources, which can be accessed on the Lawrence website, include short articles, videos and books.

We also invite all faculty, staff, and students to participate in a summer Community Read of How to Be an Antiracist by National Book Award winner Ibram X. Kendi. The University will provide books to all members of the community who would like to participate. Lawrence’s Antiracist White Affinity Group (ARWAG) will offer workshops over the summer as well. Details about how to get the book, as well as dates and times of book discussions and workshops, are forthcoming.

Curricular Work

Lawrence will focus on integrating works of Black and Brown scholars and artists into what we teach as well as teaching in ways that are antiracist. This will begin prior to fall term during the Freshman Studies Symposium and continue throughout the year with professional development provided for faculty by the Inclusive Pedagogy Committee. In addition, the Curriculum Committee will pursue strengthening the diversity-related general education requirements (GER) and centering anti-racist work in our curriculum more broadly.

Student Support & Dialogue

Student Life staff will work to enhance their ability to support student activists by engaging and learning from experts in peaceful protests. Staff will also increase the efforts to hear directly from students about their experiences on campus as we seek to develop more effective strategies to support a campus culture where antiracist work is central. Starting this summer, we, members of the President’s Cabinet as well as other campus leaders, will participate in structured Sustained Dialogue with student leaders to develop a shared sense of the work needed on these vital issues.

Community-Wide Training & Response

We will impact campus climate by expanding mandatory training for employees to include specific workshops related to racism in higher education and society. We will also provide additional training for students on antiracism throughout the academic year. Alumni will also be engaged in dialogues and trainings over the summer via virtual townhall meetings and other gatherings. In addition, the Bias Response Team will lead a task force this fall on preventing and responding to hate speech on campus. We will also add to efforts already underway to increase the number of staff and faculty of color on campus.

We must take this moment, as a community and as an institution, to make real change in the battle against racism. Continuing to build on our ongoing diversity and inclusion efforts will help to bring us closer to creating lasting, structural change. Please stay tuned as we update you while the work progresses.


Mark Burstein

Christyn Abaray
Assistant to the President
Secretary to the Board

Ken Anselment
Vice President for Enrollment & Communication

Kimberly Barrett
Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion
Associate Dean of the Faculty

Christopher Card
Vice President for Student Life

Jeffrey Clark
Special Assistant to the President

Associate Professor of Geosciences

Calvin Husmann
Vice President for Alumni & Development

Catherine Kodat
Provost & Dean of the Faculty

Brian Pertl
Dean of the Conservatory of Music

Megan Scott
Associate Vice President of Communication Jenna Stone
Associate Vice President of Finance

A Safe Society for All (6/1/2020)

Dear Lawrence Community,

Events of the last week have reminded us that as we prepare campus and general society for a new normal in the midst of a global pandemic, other threats to safety exist for members of our community. Like many of you, George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis left me angry and in pain. The shooting of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia earlier in February and the many other deaths of black people over the years underlines that Mr. Floyd’s death is not an isolated incident. It belongs to a social pattern we must change if we are to create a society that is safe for all of us.

It has been hard enough to watch the pandemic’s unequal impact on people in this country. But when we continue to witness systemic racism in our communities, it is evident that we have more work to do than responding to a public health crisis. The rapper Killer Mike, the son of an Atlanta police officer, said at a press conference Saturday in that city, “It is your duty to fortify your own house so that you may be a house of refuge in times of organization.” As we make plans to welcome you back to Appleton this fall we must also take Killer Mike’s charge and look for ways to fortify our own house, our campus community, to ensure we are a force for anti-racism, equity, and safety for all.

We will schedule time over the next few weeks for the Lawrence community to gather via Zoom, to discuss these events, and determine how we should move forward together. We also need to remember we are not alone in this work. I was heartened Saturday to join more than a thousand people in downtown Appleton, including many students, faculty and staff, at a Black Lives Matter rally. I know Lawrentians around the world participated in similar rallies and protests.

As we complete spring term and look to summer break please reach out to university services if we can be of help. Assistant Dean Bell, Vice President Card, Vice President Barrett and I are available at any time if you need us. I look forward to seeing you all very soon.



