College of Arts & Sciences
CAS STANDS FOR CHANGE
In the College of Arts and Sciences' mission statement, we assert that we are "a community of teachers and scholars united in the belief that broadly educated people are the basis of a just, free, and prosperous society." We go to work each day offering our students historical, cultural, and scientific perspectives guided by observation, reason and analysis, not authority or ideology. We prepare our students to reflect on their lives, communities, and taken for granted assumptions and to think deeply and critically--and to think for themselves.
The protests in recent days prove that liberal education works. People the world over are thinking for themselves and turning their personal pain and discomfort into public action, imploring those in power to make significant change. We stand with the protestors world-wide. We recognize that white privilege is a dominant narrative in our society. This ideology has shaped our policies and practices and it is this dominant narrative that we must intentionally dismantle and replace with one that foregrounds diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism. With the impetus of the protest, we are compelled to take a closer look at the College's own practices and to recognize that words are not enough---we must act.
The USF College of Arts and Sciences will continue to be a significant player in this change, to expose inequality and injustice, to educate our students about the origins of racism, and to collaborate in crafting and enacting lasting solutions. Our work includes highlighting existing actions to make them more visible, such as:
- Publishing a list of faculty experts in the college who study racism, anti-racism, and racial inequality to highlight their important work and contributions to scholarship and to our communities;
- Advertising our courses that address issues of race and racism to make it easier for students who want to learn more about the current moment to enroll in them;
- Strengthening existing community partnerships (such as with the University Area Community Development Corporation) where our students and faculty already work with community groups practicing anti-racism; and
- Supporting the College's Diversity Committee and their work to establish diversity
liaisons and initiatives in each department that actively promote diversity, inclusion,
Our work also includes coming up with new actions that can further raise awareness and promote systemic, structural change. These include:
- Using our existing speaker series to invite experts on race relations and anti-racism to campus;
- Developing a common reading for incoming students and the broader CAS community of students, faculty and staff that focuses on anti-racist work;
- Developing new courses for students and training materials for employees on race and racism, including a themed semester focused on the topic;
- Supporting student organizations that seek to facilitate ongoing dialogue on issues of race; and
- Forming a new "Anti-Racism" research network of faculty and providing seed funding for them to continue their studies and expand their research agendas in this area.
These are just some of the actions the College is taking to rise to the challenge we face. Many CAS departments and research centers are developing their own commitments and action plans that align with these broad objectives. We are committed to supporting their efforts. After centuries of society failing to acknowledge the awful truths of racial inequality, the USF College of Arts and Sciences pledges to be part of the movement that ensures this moment becomes a tipping point for broader structural change.
From the Consolidated Senior Leadership of the College of Arts and Sciences: