Reaffirming Our Commitment This Juneteenth
Dear Alums, Faculty, Staff, and Students of Unity College,
As you all know, today is Juneteenth, a day that marks the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States. On this 155th anniversary of Juneteenth, and with the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a time for us to reflect, and to look deep within ourselves and better understand and accept the role that our country, our state, our industry, and our college has played in systemic racism. Today is a day for all of us to do better. To be kinder. Most importantly, to listen and learn.
With open minds, many of us are truly listening for the first time, and what we’re hearing are names. Those names include not only George Floyd but also Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Breonna Taylor, and too many others. While it’s encouraging that most of us are taking steps to better ourselves, it’s also worth acknowledging that there is much more work to be done.
At Unity College, we are reaffirming our commitment to taking steps forward. We are reaffirming our policy that the Confederate flag and all other symbols of hate are barred from all Unity College property. More so, beginning this fiscal year, all staff will complete annual training, with understanding cultural diversity being front-and-center, as a condition of employment. Our Director of Public Safety previously served as a Civil Rights officer and continues to train his officers on ethics and humanity, implicit human bias and bias-based policing, and understanding situational use of force.
We are assessing curricula across all Unity College degrees over the next six months to ensure our students are gaining the skills and knowledge to be culturally competent graduates. Over the last five years, the diversity of our student body, faculty, and staff has grown exponentially as an institution. As we continue our work in making a Unity College education accessible and serving new audiences, we understand the importance of this commitment.
As America’s Environmental College, it is vital that we truly represent all the people who make America what it is today. We need to continue our work to be more inclusive and accessible so that we can live up to our mission. We need to do more.
As we reflect on the importance of this day, Juneteeth, it’s more important than ever to continue to make tangible progress. These first steps are just the beginning, and we look forward to sharing more with you as we continue doing this critical and necessary work.
Dr. Melik Peter Khoury