This has been a difficult couple of weeks, with the devastating Earthquake in Nepal and the unfolding tensions over the Freddie Gray homicide in Baltimore. Last Thursday, we met with the President’s Multicultural Student Advisory Committee — a group of students who advise the University on issues of diversity and campus climate — and they shared their own concerns about the situation in Baltimore and the issues we continue to face as a nation around the intersection of race, justice, and law enforcement. While none of us had answers, we agreed there continues to be a need on our campus for safe spaces to discuss such societal issues, our own personal reactions to them, and their implications for and beyond our academic community.

To support this campus conversation, SLiCE will host a “Cookies and Conversation” this Thursday, May 7, from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in Room 226-228 of the LSC. This is an opportunity to talk about issues and ideas, and this week the discussion will include a focus on Baltimore.

Vice President for Diversity Mary Ontiveros has scheduled an additional Diversity Dialogue brown-bag lunch session this spring, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. May 18 in the Diversity House at Shields and Laurel.

In addition, all the Student Diversity Programs and Services offices welcome students to come in to process their concerns, fears, and questions as needed.

There are also national resources that may be of interest and provide an opportunity to reflect and engage, including this website from the American College Personnel Association. Our SDPS offices and the Office of the VP for Diversity can share other resources with those who have an interest.

As educated women and men, we have a responsibility to face and attempt to understand complex and difficult societal questions — and we are privileged to have a safe and inclusive setting in which to do so. We encourage all of you to engage in the conversation.

Dr. Tony Frank

Dr. Blanche Hughes
Vice President for Student Affairs

Mary Ontiveros
Vice President for Diversity