Respect, inclusivity, equity: A note from Dr. Munson and Dr. Jenkins
To the RIT community,
It is hard to find words to express the collective hurt, anger, and shame our nation is feeling. It’s particularly hard as we’ve been here before and we haven’t realized the needed change. We haven’t put racial inequity behind us. We have failed to right the wrongs built up over centuries.
We again face a highly disturbing situation that regrettably has become all too familiar — the senseless death of yet another black man, George Floyd. The most recent ferment follows a series of high-profile incidents of violence against people of color. As protests continue across the nation, the outcry from all who value justice and equity demands our attention and response. While we strongly condemn the rioters who have incited violence, we wish to recognize the altruistic majority that is heartbroken. Our country is hurting; our cities are hurting; our RIT community is hurting.
We have a responsibility at RIT to be part of the world, not set aside from it. We strive to create an environment that encourages free inquiry, free expression, and community involvement. Members of the RIT family express, vigorously defend, and openly promote their ideas and opinions. Now is the time for our community to help foster productive dialogue and actions that extend beyond our campus. We must act to ensure a strong future for all. Social reformer, writer, and Rochestarian Frederick Douglass once said, “The life of a nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous.” His words from more than one hundred years ago still ring true today.
We may not be together on campus at this time, but we cannot let distance prevent us from envisioning a course for change. Working with our Division of Diversity and Inclusion, we invite you to be attentive to opportunities that allow for discussion and further education regarding these difficult topics.
During this challenging period, we encourage those who need support to call on the Division of Diversity and Inclusion. Students also can access services through our Case Management Office or Counseling and Psychological Services.
At this critical time, let us show the strength of RIT’s character and use it to foster a healthier climate of respect, inclusivity, and equity for all.
David Munson, President
Keith Jenkins, Vice President and Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion