Dear Rady Community,
We all have been deeply troubled by the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, and the ensuing protests around the country and the world. The Rady School extends our heartfelt sympathies to their families as we recognize that no amount is enough to lessen their grief or sense of loss. As a grandchild of Mexican immigrants, the wife of an African American man, and the mother of two African American sons, these events hit very close to home for me, as I know they did for many of you. Even more troubling is the fact that this type of violence against our fellow Americans of color is still both pervasive and persistent in our country. We offer our sympathy to all African Americans who are deeply and personally impacted by these deaths, and acknowledge that we all suffer as a country when our people are injured.
The disturbing video of Mr. Floyd shows several nearby police officers who did not step in to ensure his safety. Social psychologists call this the bystander effect, where individuals are less likely to offer help when others are present. My hope as we pave a path forward is that we all stop being bystanders. (For more information on UC San Diego bystander training, follow this link). We cannot heal and move forward if we ignore the differences in treatment between our economic classes and races, and the impact of that difference within our global community. Protests that destroy property or put lives in jeopardy are not viable solutions; in addition, our collective experience of the current pandemic makes these large gatherings particularly unsafe at a time when our community is exhausted.
Thoughtful discussion and commentary as a reaction to injustice, however, helps to focus our attention and can be a catalyst for positive change. This is precisely the value of public education, which assures access for a diverse group of students who come from many different countries and backgrounds. At Rady, we understand the value of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), and we are committed to enhancing the diversity of our viewpoints and quality of our options. We have already formed an EDI subcommittee intended to inform our new strategic plan. In order to make our organizations stronger and more inclusive, we will develop initiatives that harness the knowledge from EDI research (see this Scientific American article for examples). I encourage everyone within the Rady community to expand your relationships beyond your natural network, and to actively seek understanding with others at work and at home. Let’s use our shared values of knowledge and education to ask the questions and seek the answers that will take us forward.
We are proud that our UC San Diego leaders also denounce these events and propose future community conversations to provide opportunities for healing (UC San Diego statement). For faculty, students and staff needing additional support, please see the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program and CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services). I encourage you to participate in activities that will not only help you process what is happening, but also help you contribute to solutions. When the current unrest has subsided, it is important in the long-term to take concrete actions to heal these long-standing wounds and social issues.
We heal and grow stronger when we work together.
Lisa D. Ordóñez, Ph.D.
Dean, Rady School of Management
Stanley and Pauline Foster Endowed Chair