Skip to main content

Indiana University leaders speak out following weekend of unrest across the nation

Jun 1, 2020

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Following the tragic death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25, communities across Indiana and the U.S. have seen protests and demonstrations. Indiana University leaders issued statements on the topic of diversity, community and inclusivity.

What they said

“We must continue to insist that there is absolutely no room at IU for discrimination or harassment based on anyone’s actual or perceived race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin or political beliefs. We see our diversity as one of our cardinal virtues. We are extremely proud of our students of color and their achievements – students who are such a vital part of the cultural and historical fabric of our institution, but we will have failed them if we cannot provide to them campus environments where they feel safe, supported and respected.”

– Michael A. McRobbie, Indiana University president
Read McRobbie’s full statement

“Again and again, seemingly on a daily basis, people of color face acts of racism, prejudice and bigotry… At IU, we denounce all forms of bigotry, hate and racism, and we will continue to do so. We believe strongly in a society that values the respect and dignity of life for all. Moreover, we feel adamantly that the opportunity to live and work in a world that builds upon the contributions of everyone is not just a privilege but a right of life.”

– James C. Wimbush, vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs; dean of the University Graduate School; Johnson Chair for Diversity and Leadership
Read Wimbush’s full statement

”Noted by Dr. King, philanthropy is not just about giving, but also about problem-solving to make the world a better place. Philanthropic organizations must ensure policies and practices address the economic inequalities that further disparities making philanthropy necessary for all communities to thrive and reiterates the importance of developing a charitable focus to address these very needs… Let us do our part to close the racial gaps in philanthropy and help build a system in our country that protects life, liberty, and a presumption of innocence that will provide justice for us all.”

– IU Black Philanthropy Circle
Read the full statement

“These tragic events reinforce my already strong belief in the vital importance of building an inclusive and welcoming environment that recognizes and respects people of all backgrounds and experiences. I have said before and will say again that at IUPUI, we are unwavering in our commitment to ensuring a safe and civil environment for faculty, staff and students.”

– Nasser H. Paydar, IUPUI chancellor and executive vice president

“Recent events have laid bare the persistent and pernicious inequality at the root of American society… it is our collective responsibility to make good on IU’s commitment to diversity and equity. We must do everything within our power to ensure that all of our students are able to pursue their academic goals in a safe, supportive and inclusive environment. It is also our responsibility to interrogate our own professional roles and to locate whatever opportunities they provide to advance equality.”

Hannah Buxbaum, IU vice president for International Affairs

“We must remain vigilant in our efforts to foster a safe, inclusive, and equitable learning environment for all members of the IU Southeast community. To faculty and staff, we must encourage civil discourse without giving way to hateful rhetoric or intimidation. We must support open intellectual discussion without ostracizing members of our campus family on the basis of race, religion, creed, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin… To our students, our goal at IU Southeast is to ensure you receive the best educational experiences in order to be successful and earn your degree.” 

– Ray Wallace, IU Southeast chancellor
Read Wallace’s full statement

“…I feel it is important to reiterate IUPUC’s core belief in creating a welcoming campus that detests prejudice and intolerance in all of its forms, and strives for inclusiveness. We sometimes become complacent as individuals, or a community, with regard to what we know is right and good. In times like these it is important for each of us to evaluate our own beliefs and actions. Expressing empathy for others is an important way to heal ourselves and help others.”

– Reinhold Hill, IUPUC vice chancellor and dean
Read Hill’s full statement

”My heart is aching for the families of these victims, everyone in their communities and the people who have expressed their frustrations and anger in protest. My hope is that from this expression of outrage, we will see productive action and tangible change… Diversity and inclusion are foundational to IU South Bend’s mission. Our community will continue to live this mission as we work together towards a more equitable and just society.”

– Susan Elrod, IU South Bend chancellor
Read Elrod’s full statement

”With everything that is happening, we cannot lose that clarity about the reality that ‘liberty and justice for all’, guaranteed by our Constitution, remains beyond the reach of too many Americans… The courage to take a lead in looking for answers to our most difficult contemporary questions is central to the character of a university.  Representational diversity on its own, for example, does not mean much without true equity and inclusion, which must be at the heart of our educational project for the long term, if things will change for the better.”

