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Statement by the Coalition of Diversity & Inclusion Officers

As diversity officers at The University of Texas at Austin, we are grieved, horrified and saddened by the recent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, as well as countless others who have lost their lives to acts of racial violence. These egregious acts of racial profiling, physical violence and death of Black individuals are taking place against a backdrop of a global pandemic that places in bold relief the wrenching inequities that have divided our nation as the virus disproportionately ravages communities of color. 

We recognize that we are experiencing more than just a moment of discomfort and discontent. Our nation’s dark history has led to this critical moment in time. This is a history that we must grapple with, as we collectively struggle to move forward together. 

As diversity officers, we want our community — particularly its Black members, many of whom grew up in the same city as George Floyd and may have known him or his people — to know that we are here for you. We understand that these recent senseless events are triggering, tragic and a stark reminder that Black lives are fragile and can be stolen from us at any moment.

We urge everyone to remember that if one of us is hurting, then we all hurt. Our silence in the face of injustice sends a negative message to the most vulnerable members of our university community. Now, more than ever, we reaffirm and reinvigorate our commitment to supporting an equitable, inclusive and just institution in which violence, hate and intolerance are not accepted and are actively combatted. 

We encourage all members of our university community to check in on and support each other, recognizing that these recent events differently impact our students and colleagues in very deep and personal ways.  

We also encourage our community members to reach out directly to their college or school’s diversity officer for any support, guidance and resources that they may need.

In Support and Solidarity,

The Coalition of Diversity and Inclusion Officers, University of Texas at Austin

  • Ya’Ke Smith 
    Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
    Moody College of Communication
  • Esther J. Calzada
    Associate Dean for Equity and Inclusion
    Steve Hicks School of Social Work
  • Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto
    Assistant Dean for Civic Engagement
    Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs
  • Edmund T. Gordon
    Vice Provost for Diversity
    The University of Texas at Austin
  • Shavonne Henderson
    Director of Student Equity and Inclusion
    School of Law
  • Christine Julien
    Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
    Cockrell School of Engineering
  • Samuel Moore
    Director of Outreach and Diversity
    Jackson School of Geosciences
  • Shelley Payne
    Advisor to the Dean for Diversity and Inclusion
    College of Natural Sciences
  • Monique Pikus
    Director of Diversity and Organizational Climate
    College of Liberal Arts
  • René Salazar
    Assistant Dean for Diversity
    Dell Medical School
  • Raji Srinivasan
    Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion
    McCombs School of Business
  • Richard J. Reddick
    Associate Dean for Equity, Community Engagement and Outreach
    College of Education
  • Skyller Walkes
    Assistant Dean of Diversity and Inclusion
    College of Pharmacy