March 1, 2022

Reaffirmation of Black Thriving Initiative

Today marks the close of Black History Month, a time when we honor the triumphs and struggles of Black people throughout U.S. history. It is also a time when we recognize the progress that has been made and take stock of the struggles still to come.

The FBI reported last week that 57 historically Black colleges and universities, places of worship, and other faith-based and academic institutions received bomb threats in recent weeks.

Thankfully, no bombs have exploded or been found. Still, the anger, fear and anxiety that follow are not without consequences. Indeed, the timing of these acts during Black History month was clearly designed to intimidate. These threats underscore the ongoing prevalence of anti-Black racism, but they simultaneously underscore the importance of celebrating Black achievement while bearing witness to the real challenges of fulfilling the American Dream.

There are those who seek to terrorize, intimidate, or silence any institution of higher education that is committed to confronting and addressing the fundamental reality of anti-Blackness and the pervasive and systemic injustices and brutalities resulting from it. But at a time when faculty, students, and staff elsewhere are experiencing terrorist threats merely because they are pursuing an education, let us stand with those who persist in the face of such threats. And let us use the example of their persistence to dedicate renewed energy to our own commitment to build and sustain a university culture where Black people thrive and where all of us work toward a vision of inclusive excellence.

Fiat Lux,

Chancellor Howard Gillman