Dear Faculty, staff and students,
The College of Arts and Sciences condemns the brutal killing of George Floyd. Mr. Floyd’s death is the latest in a wave of police and civilian violence, rooted in anti-Black racism, that has also taken the lives Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade in recent weeks alone. These latest tragedies have catalyzed a collective reckoning with the long and ongoing histories of racial discrimination and injustice in this country. They have exposed a flagrant devaluing of Black lives increasingly emboldened in the present.
While we express our solidarity with the current protests and calls for justice, we recognize that it should not take a crisis of this magnitude to draw our attention to the complexities of systemic and structural racism, anti-Black racism, and colonialism that continue to shape the lives of Black Americans. As we are moved to strengthen our commitment to change, we are challenged to confront the ways in which we have failed to alter the conditions that have made the Black Lives Matter movement necessary.
If we hope to truly stand in solidarity with African American students, staff, and faculty on this campus, we must do more. Our heartache in the current moment must translate into actions that center the aspirations of the Black communities at UB in all efforts to build a more accountable and inclusive institutional culture.
We decry the uses of excessive force against citizens protesting police brutality, anti-Blackness, systemic discrimination, and the erosion of civil liberties in this country. We renounce all efforts to criminalize and silence the crucial work of transformation that is underway in the streets of the cities and communities across this nation. Through this work emerges new possibilities that we will draw upon in moving towards a more just and equitable future.
Robin G. Schulze
College of Arts and Sciences
(Six Nations, Onondaga)
Associate Dean for Inclusive Excellence
Associate Professor of Native American Studies
Our commitment to diversity and inclusion goes hand in hand with our commitment to equity and social justice. In the College of Arts and Sciences, we value diversity in all forms, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, Indigeneity, gender and gender expression, sexual orientation, language, culture, religion, mental and physical ability, age, socio-economic status, parenting status, citizenship status, and immigration status. Openness, dignity, intellectual curiosity, and inclusiveness are crucial to learning. They are the root of true knowledge and lie at the heart of our academic mission.
The success of our efforts to recruit, retain and support peoples historically under-represented in U.S. universities demand that we rectify the inequalities long perpetuated in higher education. We know that our commitment to diversity must be a commitment to accountability and to action. Through informed investments we are working to ensure that our institutional culture, policies and infrastructure foster an inclusive environment. We know we cannot survive as a public institution without these investments. Our goal is to ensure the full participation and wellbeing of all members of the CAS community. Now more than ever, we must support each other.
We gratefully acknowledge the enormous contribution that diversity makes to our university. We believe that the ability to solve complex human problems depends on including and honoring the perspectives of diverse persons. Homogenous academic settings breed complacency and ignorance. Diversity expands our scholarly horizons and sparks intellectual growth. Diversity exposes us to new ideas and intellectual traditions and enhances our ability to think in complex ways that are critical to our collective future.
In the College, we are committed to creating and sustaining a learning environment that truly honors the contributions that diversity makes to our strength. We understand that supporting diversity and inclusion in CAS not only benefits our university, but benefits to all of the peoples and communities our institution was created to serve.