June 2, 2020

Dear UAF community,

Over the past few days and months, racism has confronted America in real time. The death of George Floyd has sparked renewed attention to racism and the different ways it is manifested in our society. We also see that people of color, especially the African-American community, are being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

It is not one person or one group that is harmed, it is all of us. It is also not one person or one group that is responsible for our path forward, it is all of us.

Each of us shares the responsibility to reject racism and xenophobia. On May 30, thousands of individuals in Fairbanks and across the state stood up against prejudice and violence through peaceful protest. We are all connected by our common humanity.

UAF is a place where you belong, regardless of your skin color, ethnicity, culture, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or ability. Everyone is needed at UAF, and if one of us is not safe, no one of us is safe. I ask that you, as part of the UAF community, reject racism for yourself, each other and our future. UAF is committed to a culture of respect, diversity, inclusion and caring. We acknowledge that there is still work to be done and that the work will not do itself. We must do it together.

I want every person to know, and especially people of color, that at UAF, you are not alone. In saying this, it comes with a responsibility for our UAF community to be an ally and advocate for change. I call on the UAF community to step up and lead by educating yourself about bias and systemic issues.

Some ways to start are to participate in conversations and programs at UAF, review the Share, Learn, Grow page for resources, and provide feedback on our diversity and inclusion strategic plan on June 10 (soon to be announced in Cornerstone). You can also connect within our community through the regional NAACP and Native Movement.

If you are struggling, we stand with you and are here to support you. Please connect with a friend, mentor or colleague, or use one of the many supportive services at UAF. The UAF Student Health and Counseling Center and the Employee Assistance Program have resources available 24/7, and specific instances of discrimination should be reported to the Department of Equity and Compliance.

We are in this together. Thanks for choosing UAF.

— Dan White, chancellor

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