Our Pursuit of Racial Justice

UM Image Julio Frenk with students

A Message From the President

Like many values-driven organizations around the world, over the past month we have been taking a hard look at how we can help heal the pain we see manifest in our communities. The University is simultaneously responding to three crises that converge at this moment in history: the COVID-19 pandemic, its economic consequences, and the persistence of systemic racial injustice.

The social outrage at institutionalized anti-Black racism has been fueled both by the disparities apparent in the impact of COVID-19 and its economic ramifications, and by reprehensible acts of abuse of power on the part of law enforcement agents, such as the killing of George Floyd. We have the opportunity—and the responsibility—to channel that indignation into urgent and useful action, rather than divisive or destructive behavior.

Our 2020 Annual Meeting of the Board of Trustees took place on Juneteenth, and it was not lost on any of us that this year’s celebration occurred against a backdrop of widespread mobilization to confront the systemic forces that sustain racial injustice. In my time at the U, we have made progress on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion, but as I told the Board, I am not satisfied.

Universities have a crucial role to play in modeling racial justice. I have also heard loud and clear the desire to ensure that we do not turn our attention to issues of race only when there is a crisis. We can and should allow crises to accelerate progress on how we live out our values, but the work must go on even when distressing episodes do not dominate the headlines.

Following meetings with our trustees, academic leaders, students, faculty, and staff—as well as recommendations shared with me in writing—we announced additional steps the University of Miami will take in our pursuit of racial justice on campus and beyond.

These actions are not an end product; they are a starting point. I will continue to seek input from trustees, faculty members, staff, students, and alumni on ideas that put our values into practice.

We are committed to making the University of Miami an exemplary institution. We will be tireless. We will be passionate. We will serve as a beacon for others. And we will help our community begin to heal, together.

President Julio Frenk
July 1, 2020

We are committed to making the University of Miami an exemplary institution. We will be tireless. We will be passionate. We will serve as a beacon for others. And we will help our community begin to heal, together.


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