Mark Burstein

President, Lawrence University

A Response to Racism in the USA … in memory of George Floyd, may his memory be a blessing

This past week has been a frightening and tragic one for our country. In response to the senseless killing of George Floyd, another African American man who died at the hands of police, protests and riots have erupted throughout our country. This is on top of the devastating effects of Covid-19, which has disproportionately impacted communities of color.

Racism is ingrained in the fabric of our country. Peaceful protests have been routinely ignored. And so, as in the past, people have taken to the streets. It is perhaps the only way to be heard by those in power.

As the Director of Jewish Student Life at Lehigh, I feel it incumbent upon me to respond to this current crisis in our nation.

The Jewish people have been oppressed throughout our history and we are still hated by many. Just see the statistics of the rise in antisemitic incidents in the last 4 years for proof. Therefore, we must stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters of color in response to the killing of yet another African American man at the hands of police.

We must also remember that there are Jews of color who are also affected by the systemic racism in our society, as well as by antisemitism. They must not be forgotten and they must not be ignored. They represents 12-15% of American Jewry. And we must all stand together.

Enzi Tanner, a black Jewish social worker reminds us that, “As the Jewish community reaches in and says how do we support [the protestors’] cause and how do we support the black community, it’s really important that people reach in to black Jews and other Jews of color and realize that we’re here,” Tanner said. “And we need our community.”

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel marched and protested with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. because Judaism calls on us to speak out for all the oppressed, as we were once oppressed as slaves in Egypt. It is an essential part of our communal narrative. Heschel wrote that “in a free society some are guilty, but all are responsible.” We each must take a look at ourselves and see how we are responsible. In what ways have we allowed systemic racism to continue both within our country at-large, and within the Jewish community?

It doesn’t matter if we have actively participated in perpetuating racism or if we just stood by and allowed things to happen. As Edmund Burke wrote in 1770, “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good [people] to do nothing.” This is an eternal truth.

The American Jewish community has long had a complicated relationship with the idea of race. In America, we didn’t start to think of ourselves as white until the mid-20th century. The same was true of other immigrant minorities.

In white supremacist ideology we are still not considered to be white. Yet, the majority of us can pass as white. The majority of us don’t have to worry when our teenage son is walking down the street that he might be in danger. As the father of a post-teen boy I recognize this privilege all too well. Therefore, most of us exist and are seen both as minority and majority depending on the context. Of course, this is not true for Jews of color, who have no choice in terms of how they are viewed by others.

As the African American community, other people of color, and all members of marginalized and disenfranchised communities rise up in protest against the violence and deadliness of systemic racism, we must not only support them. As a people who have known oppression we must stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters of color, whether Jewish, Christian, Muslim, of other religions, or none. We must provide whatever support we are told is needed. Let us not assume that we know what is best. We don’t.

We who are seen as white must also acknowledge the privilege that we have and use it to speak out and act out against racism and hatred. We must do what we can at the ballot box, in our actions, and in all our responses to racism. We must prove through our actions that we know that black lives matter. If we do not, we must remember that our silence will not only be deafening, it will be deadly.

In Deuteronomy 16:18 we read “Justice, justice, shall you pursue.” The repetition of the word justice reminds us of its importance. It is something that we must actively pursue with every action we take. One rabbinic commentary teaches that the repetition of the word is meant to remind us that we must pursue justice whether the outcome of the process is in our favor or to our detriment. It doesn’t matter. What matters is the achievement of justice.

We read in Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5 that “Whoever destroys a single soul scripture accounts it as if they have destroyed an entire world; and whoever saves one soul, scripture accounts it as if they had saved a whole world.”

Countless worlds have been destroyed with the unjust taking of the lives of people of color since the first slaves stepped onto the shores of America in 1619. It is up to us to do the important work of stopping the violence and protecting future souls from destruction in order to create infinite worlds of love, justice, and equality that are free from racism, all forms of hatred, and prejudice

It won’t be easy, but we must believe that together this goal can be achieved. Let the work begin.

Confronting Racism

A Message from President Simon to the Lehigh Community.

June 01, 2020

Dear Members of the Lehigh Community,

The recent tragic events in Minneapolis around the death of George Floyd, as well as other incidents of violence inflicted upon African Americans in our country, have shocked the nation and deeply affected all of us. Our deepest sympathies go out to the family and loved ones of Mr. Floyd and the families and friends of those who have lost their lives to other horrific and senseless acts of racism. These events further demonstrate our need to stand together as a community and take ownership of our obligation to fight against the systemic discrimination and racial disparities that continue to plague our nation.

As members of the Lehigh University community, we must affirm our values—equality, peaceful dialogue, the free exchange of ideas and the encouragement of respectful debate—and support the condemnation and repudiation of systemic discrimination, hate and intolerance and their violent manifestation. We must continue to affirm our shared responsibility to fight ignorance, model inclusive excellence and embrace the power of diversity.

It is our shared responsibility to work together to create a society in which discrimination and racism are no longer tolerated. We must play an active role in understanding, candidly engaging in dialogue, and solving the problems of racial inequity and injustice.

While I would not presume to speak about the experience of African Americans, I know African Americans in the Lehigh community are feeling anger, outrage and fear in the wake of the violence we have witnessed. I once again ask that we as a Lehigh community recommit to our shared values; reject hatred, bigotry and intolerance; and reflect on what each of us can do, large or small, and how we can come together with hope and determination to create a more just, actively inclusive and equitable community.


John D. Simon ’19P


A Message from Kevin Clayton and John Simon

June 03, 2020

Dear Members of the Lehigh Community,

We write to acknowledge our awareness of an open letter signed by a number of members of the Lehigh community. The letter, among other things, calls for an end to institutional racism at our university and in our country.

The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis has shaken our nation, and brought into harsh relief the life-threatening, systemic racial injustice that affects the lives of so many every day. Members of our community are angry and fearful, and we will support them.

We know the authors and signers of the letter delivered their message with the measurable purpose to make Lehigh better. We share that goal and thank them for the commitment to our university. We need to make Lehigh University an actively anti-racist institution. By this, we mean actively speaking out and addressing acts of racism, racist comments, racist practices, policies and procedures.

We fully recognize and accept our responsibility, as leaders and stewards of this institution, to create the change that is needed. We cannot do so alone. We will require the involvement of all members of our community, and engagement in the difficult conversations and challenging decisions that can lead to sustainable, lasting change.

Our incoming Provost Nathan Urban; Vice President for Equity and Community, Donald Outing; and Vice President for Finance and Administration, Pat Johnson will initiate a comprehensive review, using internal and outside resources, of our university policies and procedures to ensure they are anti-racist. This will include but not be limited to tenure and promotion, hiring practices, student conduct and student recruitment. Members of our community will be consulted and involved in this work.

As a first step, we will immediately begin an independent review of the Lehigh University Police Department’s policies, procedures and practices. Part of this review will be an assessment of how we work with the Bethlehem Police Department and how that work impacts our students, faculty and staff. The results of these reviews will be reported to our campus community. We expect additional actions to follow after we have heard the voices of faculty, staff and students.

In the days and weeks ahead, we will hold a series of forums, meetings and virtual town halls to listen to members of our community, have candid dialogue and take further actions needed to make a stronger, actively anti-racist Lehigh University.


Kevin L. Clayton '84 '13P

Chair, Board of Trustees

John D. Simon ’19P


A Message from Lehigh's Board of Trustees and leadership to members of the Lehigh Black Student Union

June 12, 2020

Dear Members of the Lehigh Black Student Union,

We have heard your call for change and for action to eliminate racist behaviors at Lehigh. Thank you for taking a lead role and serving as a prominent voice in what is and will be a University-defining effort. Lehigh’s Board of Trustees and leadership are committed to working together toward that end. While we are contacting you directly, we will also be sharing this message broadly through Lehigh’s various forms of communication.

We have participated in and viewed the town hall, read and discussed the June 4 LehighBSU Instagram post, and have received open letters from faculty, students and alumni; the Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the Graduate Student Senate; the Black and Latinx Network for Community and Equity; and many email and social media messages. These have been the basis of intensive discussion by the Board of Trustees and University leaders over the last week and will be the subject of further discussion among the entire Lehigh community moving forward.

