The death of George Floyd and current protest in response to it emphasize the long-known reality that Black lives often endure unjust treatment daily. Discrimination and racism are embedded in the systems within our society, but at UCF we’re constantly working to be better at upholding our responsibility to listen to our community and enforce measures that prevent these injustices from happening at our university.
To our Black students, faculty and staff, we stand with you in demanding the equal treatment and value of your existence. To help you connect with campus services that are intended to support you, we’ve compiled a list of dedicated resources and organizations that can be accessed year-round. To our Knights of all races and ethnicities, there are also tools here to help educate you on how to uphold UCF’s mission for a diverse and inclusive environment that makes everyone feel safe and welcomed. Together, we will continue to work to be better source of support to our Black community.
Departments, Organizations and Services
Just Knights Response Team: The purpose of the JKRT is to act as a clearinghouse for any bias-related incidents that may occur on UCF campuses. In this role, the JKRT will receive, monitor, refer, and, as necessary, coordinate university resources to these incidents that impact the university community.
CAPS: If you’re experiencing anxiety, stress, trauma or uncertainty due to the circumstances and coverage surrounding George Floyd’s death, as well as Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and other Black lives that have been lost to senseless violence, you can speak to a counselor at UCF’s Counseling and Psychological Services by calling 407-823-2811 to schedule a phone consultation or set up a virtual appointment.
While it is important to stay informed about what is happening with racism, police brutality, protests, and riots across the country at this time, we also urge you to take breaks from the news and social media. Spend time connecting with loved ones, hobbies and other relaxing methods to maintain your mental and emotional health.
Office of Institutional Equity: OIE ensures equal opportunity and protects the civil rights of all UCF community members through proactive outreach, education, and effective response and resolution. The department is responsible for monitoring UCF’s compliance with equal opportunities and civil rights laws, investigating and resolving complaints related to discrimination and harassment, facilitating fair hiring practices, and providing information and training related to equal rights, among other measures.
Ombuds Office: UCF’s Ombuds Office is a safe space for students, faculty and staff to discuss concerns or issues in confidence while receiving independent and impartial guidance. To maintain confidentially, the best way to reach the office at this time is by calling 407- 823-6440 or 407- 823-6441. You can also email your phone number to [email protected] or [email protected] to get assistance.
Office of Diversity and Inclusion: ODI intends to promote and maintain an inclusive learning and working environment where students, staff and faculty of all backgrounds are equally supported to achieve success. The office supports education and meaningful dialogues needed to advance the culture of equity and inclusion at UCF. In February, the department distributed a campus-wide survey to gauge the climate and culture at UCF, and the results will be used to inform necessary changes at the university.
- Workshops: ODI hosts diversity and inclusion training workshops throughout the year to promote a better learning and working environment. Students, faculty and staff can engage in individual sessions or complete multiple workshops to earn certificates in various topics, such as The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow. Workshops offered over the years have included the ABCs of Diversity, Micro-Messages and Microaggressions: Impacts on Inclusion, Race the Power of an Illusion, and Understanding Power and Privilege. While in-person workshops are not being held at this time due to COVID-19, this resource will be available to the campus community again at a later time when it is safe to do so. Over the past six years, 34,546 participants have engaged in workshops through ODI, including 7,996 in the last academic year. There are also 326 Inclusion Champions at UCF, who are students, faculty and staff that have completed nine hours of core training and six hours of elective training.
- Online workshops: There are currently three online workshops available for students, staff and faculty that educate users about 21 core cultural competency learning objectives, including education around issues such as racism, discrimination, power and privilege, and marginalization, among others. These workshops include the following: The Cognitive Domain, which involves the knowledge and intellectual development related to being culturally competent. The Affective Domain, which involves the feelings, emotions and attitudes related to being culturally competent. The Skills-building Domain, which focuses on actions, such as attentive listening, advocacy and conflict resolution, that promote cultural competency.
- LEGACY Leadership and Mentoring Program: This program supports the retention and success of first-year Black students at UCF, as well as other ethnic minority students who are sophomores, junior or seniors. LEGACY Scholars are assigned a mentor from UCF’s Black Faculty and Staff Association (BFSA) to acquire knowledge and skills to be effective students. On July 28, ODI hosted a Legacy Summer Symposium, a virtual leadership and mentorship development bootcamp for the first-generation, under-represented and minority college students and the entire campus community.
