UD stands in solidarity
As protests across the country and the world erupted in response to the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, the University of Dayton stood in solidarity with its brothers and sisters of color with calls for action, by providing resources and through continued work for equity and inclusion on campus.
President Eric F. Spina, in a letter to the University community, called on each person to reach out to others, pray and work for the end of violence and bigotry. “This hatred tears at the fabric of our nation, and we must institutionally and individually condemn it and work to counteract it,” he wrote.
During a video conversation with members of the Parent Leadership Council that was shared with parents of current students, Spina said the University’s Marianist heritage requires the University to find a new path forward. “We take responsibility for being part of the solution,” he said.
Education is one area where leaders can initiate change, said Lawrence Burnley, vice president for diversity and inclusion. In his participation on a panel discussion with the Dayton Daily News, he said children should receive a more nuanced and complex understanding of our history from multiple perspectives.
“We need to hear a woman’s take on this, we need to hear other African Americans and other Latinx and Native Americans,” he said. “We need to hear these different perspectives, truly modeling inclusion in curriculum, helping students think critically.”
Curricular change is among the 11 areas of action University administration has identified to continue to make progress.
In a letter to the UD community, members of the University’s leadership name the recent murders of African Americans as part of a pattern of injustice in a nation that must do better. “We recognize that UD is not immune to the kinds of racist systems and behaviors that perpetuate institutional racism,” the statement reads.
“We are called to embrace human diversity.”
It continues, “As a Catholic, Marianist university, we believe every person has innate dignity because all people are made in the image and likeness of God. We are called to embrace human diversity, communicate with respect, and to understand, disrupt, and dismantle systemic racism. Black lives do indeed matter.”
The University shared resources for action in its recent communications, including through social media. These include a list of Dayton Black-owned businesses, diverse social media accounts to follow, recommended reading and a guide to anti-racism resources.* (see below) The guide includes understanding racism, resources for anti-racist allies and support for members of racial minority groups.
Campus also demonstrated its support to students engaged with UD’s Multi-Ethnic Education and Engagement Center through a letter signed by more than 360 faculty and staff members who pledged to work toward structural change.
In addition to the 11-point plan, the University’s first strategic plan for diversity, equity and inclusion unveiled this past winter will help guide UD’s anti-racism efforts.
“It’s a time for solidarity, courageous dialogue, and a renewed commitment to equality and dignity for all,” Spina wrote. “Drawing on our Marianist heritage, we understand that we all share the responsibility for finding a new path forward that upholds and protects the worth and dignity of every person.”
*Anti-racist: To become actively conscious about race and racism and take actions to end racial inequities in our daily lives. source: National Museum of African American History and Culture
University Statement on Solidarity
The University of Dayton stands in solidarity with our brothers and sisters of color in our collective pain and sadness and prays for the end of violence and bigotry that is playing out all too often in our country. We understand that we all share the responsibility to find a new path forward that upholds and protects the worth and dignity of every person, knowing that all life is sacred. Black lives matter.