One important facet of the timely dialogues on structural racism, policing, and justice in our nation is academic inclusion. Here in BSOS, we recognize the barriers to entry and advancement that many Black scientists and students face in academic settings, and we embrace this opportunity to continue our efforts to recruit, support, retain and encourage BSOS Black students, faculty, staff, and alumni in every way possible.
Today, Wednesday, June 10, several campaigns (#ShutDownSTEM, #ShutDownAcademia, and #Strike4BlackLives) are holding a day of reflection and action on the institutional manifestations of racism in higher education and related science settings. For 24 hours, we are asked to spend time and energy learning and thinking about how to challenge individual, institutional, and systemic racism, particularly as linked to blocked access and inequalities for Black colleagues in academia. I encourage you to participate in these grassroots action and awareness campaigns in ways that are meaningful and productive to you.
However, I also recognize that it is not possible for many to rearrange their schedules today on such short notice. Therefore, I encourage each supervisor, department chair, and administrator in BSOS to work closely with all students, faculty and staff, offering them flexibility and support as they pursue learning, training, and participation in such important activities, or if they choose to engage in rest and reflection. I encourage this flexibility and support, not just today, and not just tomorrow, but every day.
Please know that we will make sure that additional opportunities are available this summer so that each of you has an opportunity to take this time at a later date.
For those interested in learning more—or in action, or in support, or in further resources—I commend to you:
· Today’s webinar on “Policing and the Pandemic” hosted by the Departments of Criminology and Criminal Justice and Sociology, as part of the launch of our new Master of Professional Studies in Public Safety Leadership and Administration.
· A School of Public Health event today at noon, “Building Community for Anti-Racist Action,” to be presented on Facebook Live.
· The BSOS Town Hall held earlier this week that focused on “Policing and Racism in America,” which featured faculty members from our Departments of African American Studies, Government and Politics, and Sociology, as well as our Baha’i Chair for World Peace.
· The resources, services and events offered by UMD’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.