In less than a month, we have witnessed numerous tragedies—the murder of 49, mainly LGBT men and women, mainly Latina/o, in Orlando; the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and five police officers in Dallas. Like recent devastating incidents in Charleston, San Bernadino, and Ferguson, and an incident closer to home—the shooting death of teenager David Joseph—these tragedies strike at the fundamental values that we hold close here at The University of Texas at Austin, such as the ideals of equality, honor and personal respect.
As a public research institution, we have the opportunity to help address societal issues at the root of these horrific events and even serve as a model, as The University of Texas so often does. We continue to strive to build a campus community that is diverse and accepting, which are fundamental, strategic priorities for our university. It is in these difficult times that we need to support each other and respect the perspectives of all members of our community. There are numerous resources on campus that can help address concerns and help students, faculty and staff process recent events.
The University’s Counseling and Mental Health Center (CMHC), and Student Emergency Services, and the Behavior Concerns Advice Hotline (512-232-5050) are valuable resources for students who need assistance. The Employee’s Assistance Program is available to help faculty and staff. Also, the CMHC can provide faculty and staff with training to help them better serve students who need assistance. The Division of Diversity and Community Engagement’s Multicultural Engagement Center (SAC 1.102) and Gender and Sexuality Center (SAC 2.112) provide spaces for students to process current incidents. The Multicultural Engagement Center is hosting periodic dialogue sessions with diversity coordinators from the CMHC. And the Gender and Sexuality Center offers counseling with a CMHC diversity coordinator from 1-3 every Tuesday this summer.
The Division of Diversity and Community Engagement also offers diversity training across campus. Others such as the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy, the Institute for Urban Policy Research & Analysis, the John Warfield Center, the Center for Mexican American Studies and the Center for Asian American Studies all offer periodic lectures and dialogues to help the campus community learn more about the issues of race and community that affect each of us. Chief David Carter and his team have been valued partners in diversity efforts across campus, and continue to work to ensure our safety, for which we are grateful.
As we continue going about our work on campus in upcoming weeks, please be supportive of our students, of coworkers, and of visitors. During these difficult times, it is important for us to come together and stand against the spread of fear and hate that exist in our country.