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We are all accountable for justice and equity

As interim president, I spoke to our university about racism, equity and the need for each of us to take personal responsibility for addressing our own biases and improving our University culture. We committed to deepen the work of more systematically combating racism and inequities, both individual and institutional, which persist here and throughout our society.

That commitment remains steadfast as we work toward real change, and it will take all of us – faculty, staff, students and leaders across every campus – to address these issues. I am and will continue to be an active participant – when you speak, know that I am listening. I also acknowledge that progress is rarely easy or fast, and that the pace of change is slower than any of us would like and can be frustrating to some.

As a community and as a public institution, our approach to creating change must always be founded on collaboration and broad engagement if we are to ensure that our goals can be achieved and sustained. I encourage everyone who cares about these important issues to join in this effort. We are working together because it is not – and could never be – the sole responsibility of one person, one office, or one initiative to solve these systemic and complex issues. It will take an ongoing and sustained effort from all of us.

We recognize the good faith and intentions that go into protests and demands for justice and equity, which help to shape our equity agenda. Many student leaders, organizers and activists have made tremendous contributions to increasing equity and diversity at the UW. We appreciate your time and energy and we are listening. As we move forward in implementing needed changes we will be working closely with our faculty, student, and community advisory groups Including the UW Diversity Council, the Minority Community Advisory Committee, the Board of Regent’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Committee, the Provost’s Advisory Committee as well as our shared governance bodies including Faculty Senate, GPSS and ASUW across all three campuses. We encourage everyone who cares about these issues to engage collaboratively with us.

We will continue to provide regular updates on progress via the Race and Equity website and the Diversity Council webpage. Every school and college shares both this commitment to and responsibility for moving the work toward equity and social justice forward.

Working towards justice, equity and diversity is the responsibility of everyone at the UW and we invite and encourage you to work alongside us to make our University embody and live up to our ideals of inclusion, fairness, equity and justice.