MESSAGE FROM CHANCELLOR CUMMINGS TUESDAY JUNE 2, 2020: We need real change.
Like many of you and our entire country, recent events have left me with a heavy heart, anger, a soul-piercing sadness, and the question of why. The death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis policeman, while others watched without apparent human compassion, was heartbreaking and unnecessary. Also, unfortunately all too common in our society.
Since last Monday, when the gut-wrenching video of Mr. Floyd’s last moments filled our screens, I’ve spent much of the week trying to process how and why this happened. I spent many years of my life practicing as a heart surgeon to save lives, so how can I reconcile events when human life is treated with such disregard, whether it is because of the color of one’s skin or for any reason? How can one human being come to such a point to treat another with so little mercy? I have found no answer because, with all that separates man from animal, this shouldn’t even be a question. No matter the color of our skin, our hearts all pump the same red blood. There is no discernable difference in our bodies beneath the most superficial layer of our skin. The difference is learned.
UNC Pembroke was established to provide an educational opportunity for a race that didn’t have that right. It’s now 133 years later, and racial division is still evident in society, particularly for the African American community. At UNCP, we’re committed to ensuring our campus is one where everyone feels welcome, safe and included and we will not tolerate actions that go against these values. We must be able to come together in the light of education for all people, regardless of skin color, gender, sexual orientation or religion to build a brighter, more hopeful future.
BraveNation, we are all experiencing deep emotions. I urge us to each look at what and how we can individually do better right now to one day ensure all voices are heard in the same volume, with the same power and the same respect. Every person is unique and should be afforded a path to success, to their opportunity. Surely, we in higher education can lead the world toward that righteous goal.
In the weeks and months to follow, I’m hopeful our nation will collectively seek understanding that can lead to real change. In surgery, we start an operation by saying, “it’s time to quit talking. Let’s heal the patient.” It is time for our country to take real action to heal.
Last night in Fayetteville, we witnessed a small step in that direction when law enforcement officers and protesters joined together, taking a knee in solidarity. In a moment, heightened with tension, they made a choice and found a way, and I know we can too because the stakes are too high not to. [You can read the full story here!]
Mr. George Floyd deserved better. Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery deserved better. All people of color deserve better. In a nation that needs it now more than ever, we must all come together to make our communities, our country, our world better.
Robin Gary Cummings, MD
MESSAGE FROM FACULTY SENATE AND STAFF COUNCIL WEDNESDAY JUNE 3, 2020
Many of you may have already seen the thought piece “Your Black Colleagues May Look Like They’re Okay — Chances Are They’re Not”: you can find it here. In part, it reads:
But there’s a tale of two quarantines. Because while some Americans have been consumed by banana bread, others have had to navigate surviving a pandemic in a country they were never actually meant to live in.
Over the last few months, Black people have not only watched their friends and family members die at higher rates from the coronavirus, but they have also watched people who look like them be gunned down while going for a jog, be murdered in their homes, threatened while bird watching in Central Park, and mercilessly choked on camera.
When we read this today, we were moved to tears. Some of us are experiencing this as our everyday lived reality. Others of us do not face this daily assault but are seeking to listen and learn and support our fellow humans.
We speak often, and with pride, about the diversity of our University, but it’s important to remember that that diversity is not just in our student body, but in our employees, particularly our staff. Today, our goal is just to reach out and make sure those voices and experiences are heard. We recognize the need for ways to actively support all of our colleagues, on campus, and as they navigate “a country they were never actually meant to live in.” Please know we want to hear you. Please reach out to us with ideas about how we could make this support tangible, or how we can amplify your voices.
As a reminder, the Office of Human Resources is here to support all UNCP employees. They’ve shared that they would like to hear how they can enhance their support and facilitate a more safe, inclusive work environment, and added, “to this end, UNCP, along with the entire UNC system, is committed to building a culture and community that actively supports and promotes diversity and inclusion for its students, faculty, staff, and members of the general public that access our services and facilities. UNCP is currently working on a campus Diversity and Inclusion policy, along with other efforts dedicated to Diversity and Inclusion. Please contact us with any questions or suggestions you may have.”
Also, employees have access to confidential support through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Use this link for more Information: Employee Assistance Program
Please also remember to visit Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) as it is available to provide support for Faculty and Staff if needed.
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) , Phone: 910.521.6202, Virtual Counseling is also available
MaRyia Bass-Maynor, Staff Council Chair
Abby Mann, Faculty Senate Chair
MESSAGE FROM SGA PRESIDENT MONDAY, JUNE 1, 2020
First, I wish to express my deepest condolences to all of those who are affected by the deaths of the black lives that have been lost due to cruel and unjust treatment. As the Student Government Association President, it is my duty to uphold our organization’s mission and to represent the members of the student body to the best of my ability. I could not imagine staying silent while our nation and students are experiencing such a time of social inequality, racism, and police brutality. We serve a large population of students who are directly affected by these issues daily. I want you all to stay strong and know that you are seen, you are heard, and you are valued.
It is frustrating and heartbreaking to face injustice continuously and to witness so many lives being lost due to the color of one’s skin. We must all work together to bring about change to this country and the systems created to oppress black lives and people of color. I want to encourage everyone to speak up for what is right and what is just, even if these issues don’t directly affect you. I encourage action beyond what is seen on the surface, such as open letters, phone calls, petitions, donations and peaceful demonstrations. Change won’t happen overnight but remain persistent and dedicated.
There is a constant circulation of videos, pictures, and posts regarding the recent events that have taken place, that are a continual reminder of the evil in this world. I urge you to take full advantage of the resources that are made available to you in order to protect and promote mental health. Our Counseling and Psychological Services(CAPS) are still providing services as they are needed.
The Hardison-Hunt Locklear administration will remain committed to standing up for all groups experiencing any form of oppression. We will continue to raise awareness and bring people together to ensure justice for all. We cannot move forward without moving forward together, and until there is justice for all, there is justice for none.
In Power and Love,
Student Body President
MESSAGE FROM DIVISION OF STUDENT AFFAIRS SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020
As leaders in the Division of Student Affairs, we want to share our thoughts on the recent events in Minneapolis where George Floyd died while in police custody and the subsequent dialogue we need to engage in about racism as a nation. Like many of you, we find what happened to Mr. Floyd quite simply unacceptable. We share your hurt, anger and disappointment over his senseless and unnecessary death.
Our goal moving forward should be building trust in light of this tragic incident. We should be looking for opportunities to create meaningful change that will bring us together rather than further divide. And that change must come through mutual respect and understanding.
As one of the most diverse universities in the South, we should strive to model our citizenship and inclusiveness in our world outside of campus while fostering open lines of communication with those around us. Every human, regardless of race, deserves the opportunity to be heard, feel valued and have their point of view respected. We want our BraveNation community to know we hear you. We value you. And we respect you.
The many Division of Student Affairs departments will stand ready to assist as we move forward. Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is available to provide support, and the Office of Student Inclusion and Diversity (OSID) has resources and programming for all students creating deeper understanding and inclusivity.
We will make our world better, and we will do it together.
Dr. Lisa Schaeffer
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
Dr. Art Malloy
Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Safety