Faculty-led conversations about Sunday’s demonstration

February 1, 2013

To:      Faculty, students and staff
From:  Thomas F. Rosenbaum, Provost

As Wednesday’s email to the campus community from Karen Warren Coleman and myself observed, the recent demonstration and resulting arrests at the Center for Care and Discovery have sparked conversations across campus about issues related to student protests, policing, health care, and the University’s relationship to its neighbors. I should like to report to you now plans for three faculty-led dialogues that will provide venues for broader, campus-wide engagement with such concerns. These examinations of University values and aspirations will supplement the more formal and focused review processes already taking place.

First, Michael Dawson, John D. MacArthur Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture; Dr. Doriane Miller, Associate Professor of Medicine and Director of the Center for Community Health and Vitality; and Deborah Nelson, Associate Professor of English Language & Literature and Deputy Provost for Graduate Education, have kindly agreed to shape a wide-ranging discussion on the impact of Sunday’s demonstration from the perspectives of race studies, community relations, and graduate education.

Second, I will constitute a faculty committee to review and make recommendations about practices and policies regarding dissent and protest on campus. Should protests in healthcare and research facilities with patients and technical equipment be treated differently than those in instructional or administrative buildings? How do we think about protests that include both University affiliates and community members? What are the roles of the police and University staff and the responsibilities of protesters? The committee will be chaired by David Strauss, Gerald Ratner Distinguished Service Professor of Law, and staffed by Associate Provost for Faculty and Student Affairs Ingrid Gould. It will solicit broad input from the University community.

Third, the Medical Center’s leadership will host a discussion of the role of University of Chicago Medicine in providing healthcare to the South Side of Chicago including inpatient, outpatient, emergency room, community programs and trauma care.

As always, we make progress in understanding the issues at hand through a robust exchange of ideas from different perspectives. I encourage everyone to participate in these dialogues.