Published June 22, 2020
President Satish K. Tripathi has established the President’s Advisory Council on Race to address issues of race and culture at UB, and guide and shape the university’s programs, policies, activities and traditions.
The work of the council, comprised of faculty, staff, students and alumni, will inform how UB can harness its tripartite mission of education, research and engagement to battle racism and dismantle structural barriers to equality.
“We know, as a university community, that we can effect change through the education of our students, our research, our creative work and our clinical care,” Tripathi said in an email to the UB community announcing the formation of the advisory council. “More than ever before, UB should serve as a bastion of hope and a community of action compelled by the greater good.
“As a scholarly community, it is imperative that we explore, understand and respond to racism and systemic inequality,” he said.
Tripathi will sit on the council, as well as Despina Stratigakos, vice provost for inclusive excellence.
Other council members are:
Tripathi also noted in the email that Provost A. Scott Weber will lead efforts on several other initiatives, including:
“This is a university-wide call to action,” Tripathi said in the email, adding that the work of colleagues in the College of Arts and Sciences and the 11 professional schools, as well as Undergraduate and Graduate Education, Student Life, Athletics, University Police, Human Resources, Information Technology, Research and Economic Development, and others, will complement the efforts of the advisory council “and bring tangible measures to the fore to help realize the ideals of social justice.”
Tripathi said the efforts he has outlined “are not intended to be definitive or exhaustive approaches to the deeply embedded problems of racism and systemic inequality. Rather, they are how and where we begin the work of enacting change.”
In the meantime, individual units at UB have been responding in a variety of ways. Every school and college, as well as units such as the Department of Transnational Studies, the LGBTQ Faculty and Staff Association, the Community Health Equity Research Institute and the Academic Health Center, have developed statements supporting the protests and expressing a commitment to speak out against racism, address social injustices and foster a culture of inclusion, diversity, equity and awareness.
Some units have held town hall meetings for their own faculty, staff and students. Others, like the School of Law, have held events that are open to the entire UB community. Still others, including students, medical residents, faculty and administrators of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB and the units in UB’s academic health center, took part in a “White Coats for Black Lives” protest.
More information about upcoming and past events can be found on the Office of Inclusive Excellence’s website.
“By no means do we believe we have all the answers — or that we have asked all the right questions,” Tripathi said. “However, we do believe that we must purposefully, thoughtfully and collectively move toward a just and equitable society for our black students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends and neighbors near and far.”