To Members of the USF Community:
I believe I speak for the entire University of South Florida community when I express our deep sadness over recent events in Minneapolis and around the country. The deaths of two black men, George Floyd in Minneapolis and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, should prompt us to pause and think about how racism impacts all of our lives.
Although neither of those individuals were affiliated with the University of South Florida, events such as this have a powerful impact on people of every background and in every community. The impact is magnified in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has so badly shaken us all.
As we work to help each other understand what has happened -- if we can ever truly understand -- I find myself reflecting on the Principles of Community we aspire to at USF; to treat each other with respect and dignity, refrain from displays of inappropriate anger or intimidating conduct, shun epithets or abusive language, find effective means to disagree, and to persuade and to inform through dialogue.
For our students, faculty and staff, I want to remind them of the resources available through the university’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Opportunity, the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the USF Counseling Center. I urge you to seek out their support.
I believe we must support and care for each other during times like these and not forget that each of us is empowered to stand up to injustice whenever and wherever it occurs.
Steven C. Currall, Ph.D.
President and Professor
University of South Florida