March 22, 2021
To: Members of the University Community
From: Ka Yee C. Lee, Provost, and Michele Rasmussen, Dean of Students in the University
Subject: Opposing Racism and Acts of Violence Against People of Asian Descent
Date: March 18, 2021
We are deeply disturbed by recent cases of violence against people of Asian descent, which have taken place in cities across the U.S. Such deplorable and racist attacks are antithetical to the values of the University of Chicago and our commitment to welcome people of all backgrounds and from all parts of the world. In the face of such threats to the physical safety and social inclusion of people from diverse backgrounds, we must rededicate ourselves as a community to oppose violence, racism, and bias. We stand together on behalf of all people who are vulnerable to acts of violence and bias.
The University has many resources available to help and support people at the University who have experienced acts of bias or feel under threat, and to assist others to act in support of their fellow community members.
- Standing Together – In solidarity with those impacted by the recent attacks, the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA) is hosting a virtual gathering on March 19 at 5:00 pm CT, which is open to all students. The event will include words of remembrance, an opportunity for students to offer brief testimonials, and resources for dealing with incidents of racism.
- Reporting Incidents of Bias – The University urges anyone who has experienced or witnessed a bias incident to report it to the Bias Education & Support Team (BEST). BEST members provide emotional and administrative support to students who are affected by bias, while ensuring that incidents are properly recorded and appropriate formal and informal resolution processes are followed. BEST members focus on student needs and ensure students who report their experiences are heard throughout the process and understand the options and resources available to them.
- Seeking Support – Deans-on-Call are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide support and guidance to students during emergency situations. The Dean-on-Call intervenes to de-escalate the situation and ensure that students receive due consideration, fair treatment, and support after the incident passes. Deans-on-Call can be reached by calling the University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) at 773.702.8181 or by texting them directly through the UChicago Safe App.
- Working Together – UChicago Inclusion Workshops aim to create a more inclusive campus climate. The workshops are already part of the College’s orientation program and can be requested by any unit. Workshops introduce practical approaches to help people develop effective communication and listening skills and learn from and appreciate each other’s differences.
- Building Community – The Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA) creates intentionally diverse and inclusive communities, and serves as bridge building by engaging students and members of the University community of all backgrounds to ensure personal, academic, and professional growth and success.
- Supporting Mental Health – UChicago Student Wellness offers undergraduate and graduate students accessible, high-quality, and culturally sensitive mental health services. This includes virtual workshops and affinity-based support spaces for students of color, international students, LGBTQ+ students, sand other student groups. The Staff and Faculty Assistance Program offers support for University personnel.
We encourage you to engage with these resources, and to continue our work together in building a community that opposes bias and welcomes people of all backgrounds.