Black Faculty and Staff Association: The mission of BFSA is to promote an environment that fosters cultural awareness and enrichment through advocacy, mentoring, professional networking and quality programming. Members work closely with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to support students through the LEGACY Leadership and Mentoring Program.
Student Care Services: SCS offers guidance, resource, and referrals to UCF students who are experiencing a distressing situation which significantly impacts academic or personal success. The department’s goal is to goal is to intervene before a student reaches crisis level and ensure the safety of both the student and the UCF community. The SCS team coordinates referrals to campus and community resources, develops action plans for student success, oversees the Student of Concern process, and provides education and outreach to university and community members.
Multicultural Academic Support and Services: MASS’ mission is to maximize student success by assisting multicultural and first-generation college students at UCF by connecting them with the campus community and partners to promote and facilitate academic support services and programs. It is comprised of many services and programs, including the First-Generation Program, the Brother to Brother Program, the Multicultural Transfer Program and the Knight Alliance Network.
Social Justice and Advocacy: SJA focuses on ensuring UCF maintains an equitable campus environment where all forms of diversity are valued. The department supports efforts for equal access to campus resources, conversations about the campus climate, reducing barriers related to prejudice, and advocacy for social justice and inclusion. LGBTQ Services and the Multicultural Student Center are organized through the department.
Multicultural Student Center: As a part of UCF’s Social Justice and Advocacy Department, MSC’s mission is to create a more inclusive and equitable campus environment that enriches the university experience through actively supporting diverse and intentional programming. The MSC strives to promote awareness, strengthen cultural competency and social responsibility by encouraging the educational exploration and challenge of societal norms that enables students to explore the varied concepts of multiculturalism.
MSC supports several culturally based registered student organizations, which include some of the following.
26 Books, Videos and Plays That Can Help Educate on Race and Racism: Here are 26 of the 100 physical books, ebooks, and streaming videos selected by UCF faculty and librarians that provide information about current events, historical context for the events, and resources on having conversations about race and discrimination. To check out the full list, click here.
Black Lives Virtual Teach-in: Racism and the Struggle for Justice in the American Democracy: Watch this recording featuring faculty experts from various fields to learn more about critical issues related to racism in American history, including local and national history, racial disadvantages perpetuated by public policy, health disparities for Black women and other topics. UCF history alum Brandon Nightingale ’16 ’19MA, assistant archivist at Bethune-Cookman University, also contributed to the discussion and served as the moderator.
Classes to Take at UCF for Learning More about Social Justice: A sampling of courses available in Fall 2020 that covers racism, equality, police reform and other topics related to social justice and change.
How to be a Better Ally Against Racism: “Everybody doesn’t have to be on the front lines, but everybody has to get off the sidelines,” says human rights activist and UCF faculty member Richard Lapchick, who provides suggestions for being a better ally in this piece.
Inclusive Excellence: The Inclusive Excellence site launched in July through Faculty Excellence to provide tangible resources to help create a better campus environment for for individuals of all backgrounds. This includes inclusive language practices, a list of departments and faculty groups that support diversity and inclusion and inclusive teaching practices. It also includes practices to improve UCF’s ability to recruit, hire, and retain the best and most diverse faculty.
Juneteenth: June 19 is a day of celebration in Black communities as it marks the belated announcement in Texas of the Emancipation Proclamation. Here Theodorea Regina Berry, vice provost of Student Learning and Academic Success and dean of the College of Undergraduate Studies, provides some insight on the holiday. Associate Professor of History Scot French provides local historical context about Black communities and the Great Migration that followed the Emancipation Proclamation and Juneteenth.
Registered Student Organizations
With over 600 organizations at UCF, here are some that are dedicated to celebrating and empowering Black students.
African Student Organization: ASO is committed to raising African awareness at UCF as well as in the Orlando community. The organization also strive to support any African students at UCF and educate the student body and faculty members about African history and culture.
Afro Artistry: The mission of Afro Artistry is to provide a space where Black students interested in the arts can celebrate and share Black artistry, as well as embrace artists of different cultures.
Black Graduate Student Council: The Council’s mission is to create a greater presence of Black graduate students on campus, in the professional sector, and in the Central Florida communities in which they proudly serve now and in the future.
