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Dear Tech Family,
Good Thursday morning.
Earlier this week, I participated in our University’s third listening session sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs. These sessions have created opportunities for me and other campus leaders to know about the needs and challenges our African-American students face each day.
One of the opportunities for our campus is to support our students, faculty and staff through the recognition of June 19 as Juneteenth, or Freedom Day, the oldest national commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States, as a campus holiday.
Declaring a holiday on short notice would create issues for professors and students who might have already scheduled exams or other events on June 19 of this week. While we are unable to formally declare a campus holiday for this Friday, we still have the chance to celebrate and reflect on the importance of this date. I am committed to work with our administrative council to adjust our campus holidays in the future to include June 19 as a holiday for our students, faculty, and staff, and to celebrate the enriched living and learning environment, and culture, of a more diverse and inclusive campus.
Our students have started a petition to garner support for their plan, and I encourage you to review the petition. They are also sharing other ideas for bringing more equity and inclusion to our University, and I look forward to working with them on those plans. Their feedback will inform our efforts moving forward.
Thank you for your attention today. Let’s finish the week with a focus on delivering safety and inclusion for all our students. I look forward to working with you on these goals.