Today, I join members of the IU community in embracing the powerful spirit of Juneteenth, celebrating and reflecting upon African American progress, and redoubling our commitment to the difficult work that must be done on our campuses – and in the communities we serve – to improving diversity, equity and inclusiveness, to addressing social injustice, and to standing up to hatred, divisiveness, bigotry and intolerance in all of its forms.
Our community remains sickened by the brutal and senseless death of George Floyd, one of a disturbing number of Black individuals in our country who have lost their lives to racist violence. This is an especially difficult time for IU’s students of color, who now make up more than a quarter of the university’s total enrollment.
While this year’s Juneteenth arrives at a sad and uncertain time for many, we are confident that this day of commemoration will further the critical conversations we are having about issues of systemic racism, identity and inclusion.
Likewise, we know that it will increase our motivation to take the kinds of new and bold actions needed to truly improve the racial diversity of our campus communities and ensure a welcoming and supportive environment for people of color at IU.
Last week, I outlined for IU trustees five areas in which we will be taking more action.
This week, we hosted a town hall in which we shared some of the work IU is doing to create a more equitable and just society, and we invited diversity and public safety leaders from across the university to express their concerns and present next steps to mitigate racial inequity in policing and beyond.
As I told IU trustees, we must do much more and take more action to build a community of true diversity, tolerance and equity. I remain confident that the whole university understands the gravity of the issues we face and is fully committed to the important work ahead of us.