Black Man’s Candor: To sustain an open, safe, and protected space for Black men and the wider community to assess mental health, develop trust and relationships, eliminate stigmas, and provide resources to those in need of mental health assistance.
Black Student Union: For 50 years, BSU has served as voice for the Black community with a focus on programming that addresses the educational, political and cultural dilemmas students face, while promoting a positive image of Black culture. The organization also works to facilitate conversations and collaborations between Black students and UCF’s administration, faculty, staff, alums, and other student organizations to create a diverse learning environment.
Black Female Development Circle: As a support system for Black women, the group is devoted to empowering each other through their college experience, leadership opportunities, events and socials. The guiding principles of the organization are self-actualization and improvement, belief in a higher power, and self-respect.
Caribbean Student Association: CSA was founded to foster a cultural bridge between the Caribbean and the United States, while providing ways for students to celebrate their heritage and stay connected to the traditions of their ancestors.
Club Kreyol: The mission of Club Kreyol is to be missionaries of the Creole culture by bringing awareness, drawing interest, and illustrating its diversity to UCF and the surrounding community.
Faithful Black Men of the UCF: Establishing a form of trust, love, and understanding in the UCF community by holding a wide range of educational forums, upholding strong roots within our community, and partnering with UCF offices to maintain a sense of belonging for our members.
Jamaican Student Association: JSA’s mission is to foster, encourage, celebrate, and educate individuals on the rich and dynamic Jamaican culture. One of the organization’s goals is to enrich the education of Jamaican youths and each year they hold a school supplies drive.
John T. Washington Honor Society: To uphold the legacy of the late John T. Washington, the Society seeks to question, evaluate, and raise the standard of education for the African American student, while upholding the principles of scholarship, leadership, and service. Washington was one of the first African American faculty members at UCF and was an influential figure who championed diversity and inclusion on campus, while also serving as an advisor to many Black students.
Knights Inspiring Consciousness: KIC, a Black-led, Black-centered social justice organization based at the University of Central Florida, utilizes education, community organizing, and coalition-building to dismantle systemic injustice and work toward our vision of liberation for all.
NAACP at UCF: The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People intends to stimulate an appreciation for the African Diaspora, as well as other racial and ethnic minorities, while promoting proactive political and community activism. The group also provides young people with personal and leadership development training with the goal of advancing the economic, social and political status of Black people and people of color.
National Association of Black Accountants: As an organization, NABA serves business students who have a desire for growth and long-lasting relationships. It also helps students land internships through the valuable connections with employers they will develop during functions.
National Association of Black Journalists: This organization assists students that are looking forward to careers in the media industry after graduation.
National Black Law Student Association: UCF NBLSA is dedicated to fostering academic and professional competence, and bringing about meaningful legal and political changes in Black communities, while welcoming students of all backgrounds.
National Pan-Hellenic Council, Inc.: NPHC is a coalition of the nine largest historically African American Greek-letter fraternities and sororities, which are Alpha Phi Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, Omega Psi Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Phi Beta Sigma, Zeta Phi Beta, Sigma Gamma Rho, Alpha Kappa Alpha (inactive) and Iota Phi Theta (inactive). The organization boasts a diverse membership of over 1.5 million members internationally, comprised of students, celebrities, corporate, political and community leaders.
National Society of Black Engineers: NSBE UCF is focused on increasing the number of culturally responsible Black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community.
Naturally Textured: We specialize in natural hair care and the many attributes of natural hair care. The mission of Naturally Textured is to educate students on how to gain and maintain healthy hair through better lifestyle choices.
Neg Kreyol, Inc.: Neg Kreyol’s purpose is to instill unity within men of Haitian descent. This is to help promote more Haitian men as leaders and role models to the younger generation and peers within UCF and the community.
Progressive Black Men Incorporated: PBM’s purpose is to reconstruct and redefine the image of the Black male through volunteer work, humanitarian aid and professional development.
SISTUHS Incorporated: This group fosters the personal growth and development of Black women through its core principles of strength, initiative, spirituality, tenacity, unity, health and substance. SISTUHS members engage in community service, education, political activism and the association of people. The group is also the sister organization to PBM.
The National Council of Negro Women: The Council is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that has been active at UCF since 2005 with a mission to lead, develop and advocate for women of color.
We are here to listen to you and learn. If you have questions, comments or suggestions related to how UCF can support Black communities on campus and locally, please send an email to [email protected].