Dear AUSB Community,
We stand together in our solidarity against the oppression and injustice experienced by so many in our communities and are rightfully outraged. During this unprecedented time in dealing with the pandemic, we are called to action due to the recent death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis, which was just one of the most recent deaths in the United States brought to our attention. Among these are the deaths of Ahmed Aubrey and Tony McDade. We are profoundly saddened by these deaths, and morally outraged.
This recent tragedy has constellated activism within our community and across the world and has resonated with all who have experienced and continue to experience immense losses due to systemic structural racism in our culture and institutions.
I wish to acknowledge all students, faculty, and staff who have participated in protests and are courageously engaging in open dialogue on the issues in the classroom via Zoom, exploring how this impacts each of us at our institution, and within our personal lives, and calling us to further action. Action is firmly rooted In Antioch’s social justice mission, and many of you are aware of our compelling history, which was radical and revolutionary 164 years ago when this educational institution was founded.
Our campus purpose statement speaks to our commitment to prepare students for professional success and service to their communities by focusing on the development of critical thinking, leadership, and expansive world views as a foundation for teaching and learning in all disciplinary fields of study. To further paraphrase, we all strive to model personal integrity based upon the values of ethical behavior, intellectual honesty, and tolerance for the beliefs, ideas, and cultural experience of others.
I encourage everyone to continue these lived experiences of our campus purpose through mutual learning and the suspension of judgment that is called for during these authentic dialogues.
As we begin this first day of June, I highlight our Antioch University Statement of Commitment, Inclusion, and Diversity (2012):
In recognition of our mission, vision, and core values, Antioch University governors, faculty, staff, students, and alumni pledge to engage in ongoing development as an inclusive learning community. Our goal is justice and empowerment for all. To this end, we respond to the spectrum of human diversity so that no one is marginalized. Firmly rooted in our longstanding tradition of challenging inequities and promoting social change, we are committed to continued growth as an international university that addresses the complexities of the diverse regions we serve.
To move beyond tolerance toward inclusion, affirmation, and the celebration of our differences, we embrace challenges and recognize that the responsibility for this rests with each member of the community and with the university as an educational institution.
We commit to creating and maintaining a learning environment free from discrimination, and we encourage and support those who identify and speak out against discrimination in pursuit of social justice. We demonstrate our commitment to the celebration of difference through self-examination, respectful interactions, and through formal and informal policies and practices that give life to these ideals within Antioch University and the world around us.
My wish is that our community continues to empower each other in the range of activities being called for including critical self-reflection, open dialogue with others, community protests, training of law enforcement, participation in governance structures, and voting this year, another way to conscientiously express one’s voice.
With appreciation to all faculty and students for creating safe spaces and having a willingness to facilitate and participate in dialogue.
“Courage is not a lack of fear but taking action in the face of and despite of fear” resonates for me once again.
In gratitude for your courage in having these profound and challenging conversations and willingness to continue holding forums where issues, thoughts, and actions can be respectfully shared in community.
Barbara Lipinski, PhD, JD
Provost and Chief Executive Officer
Antioch University Santa Barbara