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June 1, 2020

Dear members of the SoHE community – students, faculty and staff, and our School Advisory Council,

So many of us are reeling. Rationally, we understand the deep history of white supremacy and racism that has been at the core of our history as a nation – and as a university. We can analyze the threat of a viral pandemic.

But it is hard to find words – as racism is revealed so clearly in our communities; at a time when we must calculate each movement when we leave our homes; as we miss the community of our colleagues and friends; and when the path forward feels so uncertain.

Many of us seek and have comfort in our faiths, families, friends and colleagues. I also feel comfort in the belief that our vocation can contribute to the changes that we know we need to see. Some of us study and teach about the origins, implications, and solutions to racism and other forms of injustice. Some of us study and teach about health: the epidemiology and the inequities of human health; the origins and solutions through the food and fabric of our every day; the coping and support that we find in our closest relationships. And some of us study and teach about equity and justice. In a remarkable number of ways, I believe and I have seen how our collective work may contribute to solutions. Science-Based. Human-Focused.

I hope everyone in the School will consider how our mission can be honed for solutions – to racism; to pandemic; to the path forward. We must support one another now more than ever – especially those who are angry, hurting, or are vulnerable.


Stephen Russell

Director, School of Human Ecology