June 3, 2020
Greetings COEIT Students,
Throughout the challenges of this COVID-19 semester, I have been offering blocks of office hours to hear your voices and concerns. I have appreciated all who have reached out and so honestly and thoughtfully have spent time with me. Even when you were rightly criticizing one of our failures, I also was reminded of how I miss the on-campus connections of just seeing you going to-and-from class, across campus, and at student organization events. I miss you, and I know our faculty and staff miss seeing you. Being able to connect virtually has been at least one small blessing. We know that health concerns, lost family members, and uncertain futures have been devastating.
I’m aware that for many of you, the killing of George Floyd has made the last two weeks unbearable. His brutal death is another in a series of vivid demonstrations that the promise of our country is unfulfilled. Our failure to acknowledge and resolve systemic inequities that particularly imperil black people in our country is a sad and disturbing legacy. I hope you have seen the powerful statement from our college’s Center for Women in Technology (CWIT) which I fully support.
In the University System of Maryland’s statement, which echoes UMBC’s
commitment to social justice, we “encourage all members of the USM community to seek support, if needed, and to involve themselves in addressing these challenges.”
I want to make sure we stay connected across this summer and available to
listen, like never before because that is one thing we can do. In addition to
my offering office hours to listen to individual students, groups of students,
student organization leaders, alumni, or parents throughout the summer, I am
asking each of our department chairs, associate deans, directors, etc., to do the
same. In the interim, know that we want to hear your voices and better
understand how we can work together to address the racism that continues to
endanger our minority communities. Along with the entire UMBC campus, we are
committed to overcoming injustice and supporting all of our people.
Constellation Professor of Information Technology and Engineering
Dean, College of Engineering and Information Technology,
UMBC - The University of Maryland, Baltimore County
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