The University at Buffalo's Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences is committed to building an inclusive, equitable, and diverse academic community where all students, faculty, and staff are valued and respected. We strive to prepare future clinicians and scholars to address the unique communication needs of individuals from all cultures and identities.
The Coalition for Antiracism and Equity (CARE) is a standing committee within the Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences (CDS). The CARE committee was developed to examine and elevate the diversity, equity, and access standards within the CDS Department. The CARE committee aims to foster a community of shared respect and belonging for all students, faculty, and staff through broadening our collective understanding of diverse cultures, identities, and perspectives.
Dear CDS Community
We, members of the UB CDS CARE Committee, continue to stand in solidarity with our students, faculty, staff, and alumni who are members of the Asian community in the face of rising anti-Asian racism we are witnessing. We are outraged by the murder of the eight people in Atlanta, Georgia this past March, which included six women of Asian descent. While anti-Asian racism, harassment, and misogyny are not new, the pandemic has instigated and shed light on a sharp escalation of these hateful and violent events: Anti-Asian hate crimes increased by nearly 150% in 2020, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism. We recognize that underlying this rise of anti-Asian prejudice is a long history of systemic racism and xenophobia in the United States and internationally. It is essential that we all remain cognizant of the many ways that anti-Asian stigmatization and intolerance manifest in order to continue to identify actionable, effective strategies to combat all forms of discrimination and inequity that persist in our communities.
We encourage everyone in our community to continue to speak out against anti-Asian racism and all forms of bigotry. If you have experienced or witnessed any form of intolerance you wish to report to the CARE Committee directly, or if you wish to share resources with us, you may contact us via our CARE email. If you wish to file an anonymous report with the University, you do so by using EthicsPoint. Student support is available at the Office of Student Life: Help/Support.
To our members of the Asian community: we continue to stand with you and for you. We value you and all of the contributions you make to our campus community. CDS is here to support your well-being and your success, and we will continue to work towards a safer and more equitable future together.
The year 2020 has been extraordinarily challenging for everyone across the globe. For university students, Fall 2020 in particular has been difficult. The global pandemic, social unrest surrounding racial inequalities, and now the upcoming election are combining to produce high levels of stress. Whatever combination of anger, stress, anxiety, grief, and anything else you may feel lately, know that it is valid. We, your professors and mentors on the CARE committee, write to you to affirm that our Department is committed to your health and well-being always, and especially now.
No matter the election outcome (or lack thereof) on November 3rd, we recognize that this is a moment of intense emotion. Please know that the Department’s faculty are here to support you. Our faculty will continue to create safe learning spaces for our students.
If you are currently struggling, we urge you to seek out UB’s Counseling Services (https://www.buffalo.edu/studentlife/life-on-campus/health/mental-well-being/counseling.html) located at 120 Richmond Quad (North Campus), phone: 716-645-2720 or 202 Michael Hall (South Campus), phone: 716-829-5800.
If you would like a community of support to share your feelings and listen to others, please attend one of the “Presidential Election Listening Sessions for Students” hosted by UB Counseling Services: https://calendar.buffalo.edu/event/presidential-election-listening-sessions-for-students-2/.
Finally, please feel free to reach out to the CARE committee with any questions, concerns, or need for additional support.
The Coalition for Anti-Racism and Equity (CARE) Committee
We, the undersigned UB CDS faculty, are committed to combating systemic racism on our campus and worldwide. We are disturbed and angered by the horrific murder of George Floyd by members of the Minneapolis police department. This tragedy is yet another in the long and painful history of senseless violence that has taken the lives of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tamir Rice, Atatiana Jefferson, Alton Sterling, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Daniel Prude and so many other people of color. These deaths serve as a bitter reminder of the discrimination, inequity, and racism that continues to plague our nation.
As a Department founded upon the principles of effective communication, the onus is on us to speak the language of civic unity and justice in our teaching, learning, and practice. We must listen carefully and learn from each other, validating experiences of racial injustice. In training future healthcare professionals, we must echo the American Public Health Association by declaring that racism is a public health issue. We must raise our collective voice to speak on behalf of the oppressed, affirming Black Lives Matter.
According to ASHA1, only 8.6% of its membership identified as a racial minority in 2019. As members of the Speech Language and Hearing community, we affirm that the gross under-representation of racial and ethnic minorities severely limits our ability to provide quality, culturally competent care to our diverse patient population.
Dismantling systemic racism is a complex and arduous task. There is so much work to do, and we accept and embrace this responsibility. In the months since George Floyd’s murder, members of the UB CDS faculty have engaged in long-overdue dialogue about combating systemic racism. The following are immediate actions to which we are committed:
These efforts represent only the beginning of a long-term commitment to creating a better, more accountable, more equitable world for all our students, faculty, and staff.
If you have suggestions for how the Coalition for Anti-Racism & Equity can further this important work, please contact CDS-CARE@buffalo.edu
1American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2020). Profile of ASHA members and affiliates, year-end 2019. Retrieved from www.asha.org
Molly Krygowski, Alison Hendricks, Nichol Castro, Thea Knowles, Chris Heffner, Adam Sheppard, Erin Wilson, Ahmed Nagy Abdelrahman, Nancy Stecker, Frits van Brenk, Richard Salvi, Mary Staebell, Laura E. Smith, Christina Stocking, Sharon Grandoni, Caroline Lewandowski, Gretchen Bennett, Jeff Higginbotham, Wei Sun, Bohua Hu
*The formation of CARE was unanimously approved by the CDS faculty.