On Tuesday, the School of Pharmacy and Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences sent the message below to our faculty, staff, and students. In addition, in a recent email to a concerned student, I highlighted Crean College’s long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion and then committed to renewing our efforts to address systemic racism in our college. The text of my email to the student follows the letter to the college.
The email highlights what we have done and also commits to renewed and new efforts to address systemic racism in the college. This commitment begins now and will be followed this fall when undergraduate and graduate students are back to school. In the fall we will partner with students from oppressed minorities to formulate new actions for the college to implement. I am personally committed to effect change.
Tuesday’s letter to Crean College Faculty, Staff and Students:
The School of Pharmacy and Crean College educate future healthcare professionals who are compassionate and concerned with the health of individual people and the more significant challenges of population or public health. We have witnessed what is happening in our world during this pandemic and now are witnessing once again the shocking reminders that racism is entrenched in our communities. We are increasingly and deeply concerned about what each of us can do to further improve and accelerate the education of our students who we know will be an essential part of defeating the virus and confronting head-on injustice, prejudice, and systemic inhumanity. Now, as the week’s events unfold around our nation and world beyond, we must acknowledge the overwhelming pain and deep hurt we see in society. We know when the world feels this type of pain, fear, stress, and anxiety, the same feelings are present in our students, faculty, and staff – maybe more so because all of us are or aspire to be compassionate, caring professionals.
Today, we are confronting two viruses, COVID-19 and systemic racism. Two Sundays ago, the New York Times published the names of those who had succumbed to the coronavirus. We were shocked to see the columns of names; the virus’s toll became real. We, who are not victimized by systemic racism, would be equally shocked to a published list with the names of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor added to the thousands of names of men, women, sons, and daughters who for generations have been murdered because of skin color and ethnicity. Our shock, though, does not substitute for the constant fear, violence, weariness, anger, or despair carried by those whose life experiences are defined by racism. However, our shock can lead to a commitment to ‘take ownership’ of what is unfolding. As a faculty and staff committed to the health and well-being of others, we must promise to reject indifference (e.g., It’s not my problem); reject quick claims of innocence (e.g., I’m not racist); and reject helplessness (e.g., I can’t do anything about it). We will speak out for others and provide help to those in our community and families in need.
We must commit to being a part of doing better in the future! We pledge that our community at Chapman Crean College of Health and Behavioral Science and the Chapman School of Pharmacy will do all we can to provide a safe, inclusive, fair, and equitable environment. We pledge to do all we can to advance our commitment to building a stronger and more committed campus culture that is free of racism and divisiveness.
Excerpts from email to concerned student:
The college is not perfect in its commitment to diversity, but here are actions we have been taking since the college began 5 years ago. First, the college has always committed to diversity in hiring. This is not new to us. But, we have always approached diversity in hiring broadly – racial, ethnic, gender identity, and economic. Second, faculty are in charge of curriculum, and, if you looked at the courses across the college, you will find (especially the undergraduate courses and in Marriage and Family Therapy) we are making strides. We can do better but as dean, this must be a commitment made by program leadership and its faculty. Third, the new Simon Scholar program pays full tuition to 10 incoming PA students each year who come from economically disadvantaged and racially/ethnically diverse backgrounds. This scholarship program is an important step in diversifying the PA profession. Fourth, this year 100% of the college’s undergraduate scholarship money was awarded to incoming black and Hispanic students with priority given to those who were also the first generation.
So, this commitment is not new to the college but its practice since its inception.
What I will commit to – minority students from PA, Com Sci and Disorders, Physical Therapy, Psychology, and Health Science – a meeting of program chairs to help us address more comprehensively our commitments. This will be in the fall when undergraduate students are on campus.
With heartfelt sincerity,
Dr. Janeen Hill, Dean
Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences