As a nation, we find ourselves once again in upheaval central to antiblack racism. The tragic, senseless, and untimely deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Nina Pop, James Scurlock, Tony McDade, and too many others who’ve lost their lives at the reckless and heartless actions of law enforcement (those charged with the sole job to “protect and serve”) has lit a firestorm across the country, as well as protests and demonstrations in other nations. These actions speak to us -- they not only demand, but require, immediate tangible change and action for those who need it most.
In light of all that is going on, it is essential that we express our commitment to you. The UCR Graduate School of Education is committing to an unwavering dedication to the fight for racial justice, including the complete dismantling of insidious forms of oppression. Doing our part in creating a more just and equitable society is at the very fabric of our School, which stands ready to serve you, our students, and the community at large.
We are critically aware that you are experiencing the compounding stressful effects of the COVID-19 public health crisis with the pain, anger, outrage, and sadness over the inhumane killings of Black people, which have now received extensive media coverage due to our access to videos of some of the most recent killings. These circumstances have given rise to a need for civic reflection, engagement, and solidarity that requires, in many cases, prioritizing our attention away from the intended curriculum in our courses. They have raised a level of trauma that has left many of our students exhausted, unable to focus on their studies, and in need of the time to give full attention to the historic events sweeping through our nation. We fully support your needs in this critical time.
We commend our students for swiftly stating their needs regarding academic flexibility for this term and for outlining needed reforms moving forward. We recognize that your education is furthered by your attention to the important issues of our time and can be better served by modifications to the planned curriculum and assessments. Our first and foremost priority is to support the well-being and education of our students.
We, as a school, strongly encourage maximum flexibility from faculty and instructors regarding final assignments and exams for the Spring 2020 quarter. Assessment must not only uphold professional commitments to content mastery, but also champion empathy and authentic caring amidst extraordinary circumstances affecting both teachers and learners. We take seriously what it means for our students to be significantly impacted by this moment. It is important for the GSOE to be thoughtful and flexible, where possible, during this time of crisis and uncertainty. Our faculty have responded to your needs by making the types of accommodations that you have asked for.
Moving forward, we commit to listening carefully and working with you toward ending the conditions that create injustice and dehumanize Black people. We will listen to our students to develop initiatives and resources to advance healing and wellness, and enlighten our community. At the same time, we must not rely on the Black and African American community to do all the heavy lifting. UCR Black faculty, staff, and students must be able to count on allies to take a bigger role in working to bring about transformative action. Our fight against injustice will be much stronger if all of us make a greater effort to get involved and enlighten our community about what we’re up against.
Let’s dedicate ourselves to promoting civic engagement to make our voices heard and to exercise our right to vote to end the power of those who support racist ideologies. Let’s dedicate ourselves to demanding that our state and communities institute police reforms that promote better training and greater consequences for violating the oath to protect and serve us all. Let’s dedicate ourselves to diversifying the teaching force and strengthening teachers’ racial literacy. Finally, let’s dedicate ourselves to working even harder to increase Black faculty, staff, and student enrollment on this campus.
GSOE Senior Leadership and Members of the GSOE Faculty