June 10, 2020
The George Floyd tragedy and the issue of racial injustice continues to trouble us deeply. Last week, I shared a letter with you expressing our mutual pain and frustration following this sad, senseless death. In it, I wrote, “Our mission as an institution and our responsibility as human beings compel us to take a stand.”
Today, I am writing to tell you about the initial steps we are taking to fulfill that mission and meet that responsibility.
We are undertaking the following initiatives:
- Empowering a University-wide group of faculty, staff, students and alumni to assess the state of racism in the Houston community and what the University of Houston can do to combat it. The group will be charged with asking the right questions, facilitating meaningful dialogue and generating actionable ideas for us to be part of the solution to bring about change.
- On a more immediate level, I am requesting that all deans and directors host dialogues within their own units to listen and see how each of us can contribute collectively and individually to solving these difficult problems. Stay informed and engaged with your college.
- Instructing UH’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion to host regular sessions for continued dialogue. If you are interested, please check their web page.
- In addition the Provost’s Office will host national thought leaders on race and inclusion to help advance our thinking and plans for action as a Tier One University. Most of these sessions will be open to students and information will be forthcoming.
Our University feels a moral responsibility to help our campus and the Houston community heal and is committed to doing what we can. But we don’t assume that these initiatives alone will resolve the complex problems behind the systemic racism that has existed for decades. We are encouraged to hear motivated students speaking up and coming up with ideas and solutions. We are interested in listening to you, incorporating your ideas and bringing forth meaningful change.
We all continue to feel sorrow and outrage. As we move forward together, we will focus our institutional resources and personal principles on fixing this appalling problem, and I encourage you to engage and to participate for the solutions we so desperately desire.
With warm regards,Renu Khator