– William J. Lowe, IU Northwest chancellor
Read Lowe’s full statement

“What happens next? I wish I knew. What I do know is, if change is coming, REAL CHANGE, we must do it together. If we are to live out the values we hold dear as a campus community, setting an example for students who are the future of this country, then we must recognize there is strength in numbers. With so many heightened emotions, with so much at stake, now is not the time to show a lack of restraint. Now is not the time for divisiveness… Now is the time to stand together as colleagues, as a division, as a campus, as a university, as a city, and as a nation.”

– Eric Weldy, IUPUI vice chancellor for Student Affairs
Read Weldy’s full statement

”For those of you who want to know how best to act as allies, I encourage all of us to lead and set an example for others with whom we are connected. Now more than ever, we must educate ourselves and others on Black history, seek to learn and understand systemic injustices, consume media focused on African American experience and culture, understand and recognize implicit bias, stay informed on current issues and events, inspire others to act, march alongside the marginalized, sign petitions, voice concerns to our elected leaders, give time and resources to organizations doing essential work for Black lives, and vote.”

– Dan Smith, IU Foundation president & CEO

”We are proud to be a Department that has always put the holistic care and support of our students first which is all the more important in tough times. We can’t let ourselves be content to send the Floyd family our “thoughts and prayers” and then lapse into moving on to other things, or we will be condemning ourselves to continuing to endure these kinds of atrocities, and George Floyd’s death will have been in vain. While almost any action seems insufficient given the overwhelming challenge that racism poses to all of us, that can’t deter us into inaction. We need to be the change we want to see in the world.”

– Fred Glass, IU vice president and director of intercollegiate
Read Glass’s full statement

”I am committed to making the School a place where all individuals in the medical school community, at all nine campuses, feel valued, respected and encouraged. I know from first-hand experience, discussions and surveys that at times we fall short of our goals. We have work to do. What we don’t need now are platitudes; we need tangible steps to improve the climate in our community, the sense of security and belonging, beginning with all the members of our community of color. Those steps must be taken by all of us—by people of all colors—to effect true change.”

– Jay Hess, IU School of Medicine dean
Read Hess’ full statement

“As an educator, I have always believed in the power of education as a tool to enlighten and uplift. And, like you, I have a voice. It is my hope that in this collective moment of grief, we use our voices to speak up and educate those around us about injustices that can no longer be tolerated in our society. As Martin Luther King stated, ‘True peace is not the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.’ … Be a beacon for change that is accomplished peacefully but powerfully in its impact. Whether you influence one or hundreds, each of us, in ways we are uniquely and individually qualified, can use our skills and knowledge to make a difference.”

– Idalene “Idie” Kesner, Kelley School of Business dean
Read Kesner’s full statement 

“No Person of Conscience Can Stand Silent… Each of us has an obligation to stand up and be counted, to do our part, to work toward solutions. I am not naïve and Pollyannaish. I do not think that my strident words of outrage nor my expressions of solidarity with others who are hurt, tired, scared, and outraged - nor anyone else’s words - will make the problem go away. But we must not remain silent. Together, we must work toward solutions. The courts must do their part. The police must do their part. And we in public health must do our part. Violence is a public health problem, and we must do our part as scholars and educators to bring light and truth ( Lux et Veritas, the IU motto) to the table to find and promote solutions.”

David B. Allison, IU School of Public Health-Bloomington dean
Read Allison’s full statement

“In whatever ways one may judge or interpret the protests and rioting, society cannot ignore the unassailable cries for justice. While my aching heart compels me to communicate my anguish to our students, staff and faculty, my passion for justice calls me to act… As your Dean, I committed to stepping into the complex diversity challenges before us. I stand by that commitment and invite us to work together to bring healing to our own community while finding our collective voice to effect change in our broader communities.”

– Tamara S. Davis, IU School of Social Work dean

“We are committed to creating and sustaining an inclusive environment for everyone, where all can achieve their full potential… We stand with you, our fellow students, faculty and staff, who are hurting. And we are here to support you. We care, you belong, and you are valued. Most important, we are here to listen, to learn and to be better allies to you in our fight for social justice. There is no room here for hatred, racism, sexism, bigotry and discrimination. Only room for love, acceptance, truth and justice. We have to stand up for what is right. If the past three months have taught us anything, hopefully, it is that we are all in this together as members of the human family, and the sooner we accept and embrace this, the better world this will be. Let us be the change we want to see in the world.”

– Carol Anne Murdoch-Kinch, IU School of Dentistry dean
Read Murdoch-Kinch’s full statement

“In public health and health administration, we work to break down the barriers created by systemic racism to allow everyone the opportunity for health. Not only do we need to stand by our colleagues, but we need to lead the way in breaking down these barriers. Our words and actions have power. By not calling out racism, we become complicit in allowing a culture of racism to continue. We must be allies to our colleagues and friends. Black and brown lives matter. They matter when we aren’t recording video. They matter when we aren’t on social media. And they matter when no one is looking.”

– Paul K. Halverson, Fairbanks School of Public Health dean
Read Halverson’s full statement

”Today I urge you to be the change makers, to create the change that matters, to run for office, to volunteer, to create new public policies, and exercise your voting rights. In whatever ways we can help, we must. The next step for the O’Neill School will be to put together a plan of action to move forward with our commitment, including the ways we can support students as they work to become public servants working in the best interest of all.”

– Siân Mooney, O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs dean

”The senseless murder of George Floyd and other innocent people of color reflects a legacy of hatred, systemic racism, and violence that must be broken… This is a declaration of our shared commitment to ensure the Indiana University Alumni Association is an even more inclusive, supportive, and welcoming community where discrimination of any kind is not tolerated… Building on the good work of the staff and volunteers who came before us, we commit to four specific actions. We will report our progress to the Board of Managers and Executive Council on a regular basis so we are accountable and transparent.”

– Senior Management Team, Indiana University Alumni Association
Read more about the IUAA’s specific actions

“I encourage all of you to embrace the values in our civility statement, and to think about ways we can apply these values in the School of Informatics and Computing to make our community even stronger. While we may not be able to change the world overnight, a commitment to our core values prepares our students to enter the global marketplace with the belief that diverse opinions and a rich exchange of ideas is the best path forward.”

– Mathew J. Palakal, IU School of Informatics and Computer-Indianapolis senior executive associate dean

”At times like this, it is important that we stand together in unity and show that it is not just abstract principles like justice and fairness for all that we support. We also support and express solidarity with our Black faculty, staff, students, and community partners who are hurting right now and who, like all people, have a right to feel safe inside and outside of their communities and to see their rights as citizens protected.”

– Robert Rebein, IUPUI School of Liberal Arts interim dean
Read Rebein’s full statement

”The tragic refrain of violence against Black Americans and other minorities in the United States has been repeated too often in recent memory. We need to take a stand in support of the black community, and denounce the acts of racism, bigotry, and prejudice that destroy all of our lives… We can see the path before us, and we are moving forward. In this moment, when hearts are breaking and voices are rising in protest against yet more violence and oppression against Black Americans, we feel the importance of renewing our commitment to building the kind of world everyone deserves. We all stand together as one.”

– Jeremy Allen, Jacobs School of Music Eugene O’Brien Bicentennial Executive Associate Dean
Read Allen’s full statement

”As an ally and a leader at IUPUI I want to affirm my personal, and our organizational dedication to equity and valuing diversity… As a University Library community we have made diversity one of our core Values… As a University Library community we have made equity a Strategic Priority… I also recognize that making statements is not enough. Eradicating systemic inequality requires daily effort on all our parts and I am proud to be a part of a supportive organization made of individuals that have committed to this daily pursuit.”

