Statement of solidarity

‘We must not shy away from these difficult moments,’ campus leaders say

Dear UWL campus community:

In recent weeks, we’ve seen many responses to the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and Tony McDade among countless others. More broadly, we’ve been reminded of the ever-present issues of systemic racism, injustice, police violence, bias and racial profiling throughout our country.

We must not shy away from these difficult moments and the discomfort surrounding them. We must commit, more than ever, to confront the way white supremacy and racism are embedded in all of America’s public institutions, including our university. As members of a predominantly white institution, it is our obligation to support, affirm and advocate for all who are marginalized in our campus and local communities.

Diversity makes us stronger not just as a university, but as human beings. We must continue the critical work of building an inclusive campus — one that attracts and retains diverse students, faculty and staff, and that stresses the importance of being a global citizen. Even as our campus community has been apart in recent months, we have not lost sight of the fact that we are stronger together. That has never been more relevant than it is today. As an institution, we are at our best when we support, uplift and — perhaps most of all — take the time to listen to one another.

To the black and brown students, faculty and staff who are part of our campus community: Our university stands with you. We are sorry for the pain these events have caused, and we are committed to doing our part to build a brighter, safer and more inclusive world.

Although our people are not physically on campus, please know that many offices continue to be a resource for those seeking support. This list was sent to the campus community last week; we’d like to reiterate it today:

For our campus community members hoping to educate themselves and their communities regarding issues of racism and how they can be an anti-racist, Assistant Professor Shilpa Viswanath, Political Science and Public Administration, has shared a list of resources:

Please connect with your family and friends to support one another through these challenging times. Take care, be safe and lean into others for hope, love and strength.

In solidarity,

Joe Gow, Chancellor

Barbara Stewart, Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion

Betsy Morgan, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Bob Hetzel, Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance

Vitaliano Figueroa, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

Greg Reichert, Vice Chancellor for Advancement