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Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Statement in Support of Anti-Racist Education


The University of North Florida has made it a priority to improve diversity, equity and inclusion on the campus. In June, during “Be the Change: A Virtual Candlelight Vigil for Racial Justice” President Szymanski announced anti-racism training would be forthcoming for all students, faculty and staff. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion, led by Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Whitney Meyer, has been working to design and deliver on this important initiative.

Examining biases and exclusionary practices and promoting integrity, inclusivity and ultimately excellence, enhances our personal development, relationships with others, well-being and global citizenship. The past six months have shown us that too many American people cannot pursue life, liberty and happiness with assurance they will receive equal treatment under the law. Universities attempt to remedy social problems through research, teaching, service and professional learning. The American Education Research Association and the National Academy of Education released a joint statement that identifies three current federal administration efforts of concern to higher education institutions.

The University of North Florida will continue to follow our University’s core values by supporting curricular and co-curricular education and activities and encouraging students, faculty and staff to talk openly and honestly about race and racism, even when these conversations may be uncomfortable. Some recent activities include ”Let’s Get Into ‘Good Trouble’: 21 Days of Awareness,” “Real Talk Series: Racial Justice,” “Let’s Talk About it: I Can’t Breathe,” “The Justice Sessions,” “Engagement and Action,” “Bias in the Eye of the Beholder,” and more. Others can be found on UNF’s Diversity Calendar. There has been longstanding and new curricular work being done by faculty to imbue our students with anti-racist and decolonization education. These types of actions and programs in partnership with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion support our University’s mission by helping create the next generation of thought leaders and problem solvers to uniquely change the world.

As Ospreys, we continue to pledge to stand with and for those who are the most vulnerable members of our community and to take actions that help our students and employees feel safe. We affirm UNF’s unreserved commitment to student success within a diverse, supportive campus culture. We seek to embody the ideals of a free and democratic society, and we fully support our students, faculty and staff when they peacefully express their free speech rights by speaking out or joining anti-racist nonviolent protests.

This statement was sent to UNF students, faculty and staff on Sept. 30, 2020 from the Office of Diversity & Inclusion