Published: June 01, 2020

The following was sent to the University community on Monday, June 1, from Ron Vaughn, UT president; David Stern, provost; Stephanie Russell Krebs, vice president of student affairs and dean of students; and James MacLeod, chairman of the Board of Trustees.

Plant HallIf you would like to share comments or concerns regarding our campus climate with the Dean of Students Diversity Advisory Group, you can email diversityadvisorygroup@ut.edu.

We are witnessing the pain, sadness and frustration that many in our community and across the nation are facing. We are simultaneously outraged and confounded at the inhumanity witnessed in the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbury, Nina Pop and many others.

We continue to face outward displays of racism, implicit bias, violence and racial injustice. Many of us in higher education have worked for years to promote diversity and social justice. But much work remains. We will continue to promote self-reflection, community-wide dialogue, and mutual understanding and respect, but we recognize we cannot meet our goals without more robust student, faculty and staff participation. 

Our new reality of living with COVID-19 has been challenging, and the social isolation and distancing has further divided our society. While we work toward our coming together for Fall 2020, we must be more committed than ever to live up to our shared values that are articulated in the Spartan Code. The code intones that we are a community committed to the values of honesty, citizenship, inclusion, respect, responsibility and life-long learning. And as such we all agree and pledge to honesty, citizenship, inclusion, respect, responsibility and life-long learning.

To live the Spartan Code means combatting racism in all forms. This involves recognizing our privilege and using our individual and collective voices to promote justice. It means standing in solidarity with our black faculty, staff and students knowing that many of us will never understand their experiences. It means continually evaluating our campus climate and striving to be better. It means showing up and affirming each other, not just now in a time of crisis, but all of the time.

If you would like to share comments or concerns regarding our campus climate with the Dean of Students Diversity Advisory Group, you can email diversityadvisorygroup@ut.edu. The group will meet next week to discuss feedback we’ve received and action steps moving forward.

We care about our UT Spartans. If you need support, there are a variety of resources:

  • If you have been impacted by current events, need support and would like to speak to a counselor, please contact counseling@ut.edu.
  • For student organization support, please contact Erika Buckley, associate director of leadership and diversity, ebuckley@ut.edu.
  • To report any bias incidents in the UT community, the Bias Education Resource Team is available and can be contacted through the chair, Sabrina Griffith, director of student care and advocacy, sgriffith@ut.edu.

Take care of yourself and each other. Know your Spartan community is always here for you.




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