United Against Hate Monday, June 1, 2020, at 9:23 p.m.
To all members of the Jacksonville University community --
Our hearts are heavy with the recent deplorable acts of hatred and violence and the ensuing calls for justice that have swept the country, including here in our own city. Our nation is hurting, and our Dolphin community joins all those mourning the senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others whose deaths have ripped open a deep, unremitting wound.
Jacksonville University stands for equality, human dignity, and respect for others. We celebrate diversity and deeply value the vibrancy it brings to our lives. We stand against ignorance, racism, and violence. As an academic community of students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends, we stand together to condemn acts of hate, inhumanity, and racial injustice.
We also stand united with those who believe every voice must be heard. As an institution of higher education, we believe strongly in the value of spirited, open, honest discussion rooted in respect and civility. We believe in serving as a forum for such conversations, though they are often difficult and painful, because seeking to understand other perspectives is where real change begins.
As we considered how Jacksonville University can contribute to meaningful change, our focus turned to our own students and colleagues, many of whom have experienced prejudice and hate in their own lives. We considered how we might push beyond just words and take action. Our hope is to continue to cultivate impactful conversations among our campus community to inform and reshape our worldview.
As part of the Jacksonville University Strategic Plan, which was developed this spring and will be fully unveiled this coming fall, the University will establish a Diversity and Inclusion Council made up of students, faculty and staff, and led by Provost Dr. Chris Sapienza, Dean of Students Dr. Kristie Gover, Associate Dean of Students DaVina Hamilton and our Director of Student Inclusion Patrice Abner. The council will aim to amplify the voices and perspectives of our minority students, faculty, and staff and will identify opportunities to convene informative, open discussions on topics we must confront and address. The goal is to ignite real change right here on our campus that spreads to our community, region and nation.
If we are to educate and develop global citizens and future world leaders, we cannot ignore painful issues that continue to plague entire communities and cultures. The Jacksonville University family will lean on compassion and understanding, and we hold fast to hope for healing and justice for all members of our society.
One final thought for anyone struggling to process these recent events in a productive, healthy way: You are not alone. We encourage students to reach out to our Student Counseling Center or Student Inclusion Center for help, while faculty and staff are invited to use the counseling services available through our Employee Assistance Program. Now more than ever, we must focus on supporting one another.
Tim Cost ’81, President
Dr. Chris Sapienza, Provost
Dr. Kristie Gover, Dean of Students
DaVina Hamilton ’09/’13, Associate Dean of Students
Patrice Abner, Director of Student Inclusion
Alex Ricker-Gilbert, Athletic Director