Undergraduate Studies Solidarity Statement for Social Justice
October 26, 2020
The Office of Undergraduate Studies stands in solidarity with the global movement against racial injustice. This movement was brought into sharp focus following the string of shocking murders—of Daniel Prude, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, Tony McDade—which are only the latest manifestation of centuries of legalized discrimination, wealth appropriation, and state-sanctioned brutality. As the long legacy and pernicious effects of racial inequities and anti-Black violence have persisted, countless Black lives have been lost and voices have been silenced. Black Lives Matter.
Unfortunately, the University of Maryland is part of this history, having perpetuated segregation and excluded people of color. The recent deaths of two Black students on our campus, Jordan McNair and Lt. Richard Collins III, who was tragically murdered, speak to ongoing racial inequities that we must acknowledge and address.
Amid the shock, outrage, grief, and pain of so many unjust and untimely deaths, there are reasons for hope. The ongoing unified global protest movement is itself an expression of defiance, solidarity, and a call for justice. Institutions across the country and around the world are responding to these calls and undertaking real change. As part of this change moment, the University has committed itself to honest self-reflection and systemic transformation. Undergraduate Studies commits to embracing change in our practices and policies that perpetuate racism. To do otherwise would continue to undermine the principles of justice for all and the foundation of our American democracy.
The Office of Undergraduate Studies impacts all undergraduate students by shaping the quality, coherence, and value of their educational experiences. As members of a predominantly white institution we recognize that students, staff, and faculty of color have not always enjoyed equitable treatment.
UGST has a responsibility to create and maintain a constructive, healthy work environment so that all of our students can thrive in a supportive learning environment. To further these aims, we must collectively rectify the wrongs of the past and actively combat racism and other forms of discrimination by identifying and modifying inequitable workplace practices and policies.
To accomplish these goals, UGST commits to engaging in a respectful understanding of racial injustice, and joins the University’s commitment to creating equitable communities for every student, faculty, and staff member. We commit to using our intellectual resources, as well as our programs’ missions, practices, and services to students, to identify and combat policies that perpetuate institutional racism.
We invite all members of the UGST community to reflect critically on our past and to pursue an honest, equitable, flourishing environment for the future.
William A. Cohen
Associate Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Studies
UGST Diversity & Inclusion Task Force