Lundquist Students, Faculty, and Staff,
I have been struggling to find words to voice my despair at the never-ending cycle of injustice and racism—including the recent senseless killings—endemic in our society and embedded in our institutional structures. As a Michigan native, I have childhood memories of the Detroit riots in the midst of the nationwide civil rights struggle for equality and justice. I lived for 26 years in Virginia, where systemic racism denied Black people of my age the access and right to an equal education. I have been saddened by Oregon’s history of racism, which was until recently reflected in the name of a building on our own campus, and is still resonating across our state today.
Recent events have shed light once again on the systemic racism that continues to permeate our society and threatens not just the livelihoods, but the actual lives, of African Americans. As we struggle with the pain of these events and the larger issues they speak to, we must also be there for each other and look for productive ways in which we can work toward ending racism.
As an international college, in recent years it has become central to our mission to advance diversity; to expose, discuss, and challenge racism in our organizations and institutions; to lead with empathy; and to strive to make sure that each and every student succeeds, regardless of race, religion, ethnic origin, socio-economic background, gender identity, or sexual orientation. But what has become increasingly clear in the past week is that we need to do more. All of us in the Lundquist College of Business must re-double our efforts to create a more just, free, and prosperous world.
We must work together to create a more safe, open, and nurturing climate in the classroom; build a curriculum that prepares students to effectively lead in a diverse society; continue to work to attract, retain, and better serve Black, Native, Latinx, and Asian students, faculty, and staff; and educate ourselves by doing a better job of listening to, learning from, and amplifying minority voices, particularly those of the Black community.
Our challenge and pledge is to never stop working to break down barriers in order to build social trust and reestablish faith in the people and institutions who are here to serve everyone.
This is how we move forward to stand with Black students, faculty, staff, alumni, community members, and beyond to express our shared outrage at the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and all victims of police brutality and racially motivated violence. By dedicating ourselves to advancing a rhetoric of empathy and respect, we will enable our community—especially our students—to carry the torch to change our world for the better for years to come.
I welcome all suggestions and encourage you to reach out to let us know how we can do better. We are listening.
Sarah E. Nutter
Edward Maletis Dean