Dear University College Communities,
We are living in an unprecedented time in our country’s history. The past few weeks have shined a glaring light on the systemic racism and social injustice that people of color, particularly African Americans, face every day. George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor are among the most recent tragedies in a system of racial injustice and inequity that has existed for centuries.
As President Englert stated in his message to the Temple community, “We are appalled by what we have seen, and remain committed to work for racial justice.” It is important to come together as a campus community with empathy with a shared commitment to learn, grow, and be part of the change. Lifting up our country starts with ending racial injustice, systemic racism and social, political, and economic inequity.
Temple University's University College stands with everyone who opposes racial oppression and who is actively working toward racial equity. For decades, the University College -- through its campuses at Ambler, Center City and Harrisburg and its noncredit and continuing education units – has been providing programs designed to lift up, educate and inspire to a wide range of populations including youth, career-changers, and older adults from all backgrounds. But, we must also look within.
University College is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion. Working together, we will strengthen that commitment. A first step is the formation of an Inclusion, Diversity, Equity Action (UC-IDEA) Committee. The UC-IDEA committee seeks to unravel, disband, and shine a light on systemic racism and inequities by first fostering a culture of social sharing that acknowledges and values difference and recognizes that there is discomfort in these discussions.
The UC-IDEA committee will then lead our efforts to identify areas within the University College where we can improve, as well as find other areas that we can partner with and influence. They will also recommend action steps and markers to assess our progress. Although this committee will take the lead, they will not be working alone: each unit and program director is being asked to determine how to best incorporate diversity and equity goals and practices into their unit’s work as part of their performance development plan.
I know we are a community dedicated to taking a stand for justice. We want to hear from you. Silence is not an option in working toward a better tomorrow. The time is now. Change must happen today and we must all be a part of it.
Vicki Lewis McGarvey, Ed.D.