Graduate College Students, Professional Students, Postdocs, Faculty, and Staff:
We recognize that there is fear, pain, and grief that surrounds racial inequality, injustice, and violence against the Black community. The time for denouncing hate and creating positive societal change is now.
We are deeply saddened by the senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Sean Reed, as well as the countless other Black lives victimized by police violence and white supremacy. These tragedies reinforce that the safety of our Black graduate students, professional students, postdocs, faculty, and staff is paramount.
As a college, we acknowledge white supremacy is the root cause of systemic racial oppression, police brutality, and social and economic injustices endured by Black, Indigenous, and communities of color across the country who bear the full and unjust weight of institutionalized inequalities throughout their entire lives. The Black Lives Matter movement has demonstrated there is much work to be done and we stand in solidarity with them.
First and foremost, please know that we are here to listen. We encourage members of our Graduate College community to share their experiences with us directly, as well as their thoughts on how we can best support one another in the days and weeks ahead.
We also want our community to know that we are here to help and that you have our full support. We understand people are weary. We want our Black students and colleagues to feel empowered to prioritize their health and that of their loved ones during this difficult time.
While the Graduate College has been committed to building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive experience for its students through a myriad of ways, we recognize there is room to grow.
Therefore, we are committed to the following:
- Engage members of the Graduate College team in an internal analysis of its diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) climate data—anticipating difficult self-reflection, but productive conversations about how to move forward
- Create an avenue where graduate and professional students and postdocs have the chance to provide feedback as the Graduate College’s Strategic Plan is rolled out and implemented
- Develop a collegiate-wide DEI board with voices from students, faculty, postdocs, and staff
- Continue to bolster the efforts and visibility of the Graduate College DEI team
- Establish protocol for the Graduate College’s administrative, academic affairs, external relations, and graduate success teams on how to best assist students and postdocs who experience racism and microaggressions
- Commit to ongoing diversity, equity, and inclusion training for Graduate College leadership via the UI’s BUILD Program and other resources across campus
- Provide training sessions for Graduate College department heads, the university’s directors of graduate studies, and program coordinators to facilitate organizational, policy, and systemic changes
- Increase our capacity to provide additional underrepresented students the opportunity to engage with our Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP)
- Strengthen our partnership with the Center for Diversity and Enrichment to amplify student resources and create a robust pipeline for University of Iowa undergraduate students to attend the Graduate College
- Continue to prioritize financial support for the recruitment, retention, and completion of degree programs for underrepresented students
- Work with university leadership to determine how graduate and professional students and postdocs will partner in its law enforcement reform efforts.
Please know that the Graduate College is committed to actively listening, growing, and taking action to move the needle toward a more just society. We want to be held accountable and worthy of your trust. We will lead from a foundation of respect, as well as recognize everyone’s humanity and dignity.
Undoubtedly, this will be an ongoing transformation. It will take hard work, difficult conversation, and much internal reflection, but we believe our academic community is up for the challenge.
Associate Provost for Graduate and Professional Education
Dean, UI Graduate College
UI Graduate Student Senate (GSS) Executive Board
UI Graduate and Professional Student Government (GPSG) Executive Board
UI Postdoc Association Executive Board