As the elected leaders of the University of Utah Academic Senate, we join with and support the sentiments expressed on May 31 by President Ruth Watkins and the university’s senior leadership about the systemic racism that exists in society. Like the administration, we do not condone anti-Black violence and applaud the campus conversations the university has had to make meaningful inroads into hatred and bigotry. We also support the administration’s stated desire to “make this historically white institution more representative of and responsive to the diverse communities we serve.” Toward that end, we call on the entire university community, faculty, staff, students and administrators to recognize that the steps taken to date, while positive and heading us in the right direction, need to be intensified if we are to achieve our goal of diversifying our community. Consequently, we call for the following specific actions to be taken:
- The central administration should make additional financial resources available to academic units to support the hiring and retention of more faculty, staff and academic fellows of color and to increase the diversity of our student body.
- Deans, department chairs and other academic leaders should accelerate their efforts to cultivate a climate and culture in which underrepresented populations thrive and are valued
- Each individual faculty member, staff and student should acknowledge they have a personal role to play in supporting the university’s goals for diversity, equity and inclusion.
When we have a more diverse community, the conversations about how best to achieve equity and inclusion will be more robust and efficacious. Words of action, bolstered by additional financial resources, are necessary if we are to fulfill our promise of a compassionate, equitable and just society for all.
We all must do our part.
Immediate Past President