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Administration Commits to Addressing Anti-Black Racism

Reforms to Start With Series of Campus Conversations; Will Also Focus on Curriculum, Recruitment and Retention, Employee Training

By Maryland Today Staff

M gate

Photo by John T. Consoli

UMD has scheduled a series of conversations in coming weeks with students, staff and faculty to address anti-Black racism as it manifests in our structures and everyday lives.

President Wallace D. Loh and senior members of the university’s leadership sent the following email to the campus community this morning:

The University of Maryland is committed to becoming a campus where Black students, staff, faculty and guests feel safe and included. Current events—and UMD’s history—make it imperative that we address anti-Black racism as it manifests in our structures and everyday lives. We will not lose sight of ending bigotry and prejudice against all races, religions and identities, and we are charting a path now that specifically addresses anti-Black racism.

Change is needed. And to lead the change we seek, we will listen, act and unite.

First, we must listen. It is a critical part of reform to provide our campus community with the opportunity to offer counsel and guidance. Over the next month, the administration will host a series of “Community Conversations.” These small group discussions are designed to ensure that all attendees’ voices are heard in an open and welcoming environment. The ideas and information shared will be used to determine and direct ongoing initiatives. The conversations will open and improve communication so that we can work together to build community. There will be separate conversations for students, staff and faculty.

  • Exempt Staff Community Conversation: June 30, 3:30-5 p.m.
  • Non-exempt Staff Community Conversation: July 8, noon-1:30 p.m.
  • Student Community Conversations: July 14, 5-6:30 p.m. and July 20, noon-1:30 p.m.
  • Faculty Community Conversation: July 17, 3:30-5 p.m.

To learn more and sign up for a conversation, click here.

Second, even as we listen, we must act. We are reviewing the curriculum to ensure that the current general education diversity course requirement focuses on specific diversity, equity and inclusion topics. We are moving forward with plans to launch diversity and anti-racism training for faculty and staff that will establish a framework for ongoing education. We are examining ways to center the university’s values in everyone’s UMD experience. And we will create a website to track the process and progress of each initiative, and hold ourselves accountable.

Finally, to effect change on a systemic level, we must unite. We will coalesce the transformative power of shared governance to effect sustainable change in policy and practice. We will work with the University Senate, students, colleges and schools, the University of Maryland Police Department and other stakeholders to address issues including curriculum, recruitment and retention, training, collaboration and accountability.

This is just a start. We know there is much more to do. The impact of centuries of racism cannot be addressed overnight, but we believe that with sustained attention and our determination to be an inclusive and equitable campus, we can be a place where Black lives truly matter.

In community and solidarity,

Wallace D. Loh, President
Mary Ann Rankin, Senior Vice President and Provost
Carlo Colella, Vice President for Administration and Finance
Georgina Dodge, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion
Damon Evans, Director of Athletics
Jeffrey K. Hollingsworth, Vice President for Information Technology
Jackie Lewis, Vice President for University Relations 
Laurie E. Locascio, Vice President for Research
Patty Perillo, Vice President for Student Affairs
Mike Poterala, Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel

Maryland Today is produced by the Office of Strategic Communications for the University of Maryland community weekdays during the academic year, except for university holidays.