As the official University body to represent the interests and concerns of the UB Professional Staff, the Professional Staff Senate (PSS) stands firm with #BlackLivesMatter, denouncing racism, bigotry, and prejudice in all of its many ugly forms. Recent events have painted in bold relief the undeniable fact that systemic racism exists and thrives in our country. As university staff, it is incumbent upon each and every one of us to forcefully and unequivocally take a stand against this and any other injustice.
We are heartbroken by the events of the past few weeks. They serve as a sharp reminder that racial injustice remains a deeply rooted issue in our world. The senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others, must be addressed in the form of real societal change. Furthermore, as a collective organization of UB staff, we acknowledge the extreme pain that individuals and communities (within and outside of UB) are experiencing due to COVID-19 disproportionately impacting communities of color. We need to stamp out hatred and begin to heal the deep divisions in our country. We start with a call to action at UB.
Even as we write this, time is moving forward. The remembrance of Juneteenth, the celebration of Pride Month, the honoring of 30 years of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and our eventual return to campus are among the experiences soon to be upon us. Recently, we were all challenged to be #UBuffaloStrong together. As members of the University at Buffalo Professional Staff, we strive to be #UBuffaloStrong by taking actions to break down systemic oppression all around us. Specifically, we ask that each UB professional staff member take at least one active step to accomplish this goal, by participating in the University’s newly announced “Let’s Talk about Race” series, reading a book to develop your knowledge about how bias affects us all, or any other action that fits your personal situation.
PSS will begin by supporting new initiatives from the PSS Inclusion and Diversity committee to:
We continue with a renewed reassurance and commitment, pervasive through the outreach of the PSS, to fight against racial injustice and its many harms, in the hope of empowering UB staff to live healthier lives in a healthier environment.
To the entire UB community and particularly to our Black and African-American colleagues: we see you, we hear you, and above all, we are here to support you. We are all in this together #UBuffaloStrong.
Throughout the year, our Committee hosts numerous social and educational programs that explore issues of diversity, inclusion and community and are open to all UB staff and faculty members. Such events strive to enhance participant’s professional development, as well as positively impact the community at-large. While programming is based on the desire to foster an awareness and sensitivity of our diversity, it also provides opportunities for participants to develop tangible skills that will benefit their jobs. We also believe that programming should actively encourage community members to forge new connections with one another and reinforce existing relationships with colleagues, for it is these meaningful interactions that enable people to transcend stereotypes and build a vibrant learning community in which all perspectives are valued.
Our on-going Education & Advocacy Series has explored, among other topics, transgender identities, the challenges faced by veterans transitioning to campus life, how Accessibility Resources enhances students’ learning opportunities, issues of diversity within the state correctional system, and Title IX. These programs often include experts from both on and off-campus and encourage active participation from audience members. Other programs include the summertime Dessert Social and annual end-of-year potluck luncheon.
Our committee always welcomes new members and we meet on the second Friday of each month. For more information or to join our committee please contact Heather Hagenbuch (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Seek to build a culturally diverse and pluralistic University Community committed to cultivating, celebrating, respecting and educating the university community about our differences.
Chair: Heather Hagenbuch
Current Members: Chris Bragdon, Kim Behun, Jessica Coram, Jessica DiPasquale, Rachel DiDomizio, Mary Clare Fahey, Lauren Galgovich, Heather Hagenbuch (Committee Chair), Eileen Hassett, Caitlin Hoekstra, Vivian Jimenez, Danielle Johnson, Cindy Konovitz, Susan Mann Dolce, Neil McGillicuddy, Sherene Milizia, Derek Nichols, Jesse O'Reilly, Caitlin Rioux, Suzy Shallowhorn, Meg Syrell, Kate Syzmaszek, Tony Waleszczak