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College of Arts and Sciences

Statement from the Dean on recent events

June 3, 2020

Below is a message that Dean Jayawardhana shared today with the Arts & Sciences campus community:
Dear Arts & Sciences community,
Normally I am one to listen, rather than speak out, on current events as they unfold. I prefer to let our faculty members, who focus on these issues in depth as part of their scholarship, lead in public commentary, and encourage the sharing of their knowledge and insights in furtherance of our public engagement mission. However, at this particular moment, I feel compelled to add my voice to recognize the hurt, anguish and outrage being felt in our community and across our country, and to reaffirm our commitments to promoting equity and inclusivity.
The persistent violence against people of color in this country needs to end, and as an institution with a founding principle dedicated to education for “any person,” we as a community have a responsibility to speak out and act to uphold those principles when we see injustice.
As President Pollack wrote in her recent message, “Decent people and institutions cannot stand silent while such violence against our fellow citizens continues.” Whether you are demonstrating peacefully in public, working on research to address inequality and injustice, advising students or comforting co-workers who are in pain, we all can be doing our part to counter bias and racism in our community and country. 
I have heard many colleagues refer to our College as the beating heart of this University. Our work is even more timely now in addressing the deeper roots of racism and bias. Let’s do our part as individuals, academics and professionals to keep that beat going and support one another to ensure that our shared values strengthen our community and our country. 
Ray Jayawardhana
The Harold Tanner Dean of Arts & Sciences
 Blooming trees outside Goldwin Smith Hall