A compassionate, equitable and just society for all

Dear campus community,

The anger, hurt, fear and frustration that so many members of our community are feeling—especially our Black students, staff and faculty—is profound. George Floyd’s name must now be added to those of others who’ve been victims of systemic oppression and violence: Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner and Michael Brown, to name just a few.

Their deaths, along with far too many others, have most visibly exposed our society’s deeply rooted racism, inequities and white supremacy. In recent days, this painful fact has drawn tens of thousands of people together in peaceful solidarity, including here in Salt Lake City, to demand accountability and change. The power of this moment is diminished, as so eloquently stated on Saturday by Utah leaders, when peaceful protest turns violent.

As the flagship university, the University of Utah is positioned to support state leaders in their efforts to shape criminal justice reform, promote social justice and equity, and address pervasive racism. This spring, we began a series of campus conversations designed to bring community leaders and scholarly experts together in search of understanding and solutions to racism, oppression and hatred. That work will continue with renewed vigor and intensity.

We are committed to equity, diversity and inclusion at the University of Utah and are steadily progressing in our efforts to make this historically white institution more representative of and responsive to the diverse communities we serve.

We join Pastor France Davis and state lawmakers Sandra Hollins, Angela Romero, Karen Kwan, Mark Wheatley, Luz Escamilla and Jani Iwamoto in urging Utahns to make their voices heard peacefully, respectfully and safely—important as the health and well-being of our community continues to be compromised by coronavirus, which also has underscored the deep inequities in our society.

Our ability to support and help one another is challenging right now given that physical distancing is a necessity. Our campus resources remain open and available for those who need someone to talk to at this time.

For now, please know we share a commitment to creating a compassionate, equitable and just society for all.

Ruth Watkins
President

Dan Reed
Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Mike Good
Senior Vice President for Health Sciences

Mary Ann Villarreal
Vice President for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Jason Perry
Vice President for Government Relations

Bill Warren
Chief Marketing & Communications Officer

Lori McDonald
Vice President for Student Affairs

Laura Snow
Chief of Staff

Marlon Lynch
Chief Safety Officer

Cathy Anderson
Chief Financial Officer/Vice President for Administrative Services

Mark Harlan
Director of Athletics

Patti Ross
Chief Business Strategy Officer

Andy Weyrich
Vice President for Research

Jeff Herring
Chief Human Resources Officer

Phyllis Vetter
Vice President & General Counsel

Heidi Woodbury
Vice President for Institutional Advancement