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May 31, 2020


In the wake of recent racist anti-Black incidents and violence, in Minnesota, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, New York, and elsewhere around the country, we call for full and deep solidarity with our Black and African American students, faculty, staff, and neighbors.

Racist violence is unacceptable at any time and is especially injurious now in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic and its disproportionate and avoidable harm on Black lives.

The most recent deaths at the hands of the police of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, as well as the threat to deploy the police against Christian Cooper are part of a long history of racism and anti-Black violence in this country and have repercussions through all aspects of our society. It is difficult for people to live, work and study when they fear for their safety.

Efforts to make our departments and universities more diverse, equitable and inclusive cannot succeed without full acknowledgement of this history and of the role of academic institutions in perpetuating systems of oppression. This acknowledgement and education need to be followed by actions to reject racism and to support our Black community.

The Department of Geography reaffirms its commitment to fostering inclusive learning and working environments that embrace the diversity of experiences, perspectives, and interests represented in our communities and the broader world. Our community, scholarship, teaching, and public work are stronger through the participation of individuals with different perspectives and backgrounds.

These are especially difficult and uncertain times. All of us have seen our lives disrupted in multiple ways, most of us are feeling isolated and some of us have lost loved ones. It can be very difficult to grapple with the current events, including continued anti-Chinese rhetoric and actions in the public that affect other members of our community. Please reach out to your support networks.

For those who are feeling a sense of mental anguish and/or isolation during these difficult times, the university has several free mental health resources online, including:

  • SilverCloud can assist with anxiety and stress management;
  • The Center for Healthy Minds offers resilience and mindfulness training; and
  • LifeMatters for faculty and staff seeking assistance with life, work, family, and well-being.

We encourage students who experience or witness racist and hate incidents to file bias incident reports with the Office of the Dean of Students. Faculty and staff may file complaints with the Office of Compliance.

Joseph Mason Signature





Professor and Department Chair
Joseph A. Mason

Author: Geography Staff