Statement from the President’s Committee on Diversity at Alfred University
Below please find a statement from our President’s Committee on Diversity (PCOD). My brief email of Saturday evening was shaped by having just watched a pained press conference by mayor Lovely Warren in the wake of violence breaking out in Rochester, my original hometown. In retrospect, the email failed to call out the pervasiveness of racism and to convey, from the heart, an understanding of the pain, raw wounds, and anger generated by the murder of George Floyd. In addition, it did not express that we are here to listen to, learn from, and support our affected community members. The statement below has grown out of the input offered by many of you.
Thank you for both your forbearance as well as willingness to make our University (and me) better.
Dear Members of the Alfred University Community:
We feel crushing sadness over George Floyd’s heinous murder last Monday. We also share the hurt, anger, love, and hope of the protestors who are working to bring about systemic change in the wake of the most current atrocities perpetrated upon Black people in America. We consciously recognize and acknowledge that the most recent protests seeking justice for George Floyd are the tragic continuation and extension of the outrage and trauma intimately connected to so many other unjustified and horrific Black and Brown deaths: Eric Garner, who also could not breathe; Michael Brown, whose hands were up; Philando Castile, who was reaching for his license; Breonna Taylor and Atatiana Jefferson, who were both killed in their homes; and far too many others.
Black men are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police than White people are; Black women, 1.4 times more likely. These disparities reflect the deeper issue that demonstrators are protesting–that Black lives have not been equally valued in this country. Such purposeful devaluation is at the heart of the Black Lives Matter movement. Alfred University supports the mission of The Black Lives Matter Global Network: “healing ourselves and each other, and co-creating alongside comrades, allies, and family a culture where each person feels seen, heard, and supported.”
Alfred University is committed to educating our community, actively acknowledging and challenging the insidious impact of bias—within our community as well as in the broader society. We unequivocally condemn both historic and modern systemic racism, where bias and power have converged violently to oppress and suppress Black, Brown, and other historically marginalized populations–whether in the form of economic discrimination, reduced access to education and health care, or the disproportionate killing and incarceration of Black and Brown individuals by the criminal justice system.
- Alfred University condemns the murder of George Floyd and all other victims at the hands of police officers.
- Alfred University supports and will conduct implicit bias training at our own institution.
- Alfred University supports implicit bias training and overt bias screening of police departments.
- Alfred University commits to a deliberate and intentional course of action to create an environment in which we will listen to, learn from, and amplify those voices actively and consistently advocating for equity and inclusion, through programming, professional development, and philanthropic initiatives.
To promote meaningful opportunities for Alfred University students, faculty, and staff to protest the murder of George Floyd, we are inviting you to participate in the following community-initiated events:
- 4 p.m. Thursday, June 4, rally at Village bandstand
- Friday, June 5, march (details TBA)
If other members of our faculty and staff would like to join us in endorsing these principles, we invite you to sign this resolution in support of our students and our mission.
We also invite you to contact us with ideas that you might have for how we can be there for, listen to, learn from, and support our community members during this challenging time while we seek to promote a more just community, on campus and beyond.
The President’s Committee on Diversity:
Kayla Colter ‘20 (Co-Chair)
Beth Ann Dobie, Interim Provost
Kimberly Guyer, Vice President for Student Affairs
Dan Napolitano ‘93, Assistant Dean, School of Art and Design and Chief Diversity Officer
Melissa Ryan, Professor, English
Dr. Brian M. Saltsman, Director, Student Diversity and Inclusion
Robert Stein, Associate Professor, Social Sciences
Mark Zupan, President (Co-Chair)