The College of Information Sciences and Technology has endorsed a resolution that recognizes the impact of systemic racism and unequal treatment of Black Americans and other marginalized groups, as well as asserts the college’s commitment toward taking meaningful actions that integrate racial justice issues into the work we do.
The original resolution was drafted by the Penn State Dickinson Law faculty on June 2, 2020. The College of IST faculty, staff, Inclusion and Diversity Action Council, and dean voted to endorse the resolution on July 21, 2020.
We, as a college and as a collection of individuals, denounce messages of hate and the sanctioned violence against the Black community. We express our support for the marginalized, overlooked, forgotten, and unjustly victimized. We educate ourselves on these injustices, believing this can serve as the bridge to guarantee the dignity and humanity of those who have yet to receive it. We recommit to recruiting more students and hiring more faculty and staff from underrepresented backgrounds.
These are important steps, but they merely serve as the foundation for the more challenging actions that must be taken. We must listen to the frustration, pain, and anger from all communities of color and find pathways for meaningful change. We must be willing to be uncomfortable as we examine our own roles in these systems of oppression. We must acknowledge and work harder to address these disparities as they exist within our college, and use our position as a leading information school to fight for change in our broader field. We must balance honest and transparent communication with decisive action.
We affirm that Black Lives Matter. Now, we must prove it. We will continue to engage our community in the steps we are taking and how they can support us in these efforts.
WHEREAS, the faculty and staff recognizes the ongoing, systemic and perpetual racial and societal injustices in this country, which have been passed on from generation to generation; and
WHEREAS, the faculty and staff recognizes that these injustices have existed since the original sin of slavery and been furthered by Jim Crow laws and the unequal treatment of Black Americans in our judicial system; and
WHEREAS, the faculty and staff especially notes and is appalled by the numerous killings that have been committed against Black Americans under the color of law; and
WHEREAS, the faculty and staff recognizes the lack of accountability for these injustices; and
WHEREAS, the faculty and staff recognizes the senseless brutality being committed by those employed to serve and protect who are operating under a pattern, practice and culture fostering unequal treatment; and
WHEREAS, the faculty and staff recognizes the need to have uncomfortable talks and real, honest and transparent conversations directed towards addressing these injustices; and
WHEREAS, the faculty and staff recognizes and feels the sadness, anger, outrage, frustration, pain and grieving caused by extrajudicial killings; and
WHEREAS, the faculty and staff recognizes the need to understand how so many feel helpless, frustrated, invisible, and disillusioned, resulting in constant fears for their personal safety and leading to bearing psychological and emotional scars; and
WHEREAS, the faculty and staff recognizes that racism is an incessant malady and a scourge to an otherwise organized, civilized society; and
WHEREAS, the faculty and staff recognizes that systemic discrimination and unjust racial inequities continue to appall and to plague our nation; and
WHEREAS, the faculty and staff recognizes that we should not accept apathy, indifference or silence to such ongoing violence and inequities, which otherwise allows hatred, prejudice and intolerance to fester and grow; and
WHEREAS, the faculty and staff recognizes the need to engage in peaceful protest and constructive acts to make a meaningful difference towards societal change; and
WHEREAS, the faculty and staff recognizes that we have an obligation to fight ignorance and intolerance, model inclusivity, and embrace our differences and the power that diversity represents; and
WHEREAS, the faculty and staff recognizes the need to stand with our Black brothers and sisters as effective allies; and
WHEREAS, the faculty and staff recognizes the need to stand in ongoing support of our students, staff, fellow faculty and staff, and their families who are persons of color:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the faculty and staff acknowledges that racism is an affliction that we must never enable but should all be active antiracists in taking responsibility to condemn and to end, that we need to identify and challenge systemic prejudice wherever it exists, that we are all accountable for doing the work necessary for policy changes that dismantle structural systems of oppression that perpetuate racial inequities in our society, that we will strive to be better listeners and supporters of those who are the victims of racism, that we will never rest until every American feels safe, free and accepted in our country, and that we will continuously abide by the goal of providing respect and equitable treatment to all in upholding the rule of law.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, this resolution be preserved in the records and minutes of the College of Information Sciences and Technology faculty and staff and prominently displayed on the College of Information Sciences and Technology website.
Adopted this 21st day of July 2020, by the vote of Penn State College of Information Sciences and Technology faculty, staff, dean, and Inclusion and Diversity Action Council.
Andrew Sears, dean
Penn State College of Information Sciences and Technology