– Kristi L. Palmer, IUPUI University Library Herbert Simon Family Dean
Read Palmer’s full statement

“As generations of our graduates have attested, in person, in print and on film, the struggle for civil rights for African Americans has never stopped. We acknowledge the unrelenting nature of this fight. Now more than ever is the time to listen to our black students, staff, faculty and alumni, and to make space for what they have to say… For many of you — and for all of us in The Media School — it will be to harness the power of media in all their forms to document important stories that address racism and other injustices, as well as to celebrate diverse experiences in American life.”

– James Shanahan, IU Media School dean
Read Shanahan’s full statement

”I appreciated Chancellor Paydar’s statement this past weekend on behalf of the IUPUI community, and found it to be a strong message that affirmed the campus’ dedicated ethic toward true diversity, equity and inclusion. I also see it as an opportunity to express that ethic in a way that provides mutual support for our peers in these times, giving us an opportunity to check in with one another, encourage one another’s contribution, and respect when they need to step back and process … Many are experiencing this new cycle in a personally challenging ways. We will get through this together.”

– Errol Wint, IUPUI director of Undergraduate Admissions

“The month of June is traditionally celebrated as Pride month by the LGBTQ+ community and its allies. But these modern-day celebrations trace their roots to a series of spontaneous uprisings and demonstrations by queer people… This June, the same expressions of pain, the same demands for civil rights and justice, have come in response to the killings of George Floyd and too many others. The QPC joins with these voices. We affirm that Black Lives Matter. We value the diverse identities that make us stronger. We affirm that legal and social equality are constitutional rights as well as human rights. We know that movements for social justice achieve the greatest good when we stand together in unity.”

– Executive Committee of the IU Queer Philanthropy Circle
Read the Committee’s full statement

“It is not just a time to reaffirm that IU, IUPUI and SHHS are committed to creating an inclusive environment where all people are welcomed, accepted without prejudice and fostered to succeed. It is a time where action is needed. We must all do our part to ensure SHHS students and personnel know that SHHS is a safe place – where all people truly feel they belong and can succeed.”

Rafael E. Bahamonde, dean of the School of Health & Human Sciences, IUPUI

From social media

Read the full tweets

”In 1963, Dr. King wrote from his jail cell, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny… Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.’ And yet, almost sixty years later, black and brown people in this country, including our dean of the graduate school, James Wimbush, pour forth anguished stories of being treated as outsiders in their own country. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. I stand as an ally with my students and colleagues of color in that web of mutuality. Indiana University’s community is part of that single garment of destiny. We stand united against the violence of racism.”

– Lauren Robel, IU Bloomington provost and executive vice president

“We join the IUPUI campus in our unwavering commitment to a safe environment for our students and staff while also supporting our student-athletes’ rights to peaceful protest as they share their convictions. As Jaguars, we will strive to confront racism and prejudice and help change the dialogue around race relations in our city and country. Violence is not the answer.”

– Roderick Perry, IUPUI director of athletics

“It has been one of the privileges of my life to coach, mentor and lead young women. I don’t pretend to know how people of color feel; what I do know is that I stand with and by them. Racism has no place in this world! It requires ALL of us to make a change! We can do and be so much better!”

– Teri Moren, IU Bloomington women’s basketball coach

“My heart is broken by what is going on in our country. Racial injustice is wrong and it MUST be addressed!! I believe we are to LOVE EACH OTHER! No matter one’s skin color. Love is a choice.”

– Tom Allen, IU Bloomington head football coach

“‘In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends,’ – Martin Luther King Jr. What’s happening is heartbreaking. It’s racism. It needs to end…”

– Steve Aird, IU Bloomington head volleyball coach

“IUPD is committed to upholding the highest standards of our profession and continually work to improve it by teaching implicit bias training and doing what we can to improve equality in America. We welcome freedom of speech, and will continue to partner with the IU community and the communities we serve across the state of Indiana to identify effective ways to address these challenges together.”

– IU Police Department


IU Newsroom

Chuck Carney

Director of Special Projects

More stories