Events of the past few days have been difficult for many. From bomb threats at historically black colleges and universities in Florida and around the nation to local demonstrations of anti-Semitism, many in our community are affected by these distressing acts.
As Knights, we stand together to condemn hate, bigotry and acts of intimidation, in all of their forms. Injustices directed toward any group of people do not align with our institutional values and do not belong in our community. We remain steadfast in our commitment to embracing differences and ensuring UCF is a place where everyone can learn, grow and thrive. At UCF, we work to be a place of belonging for everyone, where our differences are one of our greatest strengths and inclusion is a core value.
I challenge each of us to continue caring for one another and to take an active role in shaping a genuinely inclusive and welcoming campus climate. To fully achieve our core goal of inclusion, we must embrace the open exchange of ideas that is central to academic freedom and freedom of expression. We must continue to strive to be active learners who are prepared to engage in reflective and independent thinking. This, at times, may include hearing perspectives that do not align with our personal values.
Below are some ways to learn and reflect on our differences:
- Familiarize yourself with the significance of heritage and awareness months. Learn about the contributions and struggles of Black/African Americans and how they shaped our nation by reading articles such as this NPR special series or joining in UCF’s Celebration of Black History Month.
- Study the history of the Holocaust and anti-Semitism by visiting the Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center of Florida.
- Read about the history of Lunar New Year and the many traditions associated with this cultural celebration.
- Create space for cultural competence by enrolling in a workshop or requesting a classroom presentation. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion offers several options.
- Commit to using inclusive language. Make a personal pledge to keep an open mind and open heart when listening to new or different perspectives.
UCF will always be a place that recognizes the importance and value of the open exchange of ideas. We also know that we have a responsibility to ensure our faculty, staff, students and community are safe, heard and supported.
If you or someone you know needs assistance, please contact:
- Counseling and Psychological Services, for all UCF students
- Hillel, Chabad, Yehudior Multicultural Academic Support Services, for UCF students
- UCF’s Employee Assistance Program, 877-240-6863 or go to com/members, for UCF employees
- The UCF Police Department at 407-823-5555 or 911, for anyone on-campus needing emergency assistance or feeling unsafe