University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Ronnie Green announced on Friday UNL will work toward combating racism and ensuring racial equity on campus.
In a statement to the UNL community, Green said UNL will embark on a journey for anti-racism and racial equity, ensuring each step on that journey advances real and sustained change in addressing concerns on campus.
“I use the word ‘journey’ not because we are seeking some vague destination which we may eventually reach, but because our efforts in this moment cannot be ‘one and done,’” Green said in the statement. “We must ensure meaningful step after meaningful step that advances real and sustained change in addressing this deeply enduring challenge.”
Everyone must play a role in the journey, Green said, and the work will be centered in the Office of the Chancellor to elevate, provide accountability and maintain required sustained focus.
Two co-leaders will soon be appointed by Green to collaborate with Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion Marco Barker to help UNL on its journey. In the weeks ahead, Green said the UNL community will be updated on what conversations or specific actions will take place.
On Tuesday, members of the UNL community met for a weekly Dish It Up luncheon, hosted by the Office of Academic Success and Intercultural Services, for a discussion on race and equality following the death of George Floyd on May 25. More than 300 students, faculty, staff, alumni and Lincoln community members joined the conversation, according to Green.
“The conversations happening this week are important, even though for far too many they feel like a new chapter of a well-worn book,” Green said in the statement. “We can’t walk together until we talk together. We all know the future must be about action.”
On Saturday, Green expressed his sadness to the death of George Floyd and the death that occurs to many other Black lives on Twitter. In the tweet, he said those entrusted to leading institutions must be committed to listening, learning and understanding their own bias.
Those of us entrusted to leading institutions must stay committed to truly listening, truly learning and to understanding our own bias. We need to encourage honest conversations, big and small, that can help bridge this divide and address deeply embedded histories of exclusion.— Ronnie D. Green (@RonnieDGreen) May 30, 2020
Green said higher education can play a positive role, including UNL. Now must be different, he said, and UNL will learn from its past and give voice and action now in order to shape the future.
“This cannot be another moment where we collectively rage at injustice, acknowledge pain and then take no meaningful action,” Green said in the statement. “We must take real steps to address racial inequities and a history of exclusion. We must take them now. And we must take them again, and again, and again… while continuously critiquing and evaluating our progress or when we fall short. This is an endeavor where we have to be intentional and commit every day.”