A Letter to the UB Community
Dear Campus Community,
The outrageous killing of George Floyd on May 25th profoundly affected people across America and shocked the conscience of the nation. What began as a response to a report of a minor offense led unacceptably to the taking of George Floyd’s life. A racial dimension is sadly obvious. As a community, we call to mind that George Floyd leaves behind family and friends with an immeasurable sense of loss.
UB is a unified and inclusive community. We grieve the loss of George Floyd and denounce racism and the unjustified actions that resulted in the taking of his life. This marks the fourth high-profile incident in recent weeks stemming from racism and/or police brutality that creates a sense of hopelessness, despair, and hurt among members of our community. And, today, as always, we stand together with compassion and support as we seek to heal the longstanding wounds that continue to tear apart our nation. Our society can and must do better to ensure that these tragic outcomes are never repeated.
We are filled with anger, frustration, and outrage—and we offer a more inclusive approach. We are a compassionate community. We are a community that makes an impact. We are an emboldened community. And, we have a platform to make a difference. At the center of our core values, we believe in opportunity and access for all and in treating individuals with respect.
Our University, the 39th most ethnically diverse national university that includes students from 80 countries, has a longstanding history of promoting peace and in valuing each other’s differences. Martin Luther King, Jr., the first recipient of an honorary degree from the University of Bridgeport, said that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” His words ring as true today as the day he spoke them. King led his historic movement in the fight against racial injustice through peaceful, non-violent protests. We encourage peaceful protest now in support of a lasting justice.
We are a community that prides itself on being diverse. As a University, it is our responsibility to help dismantle systems of oppression and create a space where all can teach and learn without fear, hate, discrimination, or bias. We at UB can and must do better.
Yesterday, students and faculty in UB’s School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) engaged in an online conversation about their concerns of the mistreatment of George Floyd and the imperatives for criminal justice and human security in America. Professor William Lay, the director of SPIA said, “This is one step in a meaningful conversation and community engagement that will continue in the weeks ahead.” These are often difficult and painful exchanges, but they increase our understanding and transform us. Let’s listen closely to each other and truly hear what people are saying from their hearts and minds.
We believe that our students will play a vital role in creating a more just, safer, and kinder world. The voices of our students, the future leaders who will confront these difficult situations, will be heard through advocacy, policy making, scholarship, and community engagement. During these challenging times, we will engage in conversation, be supportive of one another, and act in unity and purpose for the greater good. I have asked Craig Lennon, dean of students, to facilitate dialogue to ensure that we have an inclusive and safe community for all.
We understand that these are difficult times and want to make all members of our community aware of our support services. Counseling services are available to students by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Faculty and staff may access UB’s Employee Assistance Program at www.HigherEdEAP.com.
We are one University and one family.