Dear Honors College Community,
We write to express our profound sorrow and pain at the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Manuel Ellis, and of so many other Black people in this country. We feel deeply for the families, friends, and communities who have suffered these losses, as well as for those in our community for whom these deaths are a searing reminder of deeply ingrained racism and inequity.
We can and must do better-- both in acknowledging past and present wrongs, and in working intentionally to help ensure that no members of our campus, regional, and national community face either subtle or overt forms of bigotry and violence.
These ends have been at the forefront of all our conversations about our leadership transition during the last two weeks. And we now jointly commit that, through that transition and during the next five years, the Honors College will dedicate itself in word and deed to exemplifying genuine inclusion, equity, and anti-racist pedagogy. Our specific promises are:
- to resume the work we began in January to understand and improve the Honors College racial climate;
- to add innovative anti-racist curricular and cocurricular programming;
- to ensure that leadership positions at all levels include Black, non-white, and LGBTQ+ members of our community, fostered through best practices mentoring and challenging opportunities to gain critical experience;
- to expand our recruiting, support services, and training for racial minority students, and to work with the Honors Student Advisory Boards and other Honors College groups to create networks of support, mentoring, faculty contact, community, and opportunity;
- to add research, service, and online opportunities designed to reduce the impact of health and financial disparities associated with COVID-19;
- to increase opportunities for students to dialogue and interact with people from different global cultures, through global classrooms and other modalities;
- to establish mechanisms of accountability across the Honors College to support continuous evaluation of how we are doing, including the issuing of twice-yearly reports on our progress, and to solicit major stakeholders’ input for additional actions.
A devastating truth of our moment is that nothing can bring back the Black lives that have been lost. Yet, we can speak honestly about the past and present with a commitment to harnessing all that the University of Maryland and the Honors College have to offer toward creating a more just world which universally recognizes the truth that Black Lives Matter.
Susan Dwyer and Peter Mallios
Current and Incoming Executive Directors of the Honors College, University of Maryland