Dear UTK School of Information Sciences Students, Alumni and Friends,
We know that SIS students, alumni, and friends, particularly African-American students, alumni, and friends, are hurting right now. We are hurting with you. Many of you are suffering due to the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, which sadly join a long list of extrajudicial killings of African-American men and women. Our hearts go out to you, and to all those who have suffered from the discrimination, bias, and brutality that are deeply woven into the fabric of our country.
Those of us who do not experience racism firsthand may find it difficult to fathom the size and scope of the racial inequalities and injustices that exist in this country, and some of us may resist even recognizing and accepting their existence. However, the long-standing, generational pain and suffering of our friends, neighbors, and colleagues cannot be ignored.
Although the information professions have stated values of diversity and equity, we also must acknowledge that our professions sometimes further inequality and bias. We can, and must, do better to find a way to apply our field’s knowledge to address both the overt and the insidious inequities and injustices that persist in our society.
The faculty and staff of the School of Information Sciences join Chancellor Plowman in condemning racism and violence and in seeking to build a campus community that promotes kindness, equity, and inclusion. It is time to double-down our efforts by adopting an antiracist mindset and acting in ways that challenge the status quo, even if that means facing uncomfortable truths about ourselves and our society.
– SIS Faculty and Staff