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Coggin College of Business

MESSAGE FROM DEAN AND DIRECTOR OF DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION

COGGIN COLLEGE OF BUSINESS

 

Our country is once again being challenged to contend with our long history of systemic racism. Despite making progress from the very dark days of slavery and segregation, we are still a long way from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream that all of us are judged by the content of our character and not the color of our skin.

 

The torture and murder of George Floyd by people who were entrusted to protect him came on the heels of other gruesome violence from police and vigilante citizens aimed towards members of the Black community. Breona Taylor and Ahmaud Arberry are names that should not be forgotten. The peaceful protests that ensued have now erupted across all 50 states and many countries around the world. They are all asserting an essential truth that all lives cannot matter until Black lives matter.

 

Traditionally, businesses and business education have shied away from taking a position on fundamental social issues such as race relations. However, business leaders today are recognizing that social responsibility need not be separated from maximizing shareholder value. The iconic ice cream brand Ben and Jerry’s said it succinctly, “What happened to George Floyd was not the result of a bad apple; it was the predictable consequence of a racist and prejudiced system and culture that has treated Black bodies as the enemy from the beginning.” We all have a responsibility to do our part to change the system and the culture.

At the Coggin College of Business, we recognize the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion as core values to our mission. We are committed to improving our ability to serve our constituents – students, faculty, and staff. However, to be better servants we must be good listeners. As a College we will support our students, faculty and staff to raise their voices and exercise their First Ammendment rights to speak truth to power. We will continue our work to increase diversity and inclusion at our college and work with other colleges at UNF to improve the campus culture where all who come to serve and be served feel welcomed, protected, and have the same opportunity to succeed.

 

This is a moment to reflect, ask questions, seek answers, and commit to action. A moment of crisis can bring out the best in all us. We can choose to become part of the solution. We can choose to become agents of change working to move our country towards a more perfect union. 

In the midst of a pandemic while we are mostly physically separated from each other, know that you are not alone. If you are experiencing trauma or pain, please reach out to UNF’s Counseling Center. In addition, you can reach out to UNF’s Commission on Diversity and Inclusion (CODI) to engage in conversations about what we can do better at UNF to help you productively engage as a student, faculty or staff.  In addition, you can reach out to the Dean’s office at Coggin and to our newly instituted Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

 

Our Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Coggin is working with CODI to set up open forums in the form of a Real Talk series. We encourage you to attend these sessions. We are committed to hearing your voices and serving you better. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. 

 

Mark Dawkins                         Parvez Ahmed

Dean                                        Director of Diversity and Inclusion

 

Parvez Ahmed

Director of Diversity and Inclusion

Professor of Finance

Coggin College of Business

University of North Florida

Jacksonville, FL 32224-7699

Email: pahmed@unf.edu

 

Mark C. Dawkins, Dean

Coggin College of Business

University of North Florida

904-557-4937 (cell)

Email: mark.dawkins@unf.edu

 
 


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