April 20, 2021
To: Members of the University Community
From: Ka Yee C. Lee, Provost
Subject: Our Commitment to an Inclusive Community
Date: April 20, 2021
For many, the trial of Derek Chauvin for George Floyd’s death is a reminder of the racism, bias and violence, particularly anti-Black violence, that have been present throughout much of our country’s history. The trial has now ended with a verdict of guilty on all counts, but we will continue the vital process of reckoning and improvement that is underway across campus.
In June of last year, President Zimmer and I wrote that the University has more work ahead to address problems of racial bias and inequity on our campus. The University has been working on the actions laid out in the message, and we plan to provide an update on our progress before the end of Spring Quarter.
Today, we reaffirm our commitment to building an environment characterized by inclusion. It is essential to embrace our diversity and to build understanding. Such openness to others is central to the exchange of ideas and perspectives that defines this University.
I recognize that many in our community are already dealing with the cumulative effect of stress related to the pandemic, the pressures of academic work, and recent incidents of violence around the country. During difficult times, it is important that we come together in support of our fellow community members. The campus resources listed below offer opportunities to do so.
- UChicago Student Wellness offers 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, and other student groups. The Staff and Faculty Assistance Program offers support for University personnel.
- Panel Highlighting Youth Voices: Presented by the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture (CSRPC); Pozen Center Human Rights Lab; Office of Multicultural Student Affairs; Center for Identity + Inclusion; University Community Service Center; Black Graduate Coalition at UChicago.
- Listening Circle Discussion Guide: Health Promotion and Wellness is providing a discussion guide for those in our community who want to discuss recent incidents that have taken place around the country. For example, the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs will host a listening circle in support of Black students. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of the guide.
- Guided Meditation: On Wednesday, April 21 at 5:00 pm, Health Promotion and Wellness is offering a guided meditation that is open to students, faculty, staff, OAAs, and postdoctoral researchers. There will be a pre-recorded option for anyone who cannot attend or who prefers to reflect individually. This is in addition to the weekly offerings by Spiritual Life.
I encourage all members of the University community to continue working together to create a supportive and inclusive environment. Our University is at its best when we treat each other with care and mutual respect, build on our shared values, and come together for the benefit of our community and our broader society.