Dear SPH Students, Staff and Faculty,
Our school is committed to becoming anti-racist and I realize that many of us, myself included, have a lot of learning to do, and that this will be a long journey to get to where we want to be.
Last week, several members of our community reached out to let me know that they were confused and hurt by my decision to conduct an interview with an organization that stands in contradiction to our collective public health values. My goal in taking this interview was to provide fact-based guidance around COVID-19 to an audience that the public health community has not reached very effectively. I understand that, regardless of my intent, this hurt and disappointed some of the people that I care about most: the students, faculty and staff in our own school.
I regret that I did not consider the impact of the decision about whether to take the interview through a wider lens. I am deeply appreciative of the people who took the time and energy to walk me through why my actions and the actions of my office last week were not consistent with our commitment to anti-racism.
I am committed to learning and doing better. In the next couple of weeks, we will begin work to overhaul our school’s communication strategy with an anti-racist lens. In addition, the school’s EDI committee will start work next week developing and assessing the anti-racism trainings we will roll out in fall quarter. These actions are some of the first critical steps to rooting out racism at individual and structural levels in our school.
I am happy to talk with students, staff or faculty in the school who have concerns, want to make suggestions, or simply want to be heard in a safe setting. We will be extending the listening sessions that were held the week before last. If you would like to set up a time to talk with me this week, please text me at (206) 794-4892. If you would like to set up a time to meet with me the week of June 30th or after, please contact JeShawna Schmidt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will make mistakes along this journey to become anti-racist. When we stumble, we will pick ourselves up, push through the discomfort and continue the journey, because this is the right thing to do. Thank you for your patience with me as I find my way. I appreciate your commitment and engagement to make this school a better place.
Dean, University of Washington School of Public Health
Office Phone: 206-685-7430
Mobile Phone: 206-794-4892
University of Washington
1959 NE Pacific Street, Room F-360
Box 357230, Seattle WA 98195-7230
To schedule an appointment, please contact:
JeShawna Schmidt, Executive Assistant to the Dean