The following letter was written by Dr. Marcus Martin, Vice President and Chief Officer for Diversity and Equity and Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Virginia, in response to the alt-right demonstration events that transpired in Charlottesville this past weekend. It was originally published on his website.
The acts of white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and members of the KKK in Charlottesville and on Grounds August 11th and 12th were reprehensible and not representative of the values of inclusion and diversity we strive to cultivate in our community. Our hearts go out to the families and friends of those who lost their lives and we pray for full recovery for those injured as a result of the cowardly acts of domestic terror. Hatred and bigotry have no place in our community and we strongly condemn individuals and organizations that perpetuate these evil acts. Please see here for the various statements released by University officials related to the events of this weekend.
The Office of the Vice President and Chief Officer for Diversity and Equity and all who stand for justice and equality at UVA are even more determined to make our community welcoming, inclusive, and safe. We continue to encourage commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of academic, extracurricular activities, the workplace, and within the surrounding community.
A little over a year ago, President Sullivan requested that the Office for Diversity and Equity assist with completing a diversity, equity, and inclusion recommendations index to inform diversity strategic planning initiatives. The Diversity Recommendation Index (DRI) is a review of seven reports written by either students, staff, faculty, and/or community members related to recommendations to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion at the University. The narrative of the index provides a summary highlighting significant actions taken as well as the challenges of cultivating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment. The DRI appendix outlines more than two hundred recommendations taken from these reports and the actions taken to date. The full DRI is available on the Office of the Vice President and Chief Officer for Diversity and Equity website.
On June 9th, the Board of Visitors approved the design of the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers. Groundbreaking for the memorial is anticipated to begin in 2019. Please see the article below to learn about the design of the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers. If you would like to contribute towards making the memorial a reality on Grounds, please visit the President’s Commission on Slavery and the University giving form.
We are pleased to report that the National Science Foundation approved a third phase of funding for the VA-NC Alliance for Minority Participation. This grant will allow the Alliance to extend its programming for five more years and add three new partner institutions. Below you will find an article highlighting the additional funding and the 8th annual VA-NC Alliance Summer Research Program.
In celebration of the Bicentennial of the University founding, the President’s Commission on Slavery and the University is partnering with the Slave Dwelling Project to host the symposium “Universities, Slavery, Public Memory, & the Built Landscape.” From October 18th through the 21st, the symposium will consider the history, preservation, and memorialization of sites of enslavement and will highlight the recent work of universities that have begun to grapple with their own histories. To register for the symposium and to view the full schedule, please visit the PCSU website.
I look forward to us working together to improve our community and wish you all a healthy and productive fall semester.
Marcus L. Martin, M.D.