The racist actions and attitudes experienced by students and others in our community are unacceptable to us. Despite our past efforts and actions, we have much more to do to address such behavior. We pledge to do more and to do better. The Trustees will match the funds raised by “Lehigh Students for Black Lives Matter” and will direct funds to Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc. While our drive to make Lehigh an antiracist University will require an evolving series of actions over time, initially we will take the following steps:

  • An outside, independent review of the Lehigh University Police Department’s policies and operating procedures has begun. Additionally, we were notified Wednesday that the U.S. Department of Education will initiate a separate review of the University’s compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act). We welcome this action and any recommendations for improvement.
  • A comprehensive review of all University policies and procedures to ensure they are antiracist and promote equity will begin shortly and will broadly engage the campus community.
  • The Provost’s office will work with the faculty senate on updating curriculum and faculty training to promote understanding of topics including implicit biases, antiracist practices and microaggressions. Student leaders of cultural organizations will be included in these efforts.
  • We will make public the demographic composition of Lehigh faculty and staff.
  • We commit to carefully consider all the issues you have raised.

We look forward to discussing further your ideas about how we can work together to take actions to make Lehigh a better, safer, and more inclusive University. President Simon will reach out to you to coordinate our meeting in the very near future.

Board of Trustees

University Leadership

Subject: Lesley addressing racism

Date: Thursday, June 4, 2020 at 4:37:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time

From: Janet L. Steinmayer, President

Dear members of the Lesley community,

I am writing today to say, unequivocally, that Lesley University stands in solidarity with the black members of our community and society in the face of the on-going violence that is impacting black citizens in our country. My communication on Monday was an attempt at addressing this, and I want to thank our dedicated students, faculty, staff, and alumni within the Lesley community for their honest feedback to my response and being out front on these issues, supporting each other, and creating spaces for listening and healing. I deeply appreciate your calling on me to take more critical action and to set the tone and manner in which each of us at the university will act to realize Lesley University’s core mission to be a beacon for students who seek a transformative education, and a community where everyone feels they belong.

The recent killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, as well as the Central Park incident with Christian Cooper, have once again shown us aggressive and racist attitudes and violence; the systemic racism and police brutality that our communities of color, and especially black males, grapple with all the time. And I think of the much less obvious but no less insidious forms of racism at work within our community, in our classrooms, and around our campuses. We must constantly confront and change this. I am committed to working with you all to ensure justice and equity for black individuals in the Lesley community.

As members of the Lesley community, the Boston community, and those in cities across the world convene in vigils and protests, it is important we acknowledge the grief and outrage that so many are experiencing. I hear your pain and frustrations for the injustices you’ve endured even in this community. We need to do much better. Lesley stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and other organizations to stand against racism and work relentlessly for justice for all. We need to live out our social justice mission in all of our actions.

This is a priority and we as a community need to exercise constant vigilance and engage in continual discussion and education. For this reason, Lesley University is taking the following actions:

We will hear back from the accountability forums that have taken place on campus this week to gather information on how to move forward as a community. We encourage you to join us for the Community-Wide Accountability Forum on Monday, June 8 at 3 p.m.

We will form an advisory committee to re-examine how we address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion on our campus, and work together on a search to hire, this summer, a new Chief Diversity Officer/Vice President to lead our work in this area. The members of this committee will be announced early next week.

In consultation with the Committee, the Office of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI), and the Lesley University Diversity Council (LUDC) we will convene a series of community forums open to our entire community so we can better understand how to build inclusive classrooms, create racial equity in policies and procedures and advance work on hiring more black faculty and staff, learning and development of all faculty and staff, supporting the Bias Education Response Team (BERT) and other ways to address violations of policies on race and discrimination.

I look forward to the challenging conversations and difficult work ahead that will lead to a stronger, equitable and transformative Lesley. I’m honored to lead a community of activists. I know this work isn’t easy and I know there is more we can do, that I can do, to confront systematic racism in ourselves, in our community and in society at large.