A Statement on the Violence Against Black Lives

Monday, June 1st, 2020
To the UNI community,

What happened to George Floyd, and continues happening to Black men, women, and children across our nation, is horrifying and unacceptable. Following the death of Mr. Floyd, we must recognize that our Black students and colleagues are hurting, and many may be coming back to work or their studies feeling traumatized and unsafe after the events from this past week that continue today.

I spoke with students, faculty, staff, and community members, and they shared the pain they are feeling because of Mr. Floyd’s death, the latest in a pattern confronting minoritized communities across our nation. Let us be clear: Our university values Black Lives. We stand firmly against the harm and injustice Black men, women, and children continue to face. And we are committed to addressing systemic racism through our work.

While there is no way to erase the harm our faculty, staff, and students of color are experiencing, please know that UNI offers resources to help you seek care and support. Faculty, staff, and peers, please encourage your students, colleagues, and friends to seek resources and help. Some resources include:
  • Students may seek assistance through the UNI Counseling Center. Shantila Caston is the Mental Health Therapist for Diversity Outreach and can be reached at 273-2676.
  • The Center for Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice (DIS) is staffed by individuals steeped in knowledge around racial trauma and they are happy to talk with anyone affected by recent events. For more information, contact the Director, Jamie Chidozie, at 273-2250.
  • The Dean of Students, Allyson Rafanello, can help with student advising and referral, and inform students about options and resources for getting the help they may need; you may contact the Dean of Students Office at 273-7153.
  • Employees who are interested in talking to someone should reach out to the Employee Assistance Program at 800-327-4692.
  • Please know it is okay that you might feel vulnerable, traumatized, and unsafe. That is normal after such a significant shock.
  • Rest, relax (if you can). Do things that you enjoy.
  • Share your feelings with a trusted friend.
A few other things for all members of the Panther family to keep in mind right now:
  • We should give grace to those employees and students who "need a minute" at different times throughout the day. Please also practice patience; do not be surprised if this is the case for a while.
  • Let’s be ready to listen in case a colleague, student, or peer does decide to share their feelings. And remember, it's their story. It's not the time to insert ourselves into the flow. Just listen.
If you want guidance on opening a conversation with a colleague or peer, feel free to be in touch with Gwenne Berry, Chief Diversity Officer, 273-2567; or Jamie Chidozie, Director, Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice, 273-2250.

We stand with you. Black Lives Matter.

Mark A. Nook,