Dear URI Community,
Welcome to the inaugural newsletter for the Office of Community, Equity and Diversity (CED).
The goal of the newsletter is to keep the University community informed about the programs, initiatives, and educational opportunities offered by CED. CED includes the Bystander Intervention Program; Gender and Sexuality Center; Multicultural Student Services Center; Office of Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity and Diversity; and the Women’s Center. These units are designed to serve the URI community with an emphasis on fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment for historically marginalized individuals and communities. We hope when you read this newsletter, you will find opportunities to engage and enrich your understanding of issues regarding diversity and inclusion.
As a country, we are living in a time of grave uncertainty, a time when the human and civil rights that so many people sacrificed dearly to protect, are currently being attacked and eroded. For many, these times are shrouded with fear of an unpredictable future. At times like these, we must turn to URI’s core values, cherishing the important contributions of diverse community members. Members who contribute to the fabric of our learning environment, sharing diversity of thought, increasing problem-solving, productivity, and innovation.
Recent political rhetoric appears to be fostering a more divisive national climate, triggering increased incidents of hate cimes and bias incidents, steeped in racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, transphobia, homophobia and other forms of discrimination. This is a truly disturbing and distressing moment in U.S. history for many people who feeling unwelcomed and unsafe in a place where we once called home.
Our goal in CED is to work collectively with the members of the URI Community, to create a safe, inclusive and welcoming place, where students, faculty, and staff members feel free to learn, research, create, innovate, and serve as productive members of society.
Now is the time to come together in solidarity to denounce acts of violence, hate, prejudice, discrimination and harassment, and support one another to achieve the ideals of URI.
The centers and programs that comprise CED stand poised and ready to provide guidance, support, and safe spaces for anyone who may need assistance. If you feel that you have been the target of harassment and or discrimination based on race, color, religion, religious creed, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, veteran or disability status, please do not hesitate to contact our staff, so that we might help.
Together we are stronger.
Naomi R. Thompson,
Chief Diversity Officer/Associate Vice President