I hope this finds you healthy and safe. I am following up with you on comments the senior team offered in our division newsletter in early June. We expressed then and continue to believe now that we are experiencing a time of multiple crises: the coronavirus pandemic, the disparate health outcomes impacting communities of color (with COVID-19 laying bare long-standing systemic racism), and nationwide protests calling out the country’s history of anti-Black racism and the violence it continues to perpetuate.
In her recent letter to the community, President Paxson communicated a number of steps the institution is taking to address racial injustice. As a division, we have been creating and continue to create spaces for students and colleagues to support each other as well as to take up issues of equity and inclusion. There have been a number of listening sessions focused on equity and inclusion within Athletics for students, coaches, and staff. Led by colleagues in the identity centers, the division recently held a community hour for Black students with participation from Black staff. Other colleagues, including Residential Life and Student Activities, have been rethinking our collaborative working relationship with DPS.
To continue this work, we will offer opportunities to listen to and support Black staff, as well as an ally session for all staff within the division. These spaces will be similar to recent sessions sponsored by the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity. Jennifer Hunter, Associate Director for Campus Life Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives, will host a community care/listening session for Black staff in Campus Life on Friday, September 25th at 12 PM. Please sign up for a Zoom link. Loc Truong, Assistant Vice President for Campus Life Engagement, will host a community care/listening session for all division staff on Wednesday, September 30th at 12 PM. Please sign up here. President Paxson has asked administrative units to identify short term steps that can be taken to address anti-Black racism. We expect that these conversations will help inform our collective work moving forward.
We look forward to your participation, and appreciate your engagement and solidarity.