June 5, 2020
Re: We Must Do Better
To: All students, faculty and staff
June 5, 2020
Dear Campus Community,
“Hate evil and love good and establish justice” is a simple yet powerful call from one of the most powerful works of literature.
It should be a set of universal values, but so often we fall far short of these precepts, and tragically so. The homicide of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, the killings of other black men and women by police and the mistreatment of countless millions more over our history should have moved a decent people long ago to make meaningful change. The anger we see now across our country has been building for generations.
We must do better, first by listening, and then by doing more than simply talking. Our statement earlier this week laid out some concrete steps we will take at UC Merced, and please know that these are first steps. We will learn from students, staff and faculty and we will educate ourselves. We will proceed with humility and sense of purpose as we strive to make our university and our country better.
Our own university police Chief Chou Her has been blunt and unforgiving about the actions of those who tarnish their oaths and badges. His letter to his department can be found here .
I also encourage you to join Monday’s online service and moment of silence , organized by Associate Chancellor Dania Matos; an invitation for this important event came to you earlier today.
We as a society mourn George Floyd and others who have suffered, but tears are not enough. We may say the right things, but that is not enough. We have committed to action — and hope that together we build a future that is better than our past, that hates evil and loves good and establishes true justice.
Earlier this week I wrote about the financial impacts UC Merced must begin to address as we move forward through the COVID-19 pandemic and hoped-for recovery. CFO Michael Riley will begin on Monday laying out some of the specific steps the university will begin to take to ensure we can continue our mission of teaching, research and public service, with future messages addressing more detailed aspects of our planning.
It’s important to note that our hope is to return to full, in-person campus operations as soon as it is safe to do so. A faculty town hall on “restarting research” earlier today helped to lay out some of the measures we will need to take in coming back to campus; we hope to have a recording of that session ready to share by early next week.
With safety at the fore, we have now published an interim policy on how we must act and interact when coming to campus. Please take the time to read it thoroughly and remember that it will take all of us to keep all of us healthy.
Please take care of yourselves and your loved ones, and in all you do, please work toward justice.