Dear Orfalea College of Business students, faculty, staff, and alumni,
We wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the heartache, anger, and sorrow that we know many of you, your families, and friends are feeling—and to assure you that we stand alongside you, with the same emotions in our hearts.
As leaders and educators, we strive to create an environment that fosters critical thought, equity, and ethical leadership, reflecting the best values of our society. Guided by these principles, we stand in solidarity of the social activism sweeping this nation.
It is clear that the tragic killing of George Floyd and so many other members of the Black community have been the result of centuries of racial injustice and socioeconomic and racial inequality in our society.
It is up to us to do what we can to change this—in business, in our classrooms, in our communities, in our minds and hearts. We need to acknowledge clearly, loudly, and passionately that these issues exist and will always exist, unless we take measures to stop them. We also need to lend our ears to the most important voices in this conversation, namely members of the Black community and other underrepresented communities of color. Most importantly, we need to ask ourselves how we can help or become active parts of the solution.
Although college campuses are designed to be communities of thought and study, they are also communities of care. Along with the students, faculty, staff, alumni, and other members of the Orfalea College of Business community who are near and far, we share feelings of pain for the lives lost to senseless violence. We encourage you to talk to one another, to sit together in silence and process, to speak to a classmate, instructor, or staff member who you have a relationship with, to reach out to campus support services. We must work together to continue asking the hard questions as we work toward a better society.
To our students: we are devoted to starting new conversations, listening intently, and most importantly learning from you. We will be implementing a student committee focused on issues of social justice and how we can do better as educators to create safe spaces both in and outside of the classroom to provide richer learning opportunities around these issues. We will also continue to invest in our Multicultural Business Program to provide much needed space for our underrepresented students to feel comfortable, supported, and empowered.
As a college, we will continue to re-examine our policies and seek to remove institutional barriers for students of color through the lens of social justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. We will also continue our investment in intentional, ongoing professional development as a leadership team, and for our faculty and staff while partnering with our alumni and industry professionals to learn about best practices around diversity, equity, and inclusion in their workplaces, to better prepare our students and create a more inclusive environment at the Orfalea College of Business.
It is vital that we each respond in this moment and beyond it, and that we all do our part in any way we can. Now is the time to engage in these conversations, educate ourselves, and seek justice, so that Black lives can continue to matter.
Al Liddicoat | Interim Dean
Stern Neill | Incoming Associate Dean
Amy Carter | Assistant Dean for Student Success
Taryn Stanko | Faculty Fellow for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion & Associate Professor of Management