Message to our Community Against Racism in our Society

June 8, 2020

To our community:

Our mission states that “We are an inclusive community that respects and harnesses the power of diverse perspectives, identities and experiences to enhance learning,” a vision that we are continually working to come closer to achieving. Thus, we cannot stay silent while this nation grieves and demands change.

We cannot look away from the fact that the continued existence and enactment of racism poses real threats to the lives of Black people and other people of color in the US.  The killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor are just the latest examples of violence, brutality, and injustice faced by Black individuals, oftentimes at the hands of police. We unequivocally condemn such violence as well as attempts to justify it.

These recent incidents and the deep-seated issues of bias open painful wounds, stir frustration and anger, or even sink us into despair. To members of our community who are suffering: please know that we are here for you and eager to listen and provide support. If there is something you need, right now or in the future, please reach out to your advisor, the dean’s office, a member of the Paul Diversity & Inclusion working group, or UNH resources such as PACS.

We know that in this moment, it is not enough to simply offer statements on the horrors of systemic racism and anti-Black violence. One path forward is to focus on our own community and “be the change we want to see.”

Earlier this week, President Dean and Provost Jones reached out to the UNH community with the touchstone of core values at UNH–our collective obligation to fight ignorance, intolerance and bias, and to teach equality, respect and kindness–to ground us in the necessary work ahead. We encourage everyone in our community to explore resources compiled by the Paul College Diversity & Inclusion working group.

In the coming fall, we will engage our entering students in examining issues of systemic bias and its impact on individuals and organizations through our second annual FIRE event focused on diversity and inclusion. 

We promise to continue our efforts to integrate more inclusive teaching practices and materials across the curriculum. We promise to support the newly formed student Diversity & Inclusion Social Coalition (DISC) in creating student-focused opportunities to learn and do more to create an inclusive community. We promise to continue to engage faculty and staff in ongoing development activities to increase our collective knowledge and skills in this crucial area.

We invite your thoughts and suggestions about additional actions we can take to strengthen Paul College as an inclusive community. We will share updates as our collective work progresses.

Black lives matter.

Deborah Merrill-Sands

Neil Niman
Associate Dean of Academic Programs

Victoria Parker
Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Faculty Administration on behalf of the Paul College Diversity & Inclusion Working Group