The Faculty Senates across the University of Nebraska campuses are united in our grief and condemnation of the ongoing and persistent acts of violence and racism perpetrated against members of our Black communities, such as those leading to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Sean Reed, James Scurlock, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others. We stand in solidarity with our students, staff, faculty and communities of color in the pursuit of justice and racial equity.
We recognize that systemic racism and discrimination exists throughout nearly all facets of society, including the realms of education, business, health care and workplace, and that we have a critical role and responsibility to bring about transformation within our campuses and communities to promote equity, safety and well-being for our extended NU family. Furthermore, we firmly oppose any language or action that attack individuals or groups based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability. Addressing systemic social ills will take collective, systemic action. This statement is a reflection of our collective commitment to engage in the action needed to make our campuses more welcoming and inclusive places that allow each individual student, faculty and staff member to achieve their full potential as lifelong learners and respected members of society.
We are committed to working in collaboration with our campus communities through shared governance to identify, implement and assess ways to improve campus climate. We are committed to educating ourselves and each other about how to combat racism and to promote equity, diversity and inclusion within our departments, our campuses, the NU system at large and our Nebraska communities we serve. We commit to making these actions transparent within our campuses, with our alumni and external stakeholders, and with the broader communities across Nebraska. We ask for the commitment from our administration to provide the support and resources necessary to achieve these critical goals. We call on our partners and the public to hold our institution accountable for exemplifying a model university that reflects our values as an inclusive institution that provides equal opportunity to all for an excellent education.
PROPOSED ACTION STEPS
As an intellectual institution committed to education, diversity and equity, we must continue to reflect on our failures both individually and collectively. To continue the advancement of this important process during the upcoming 2020-21 academic year, we strive to work together to promote and provide multidimensional, sustained professional learning experiences for our NU students, faculty, staff and community, including but not limited to:
- Data-based Strategic Planning: Advancing equity and diversity requires action, effort and commitment. Informed strategic planning utilizing data collected across each campus and the NU system at large is needed to inform the equity and diversity agenda for the NU system. For example, employing the National Assessment of Collegiate Campus Climate (NACCC) survey to provide campus appraisals of institutional commitment to equity and inclusion, the extent to which campus communities interact with diverse others, where and what community members learn about race and their readiness to citizenship in a racially diverse democracy, among other important topics. Timeline: 2020-21 academic year
- Difficult Conversations: The five NU campuses will hold regular in-person or virtual discussions, seminars, panels or webinars on a variety of topics such as racial violence, systemic racism, gender inequity and others, and the devastating impacts of these social issues on individuals, families, educational institutions, workplaces and society as a whole. Timeline: Ongoing, every semester
- Professional Development: Ongoing professional development for faculty and leaders that includes personal study, training and technical assistance in the implementation of best practices to improve campus climate is needed to achieve the goals set forth in our mission of becoming the inclusive NU system we value. This includes engaging professional experts to support the learning of students, faculty, staff and the community through meaningful discussions on racism, power, privilege and other hurtful actions by individuals or organized groups that undermine the very foundational values of the NU system. This professional development will include ways in which we can work together to embrace and further the NU vision for an environment that celebrates diversity and promotes equity on all five campuses. Timeline: Ongoing, every semester
UNK Faculty Senate President
UNMC Faculty Senate President
NCTA Faculty Senate President
UNL Faculty Senate President
UNO Faculty Senate President