Dear Students, Colleagues, and Friends,
Along with the entire CBS community, I am mourning the murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, in addition to the recent killings of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, as well as countless other acts of racial violence and discrimination that have plagued our country for many decades. Additionally, the events of the past week are unfolding in the midst of a global pandemic that is disproportionately impacting the health and livelihood of Black, Hispanic, and low-income communities as a result of systemic oppression and injustice.
This is a time to grieve together with our Black friends and colleagues, to acknowledge and feel their pain. It is also a time to educate ourselves about how we, individually and collectively, can do better and be better in eliminating systematic racism. In that spirit, I have included some resources that I have found particularly helpful at the end of my email.
Robert Smith '94, opened his letter to Vista Equity Partners employees saying "This has been a heartbreaking and painful week for America and a reminder that in our endless pursuit of a 'more perfect union,' a great deal of work remains." I want to acknowledge that a great deal of work remains to bring true diversity, equity and inclusion to CBS. As Vice Dean of DEI at Columbia Business School, I commit to listening, learning, and working hard to drive change. That change starts with reaffirming Columbia Business School's values statement and standing up to make inclusion a reality for every member of our community, every single day.
What is the work we can do to stand for our values in an academic institution that educates future business leaders? To learn from all of you, Dean Maglaras and I will host a "Community Conversation" event next week for all students, staff, and faculty (event invite to come), as a starting point in our journey. The event will provide a safe space for our community members to come together to actively listen and share with one another to make sure all our voices are heard.
As I reflect on the DEI committee's work this past year, and my own process of personal growth as an immigrant woman of color and an ally, I would like to make three personal commitments that highlight the issues we are working on. I promise to work on these issues by putting one foot in front of the other every day in the short run, and by trying to bring about lasting change in the long run.
I commit to building a diverse student, staff, and faculty body who collectively feel a strong sense of belonging at CBS. As a longstanding faculty member here, I realize that we have said this far too often, with far too little change. I will personally work closely with the DEI committee to make this a priority and to implement some of the good ideas that came from students and colleagues last year.
I commit to instating a co-curricular program designed such that every student educated at CBS learns how to be an ethical and inclusive leader. I am developing the program with two 2020 alumnae, joining me as Dean's Summer Fellows this summer, so that every student absorbs the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion before, during, and after their journey at CBS.
I commit to hosting diverse voices at CBS, both in and out of the classroom. I will work closely with our affinity student and alumni clubs to bring in multiple perspectives from diverse role models. I will ensure that we all learn and appreciate diverse ways of thinking and being, and that our students leave Columbia understanding how critical it is that diversity and inclusion is woven into the fabric of their workplaces.
I would like to sign off by committing to be the change I want to see in the world, and to closely examining my own beliefs and actions to learn how to become a better friend, colleague, and leader. Will you join me, hold me accountable, and make a similar commitment yourself? Please share your ideas, thoughts, feelings, and suggestions. I promise to listen with an open mind albeit a heavy heart.
- If you need assistance, please use these mental health and wellbeing resources for students, faculty, and staff.
- Register for the CUIMC Unconscious Bias Virtual Workshop on June 18th, open to all staff and faculty.
- Statements from CBS student clubs, Dean Maglaras, and President Bollinger, posted in CampusGroups
- Resources on COVID-19 and inequality on this CUIMC Division of Ethics page
- Businesses Must Take Meaningful Action Against Racism
- What MBA's can do in Defense of Black Lives
- Toward a Racially Just Workplace
- An Antiracist Reading List
- How to be an Antiracist
- Institutionalized Racism, A Syllabus
- Not all Discrimination is Obvious
- How Diversity Makes us Smarter
- Maximizing the Gains and Minimizing the Pains of Diversity: A Policy Perspective
- The Intersectionality Podcast from the African American Policy Forum and Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw, Professor at Columbia Law School
- Code Switch Podcast – NPR
- CBS Black History – Learn about Theodora Rutherford '24, the first Black student at CBS
- Join the Taskforce on Inclusion and Belonging at Columbia or consider other ways to engage with the Office of University Life
- Volunteer your time, knowledge, and skills through Community Impact at Columbia University
- Support civil rights organizations such as the ACLU, the Equal Justice Initiative, the NAACP and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund