Chief Diversity Officer Judith Browne Clarke released a message regarding Stony Brook University’s summer strategy to implement the Plan for Equity, Inclusion & Diversity through a campus-wide email on June 5.
On May 25, George Floyd, a 46-year old black man from Minneapolis, was killed by a white police officer after he kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes. Floyd’s death has sparked protests and messages for social change across the nation.
The Stony Brook University administration released a statement regarding Floyd’s death from Interim President Michael Bernstein and President-Elect Maurie McInnis on June 2. In her email, Clarke wrote that the email Bernstein and McInnis co-wrote was intentional to show “unified reassurance.”
Bernstein and McInnis’s email also asked Clarke to suggest how the Stony Brook community can “drive positive change.”
“I have received emails, texts, phone calls, and had ‘real talk’ Zoom conversations with over 100 individuals,” Clarke wrote in the email. “These have all informed my efforts to affect sustainable institutional change.”
One of the summer events Stony Brook aims to create positive change through is a virtual student town hall. The town hall is meant to start an open dialogue about the issue of racism in America, including fighting racism through “challenging conversations.”
“The aim is to provide a platform for Stony Brook to approach the topics of race, law enforcement and protest through the lens of scholarship and solidarity,” Clarke wrote.
Other summer events Stony Brook has planned consist of a vigil for the campus community hosted on Facebook Live, “strengthening” Stony Brook’s diversity training workshops during summer orientation for both new and transfer students and an introduction of professional development opportunities.
The development opportunities will “address strategies for confronting and mitigating bias in our lives and in the workplace, how to be an effective ally, communicating about culturally sensitive issues, inclusive leadership, growing your cultural intelligence, disabilities awareness and etiquette, and creating the conditions for others to thrive, among others,” according to the email.
Clarke will continue to develop plans for the upcoming academic year with guidance from various Stony Brook faculty and experts.
“Be reassured that this is not all we will do, but rather a starting point for further listening opportunities and meaningful actions,” Clarke wrote.