News and Events

Message to the CBCS Community from CBCS Dean Serovich

June 8, 2020

Colleagues,

Dean Serovich

Dr. Julianne Serovich
Professor and Dean
College of Behavioral and Community Sciences

I hope this message finds you physically safe and well.  Given the recent acts of despicable racist fueled violence, I know many of you are not doing well emotionally. I am writing to address these horrific acts of bigoted behaviors. More specifically, the murder of black people of which George Floyd joins a dreadfully long list.

I am deeply disturbed that our Black faculty and staff are emotionally pained and exhausted. Daily they worry for the lives of their children, other family, and friends.  They are wounded when the focus shines on the outcomes of these killings rather than the source. Each death reinforces the notion that things in our country are not changing. Each death reminds them that their lives are devalued. Each death brings fear closer and closer to their everyday lives. We cannot sit by and continue to let valued members of our community suffer.

So let me say succinctly; I adamantly condemn racism and oppression in all forms. I stand with our Black faculty and staff against systemic racism. Racism impacts the emotional and mental health of every Black person and this is intolerable. Words are just words until action is embedded in their meaning and intention. Endorsed by the college leadership team, I am proposing we launch the following initiatives to foster a healthier environment for all:

  1. The leadership team will commence with activities to better educate ourselves on racism, inequality, racial injustice, disparities, etc.  We need to be vigilant for signs of discrimination and immediately call it out despite how uncomfortable we may feel.  The leaders in this college will be vehicles for change. Unnecessary burden on the Black community in CBCS for this education is unacceptable.  Rather, we will rely on the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Opportunity, required readings, watching documentaries, thoughtful conversations, and other opportunities. 
  2. Soon after we begin our work together, leaders will be requested to extend these activities to faculty and staff in their units.   I encourage you to actively participate.   Details to follow.
  3. Moving forward, as part of their performance evaluations leaders will be assessed on how they address diversity in their unit. 
  4. I will be partnering with the CBCS Diversity and Inclusion Committee to support and empower them to develop a list of tangible activities or actions that can be immediately enacted to reduce systemic racism.  Further, I will encourage them to develop a strategic plan that will continue to guide the college in actualizing a more welcoming environment.
  5. All units will be requested to critically examine their curriculum to assess how diversity and racism are addressed.  Diversity can no longer be treated as a generalized concept or just restricted to certain courses. 
  6. All units will be requested to critically examine their community service activities to maximize our outreach to and partnership with local, state, and national communities and their organizations to effect positive cultural change.  
  7. There is a need for research on the impact of racism, health disparities, social injustice, violence as a cultural issue, policing, inequality, and other underlying issues.  Such research should have impact on local or national policy outcomes.  To promote this, we will launch an internal grants program to further the outstanding work of our faculty in these areas. In addition, consideration will be given to faculty who are interested in extending their current line of research.  Details to follow. 

Let me close by saying to colleagues who are Hispanic, disabled, LGBT, religious minority, and who represent diversity in all its beauty: I see you. You are not forgotten. To my white colleagues: you are not being marginalized. In fact, if we do this right, everyone will benefit by working in a community that values each and every person.

Black Lives Matter,

Dr. Julianne Serovich