I write to you today to commend the leadership of Black student leaders who have agreed to partner with me and other university leaders to pursue an anti-racist agenda here at the University of Maryland.
On July 1, my first day as president, I announced two priorities for our campus. One, we will achieve excellence in everything we do -- research, teaching and learning, arts, and athletics. And two, we will create an inclusive, multicultural environment.
These dual priorities are profoundly and immutably interconnected. We cannot have excellence without a diverse and inclusive campus. And they are both journeys, because the pursuit of excellence and a supportive, respectful community require determined, cooperative and ceaseless work. We will build on the work we have already begun.
To that end, we have invited and convened a group of outstanding student leaders from more than 30 organizations representing Black student life, to work toward a more inclusive, multicultural environment. To be sure, there is work to be done and I am pleased that we are proceeding together.
We are discussing a number of critical issues and goals, including:
- Increasing the number of Black faculty and staff;
- Strengthening spaces, organizations, programs and initiatives supporting Black students, faculty and staff;
- Implementing bias training;
- Prioritizing minority enrollment, particularly from Prince George’s County, Baltimore City and across the region;
- And, honoring the life and legacy of Lt. Richard Collins III.
Each of the objectives under discussion will proceed on varying timelines and will involve additional members of our community. Working together, we will make significant and lasting change.
To all of the student organizations and university staff and faculty participating in this critical collaborative effort, I say thank you. Vice Presidents Georgina Dodge and Patty Perillo have prioritized this work, convening with urgency after more senseless killings of Black lives this spring and summer. In addition, I want to thank Senior Associate VP Warren Kelley, Tony Randall, and Brandon Dula for their years of work to create a more equitable and inclusive environment for all.
Our willingness to advocate for and to create change is a testament to our shared commitment to inclusive excellence. While this group is dedicated to addressing anti-Black racism, we also remain focused on advocating for social justice for any member of our Terrapin family who faces inequities and bias. I can think of no greater purpose. This is the work that makes us TerrapinSTRONG.
Darryll J. Pines
President, University of Maryland
Afrochique at University of Maryland
Black Honors Caucus
Ethiopian & Eritrean Students Association
Multicultural Greek Council
Student Success Leadership Council
Charles R. Drew Pre-Health Society
African Student Association
African Students Progressive Action Committee
Alliance for Diversity in Science and Engineering
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated
Black Business Association
Black Engineers Society
Black Graduate Student Union
Black Terps Matter
Caribbean Students Association
Diazporic Dance Team
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated
Maryland Association of Black Journalists
National Association of Black Accountants
National Council of Negro Women
National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers
National Pan-Hellenic Council
Political Power Project
SGA Diversity Leader
Society of African American Studies
Somali Students Association
The Black Student Union
The Star Strutters