This statement was originally published Feb. 23, 2021. Given the tragic events of this week in Atlanta — in which eight people, including six Asian women, were slain — we want to reaffirm our support for the Asian American community and promote resources available for UCF students, faculty and staff.

Lunar New Year is a celebration characterized by unity and prosperity that ushers individuals into a fresh start. I am dismayed to read about the increase in violent incidents against Asian Americans, which has marred this year’s celebration.

A recent research study found that more than 2,100 hate crimes against Asians and Asian Americans occurred across the country between March and June 2020 alone.

At UCF, we celebrate a culture of inclusive excellence. Diversity makes us smarter — and better. Our excellence is made stronger through our differences, and celebrating our uniqueness brings vibrancy and energy to our academics and campus experience.

Violence, racism and hate speech directed at Asians or Asian Americans — or any group — do not belong at our campuses or in our community. Unfortunately, these types of acts continue to be targeted at individuals because they have traditions and values that may differ from others. The UCF Creed guides the conduct, performance and decisions of all Knights and promotes an “open and supportive campus environment by respecting the rights and contributions of every individual.”

If you witness or experience incidents of discrimination or violence, report them to the university. To learn more about combating discrimination or violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, visit

President Cartwright, Interim Provost Johnson and senior leadership denounce violent and racist acts like these. We believe that the world is better and stronger when we are respectful of all.

I ask that you support each other with compassion as we uphold the UCF Creed and respect all Knights. If any of these incidents have impacted you, I encourage you to seek support, and UCF has resources that can help. For more information, visit UCF Cares, Student Care Services or UCF Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) if you are a student, and the Employee Assistance Program if you are an employee. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion and I are also here to support you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out.

I appreciate all of you, and we will work together to care for our fellow Knights, celebrate our diversity and build our culture of inclusion.


— S. Kent Butler
Interim Chief Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Officer