On This One-Year Anniversary ...

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd.

Though one of Floyd’s killers was convicted last month, the story is far from over.

Floyd’s death brought the Black Lives Matter movement back to the forefront of national consciousness, precisely because it was neither the first nor the last incident in a centuries-long cycle of injustice and violence against people of color.

Last summer, Pacific University stood together in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and our leadership unequivocally stated our commitment to and demand for change.

Today, we reaffirm that commitment.

While we are proud that Pacific has been open to people of all races, genders, and backgrounds, we know that our university has not been — and still is not — immune to systemic and institutionalized racism.

Over the course of the last year, we have continued our work toward equity, diversity, and specifically toward dismantling that systemic racism.

At every level of the university, we are working to examine our operations and make improvements. The 2020 Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion mid-year report outlines a wide variety of initiatives, from workshops and educational opportunities, to curriculum changes, to hiring practices.

The BIPOC Faculty and Staff affinity group was established and offers a monthly gathering space to support one another. The anti-racist white affinity group provides space for faculty and staff to examine and unpack the responsibility they have in dismantling systems of injustice. And our Student Counseling Center continues to offer BIPOC Let’s Talk space for students across all campuses.

Our students, faculty, and staff have engaged in anti-racist work across all centers, departments, and colleges.

Today, on the one-year anniversary of Floyd’s murder, we are reminded of how much work there is left to do.

We must make the choice, every day, to challenge our assumptions, evaluate our privileges, and take proactive steps to break down the legacy of racism that lives in ourselves, our institutions, and our society.

Our mission at Pacific University includes the pursuit of justice — and it is a never-ending pursuit.

Our work is far from finished.

Narce Rodriguez
Vice President, Student Affairs
Chief Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Officer

Tuesday, May 25, 2021