Social Ecology deans host discussion
In their second webinar discussing the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement, the deans of the School of Social Ecology — Dean Nancy Guerra and Associate Deans Richard Matthew and Susan Bibler Coutin, student leaders and UCI Counseling Center psychologists — Milo L. Dodson and Jas Tilghman — talked about race and equity on campus and how to improve relations. They discussed how to be more supportive of Black students and faculty and agreed to continue the conversation. Watch the webinar below:
The deans strongly expressed the school's commitment to continue a public dialogue about anti-blackness, racism, inequality and injustice and to encourage active participation by students.
In a message sent to the campus and community earlier this month, they wrote in part:
Some people believe our major systems offer a positive framework (e.g. capitalism, liberal democracy) and that many of our smaller systems also are well designed (e.g. courts, policing), but they acknowledge flaws exist and reforms are needed. Others believe that these major systems are no longer meeting real social needs and aspirations and so we need to think about bigger forms of transformation--e.g. toward sustainable development or democratic socialism. This attitude leads to a very different set of discussions, priorities, and agendas. The central point is that a university needs to be committed to encouraging critical thinking and lively discussion about uncomfortable and complex topics.
We are partnering with the School of Humanities and other schools on campus to sponsor The 1619 Project through virtual experiences this October. This will involve a series of discussions and podcasts that explore the significance and contemporary relevance of slavery and social injustice in forming political institutions, the economy, health care, housing patterns and cultural expression in the U.S. We also plan to solicit students’ suggestions regarding a speakers’ series that could culminate in a big event in the spring.
Finally, we believe that the work of building and sustaining an inclusive and racially equitable culture is everyone’s responsibility. We hope as a school we can engage in a series of actions that will move us all further along on this path. Let us know your thoughts.