Friday, June 5, 2020

Dear Senators,

We know many in our community continue to feel pain, anger, sadness, and frustration in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis and countless other examples of racial injustice. These incidents call out for a recommitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and the fight against racism. Together with the ongoing stress and alarm created by the pandemic, we feel now is a time for renewed unity and a bolder commitment to care for and respect one another. Protecting the faculty’s health, safety, and security remain our top priorities, and this commitment includes doing whatever we can to heal divisions and create an environment where all faculty feel they belong and can flourish.

For these reasons, the Faculty Senate Officers are grateful to Professor Jerry Anthony and the members of the Senate’s Governmental Relations Committee (GRC) for their willingness to begin work immediately on the following objectives:

  • Develop a clear plan for how the University of Iowa and Iowa City can come together to create an environment of better support and confidence for students, faculty, and staff of color, as well as for additional populations who are vulnerable and/or overlooked in our community. 
  • Determine what kind of programming can be created in the Fall to support this endeavor. The goal here is to determine what can be done that is more tangible and supporting of real change.
  • Work to coordinate these efforts by meeting and collaborating with the leaders of black student organizations, University and shared-governance leadership, the Iowa City mayor and police chief, and state legislators to forge a path forward for much needed change.

Since it is summer and there’s a great deal of work that needs to be done soon, we invite any interested Senator to volunteer to serve as an ad hoc member of the GRC to support the above goals. With our appreciation in advance, anyone willing to volunteer to help should feel free to contact the Officers or Professor Anthony directly.

All credit for this initiative goes to Professor Anthony and the GRC. We believe their work will go far to augment the plan for law enforcement reform shared by University administrators earlier today—and which the Officers fully endorse (available here).  

Finally, the Officers remain committed to advancing the University’s DEI Action Plan. We will also continue to work with Bria Marcello and others in the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to make programming, training, and other opportunities for engagement on DEI issues regularly available to the faculty.

We know more work needs to be done. We therefore ask and thank you for your ongoing efforts to build a strong, trusting, safe, and inclusive community.

Respectfully yours,

Joe, Sandy, Teresa, and Ana

Faculty Senate Officers (2020-21)

Additional DEI Resources

  • The University of Iowa’s 2019-21 Excellence through Diversity Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan, released in April 2019, is available here.

  • Ruth Kahssai, Director of Justice and Equity, USG, and Dr. Maria Bruno, Executive Director of Belonging and Inclusion, DSL, have launched a Healing Spaces program for students, faculty, and staff who identify within the African Diaspora. More information available here.

  • Relevant Offices and Contact Information:

Equal Opportunity and Diversity, 319-335-0705
Office of the Ombudsperson, 319-335-3608               
Women’s Resource and Action Center (WRAC), 319-335-1486
Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP), 319-335-6000

University Counseling Service, 319-335-7294               
Office of the Dean of Students, 319-335-1162  

Campus Inclusion Team, 319-335-1162             
Center for Diversity and Enrichment, 319-335-3555
Graduate College Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, 319-335-2144
Academic Support and Retention, 319-335-1497
Student Disability Services, 319-335-1462, TTY 319-335-1498       

UI Employee Assistance Program, 319-335-2085
Faculty and Staff Disability Services, 319-335-2660, TTY 319-335-3495