Dear Carolina Community,
This year has been one of the most difficult in our nation’s recent history. Along with enduring a global pandemic, we have witnessed widespread racial injustice in our country that also sparked outrage around the world. Though the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin forced everyone to relive George Floyd’s tragic killing, similar events that transpired prior to May 25, 2020, and into this week have forced us to, again, contemplate the unyielding pain and suffering faced by African American and Black people in our country.
As a community, we share in the pain, frustration and outrage over the abhorrent violence against African American and Black people who have been tragically killed by law enforcement. We stand in solidarity with our students, faculty and staff in working to end racial injustice.
Resources to support our community are available. The Office for Diversity and Inclusion and the Carolina Black Caucus will sponsor a virtual Black Community Convening for African American and Black students, faculty and staff at noon tomorrow. Students, including graduate and professional students and post-doctoral students may contact the Dean of Students team, the Office for Diversity and Inclusion, Counseling and Psychological Services or Student Wellness. CAPS also facilitates the Multicultural Health Program, including counseling and events for the BIPOC community. Faculty and staff should reach out to the Employee Assistance Program or access any of these resources for the BIPOC community.
We are grateful for the faculty, staff and students who have facilitated open and honest dialogue to help our community cope with far too many national tragedies this year. While we have begun new conversations, more work remains.
Moving forward, the University will continue to identify ways to promote belonging, accountability and transparency across the University. That is why the first initiative in Carolina Next: Innovations for Public Good is so important. Through our collective efforts to Build Our Community Together, we aim to create an environment where everyone feels welcome, respected and included. We cannot fulfill our mission as a leading global public research university if these essential pieces are not in place.
To that end, the Campus Safety Commission, in coordination with the Chancellor’s Office, the School of Social Work, the Office for Diversity and Inclusion and Carolina Athletics, is hosting a Spring Collaborative event. We invite you to attend Headspace, Heart Space: Straight Talk about Navigating Race, Place and Complex Space at 1 p.m. on April 28. Ty-Ron Douglas, associate athletic director for diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging at the University of California, Berkeley, is our guest speaker. He will address psychological and emotional safety and belonging and help us to have our own courageous conversations. We hope to see you there.
Please remember to lean on University resources and each other in these challenging times. The road ahead is not easy, but we have a steadfast commitment to continue taking steps to Build Our Community Together and advocating for lasting change.
Kevin M. Guskiewicz
Robert A. Blouin
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
Special Adviser to the Provost and Chancellor for Equity & Inclusion and Interim Chief Diversity Officer