USF World News
USF World Responds to Recent Events of Racial Violence
To view and download a PDF version of this letter, please click here.
June 8, 2020
Dear USF World Stakeholders and Supporters,
The University of South Florida has celebrated its commitment to student diversity and access to education since its founding in 1956. As we digest recent images of racially motivated violence and police brutality from across our country, we are reminded that there is so much work that remains to be done to address long simmering racial tensions and intolerance that inevitably leads to human suffering. This is an important time for us to support each other and to stand in solidarity with those who seek justice for violence borne of bigotry.
At USF we have begun the process of convening difficult conversations in an effort to identify actionable ways to create a more equitable environment on campus and in our communities. Words are important, but so too are actions. USF, as an institution, is committed to identifying multiple avenues for students, faculty, and staff to contribute to the creation of a more just and tolerant society. We absolutely must celebrate our common humanity and treat each other as equals irrespective of gender, ethnicity, race, or sexual orientation.
As a globally-minded research university, we are proud to have students from more than 140 countries engaged in academic and campus life. Our international students help to raise our awareness of, and appreciation for, diversity of thought and perspective. We are also proud to be a university where international students find a welcoming home away from home – among peers who value the opportunity to interact with people from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds. As stewards of the university’s engagement with the international community, USF World prides itself on our global work, including programming that brings the world to USF, services and support for international students and scholars, an impressive record ensuring access to study abroad opportunities for all students, our management of international partnerships, and our relationships with alumni living and working abroad. It is impossible to separate what we do every day as international educators and professionals from the principles of tolerance, diversity, and inclusivity.
At no time will USF tolerate violence in our community. To our students, we want you to know that your safety and personal wellbeing is our top concern. If you need our support during this time of uncertainty and civil unrest, we are here for you. There are many resources available to you: The Office of the Dean of Students, the Office of International Services, (international students and scholars), INTO USF (Pathway and Academic English students), Student Health Services, USF Health Well and the USF Counseling Center. The USF Counseling Center is currently offering a number of discussion forums dedicated to topics such as xenophobia, systemic racism, privilege, and oppression.
President Currall’s message from May 30th disavowing racism and restating USF’s Principles of Community is available here.
A powerful Op Ed appearing in the Tampa Bay Times from Dr. Haywood L. Brown, MD, Vice President of Institutional Equity at USF, is available here.
An important joint statement from President Currall and Dr. Brown can be found here.
Dean of Students, Danielle McDonald, has addressed our student community here.
At USF, we are committed to leading change for a better society in Florida, across the United States, and around the world. Our collective challenge is to reject racist behavior, or any other activity that is intolerant and purposefully disregards or marginalizes others, and to embrace our differences with open minds and a healthy dose of empathy.
If there is a way that I may be of support to you, please do not hesitate to let me know. USF World is fortunate to have a staff of compassionate and talented professionals and we stand ready to help each other and the members of our community – on campus and around the globe.
Kiki Caruson, PhD
Interim Vice President for USF World
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA