It has been a painful yet important few weeks for our country and our community as we confront the realities of systemic racism and injustice prevalent throughout our society. It is critical that we do not let this moment pass us by but instead do the hard work of addressing our own shortcomings as individuals and a university.
This morning, the cabinet met with leadership in the athletics department and heard from many of our coaches about their experiences and the issues facing our campus. We will continue the conversation and are committed to developing a set of action steps.
We are asking the University Leadership Council, which includes the vice chancellors, deans, and leaders from the Student Government Association, Graduate Student Senate, Faculty Senate, and our two staff organizations, to read How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi and engage in a meaningful dialogue about the changes we need to see in our university. I am also scheduling a meeting with the new SGA and GSS leaders and the chancellor’s cabinet to hear directly from students who would like to share.
Tomorrow the Office of the Dean of Students will host a special virtual edition of Rocky Topics focused on allyship and antiracism. Rocky Topics is a dialogue series for faculty, staff, and students centered on timely and often difficult subjects affecting our community. Tomorrow’s event will be hosted in partnership with the SGA, the Office of Multicultural Student Life, and the College of Social Work, and it will rely on Kendi’s work. I hope you will join us.
Across the university, those of us who are not black know it is not enough to say we support our black friends, colleagues, and students. We must identify and dismantle the inequities in our policies and structures. We have a lot of work to do, and I will continue to update you and seek input as we move forward with new initiatives. Likewise, I hope you will reach out to me directly with your concerns, questions, and ideas.
Change will not be easy and it will not be quick. But together we can make things better.