June 1, 2020
President Szymanski shared a message to the Osprey community regarding racial injustice today:
Dear Osprey Community,
I am writing you this letter with a heavy heart, and to share with you my deep pain, sorrow, and outrage at the senseless murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mr. Floyd’s unjust death has become a symbol of the persistent discrimination and violence perpetrated against black people and other communities of color in our country. This continued injustice against underrepresented communities needs to stop now!
At the University of North Florida, we wholeheartedly reject hate in all its forms. We must all rise above hate and find meaningful ways to address the systemic racism that threatens the very fabric of our society.
At UNF, we remain extremely committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment on our campus, and welcoming all of our students, faculty, and staff regardless of race, ethnicity, faith, national origin, range of abilities, sexual orientation or gender identity.
For our students, faculty, and staff of color, please know that your Osprey family is here to support you. We recognize the impact of racial trauma and acknowledge the pain, anger, sadness, frustrations, fear and other emotions you must be experiencing during this difficult time. We stand in solidarity with you against systemic oppression and will actively seek ways to create inclusive environments where all people are valued, respected, and free from fear and harm.
For our students, faculty and staff not of color, please self-reflect, educate yourself about your biases, whether they are conscious or subconscious, and use your knowledge to help make a positive difference.
During this difficult time, we encourage all members of the UNF community to seek support and take time for self-care. For more information on UNF’s many diversity initiatives, support services, and resources, please visit both our Department of Diversity Initiatives and Commission on Diversity and Inclusion.
Finally, I encourage all of our Ospreys to lend support, advocacy, and love to the marginalized members of our wonderful community. As Ospreys, we always rise above hate.
David M. Szymanski