Monday, June 1, 2020

Dear Colleagues, Students, and Alumni of the Tippie College,
There is no way to put into words a response to the killing of George Floyd and the aftermath of what has followed. Yet, remaining silent is not an option. For members of our Black community – students, staff, alumni – the pain and fear of institutional as well as interpersonal racism are real.

We acknowledge that no one fully understands this experience unless they are living it. For other members of our community, we acknowledge the sadness, anxiety, anger, and sense of helplessness that comes with feeling like nothing has changed.
We in the Tippie College disavow racism, cruelty, and violence in any form. We seek to be a place where people come and feel valued, as a member of a community that seeks to lift each other up, rather than tear each other down. We specifically want members of our Black community to know that we value you and want things to be different moving forward.

We reaffirm our commitment to you, and to the broader goals of diversity, equity and inclusion through our people, our practices, and our programs.

•    We affirm our continued commitment to student organizations and programs such as Black in Business, the Multicultural Student Business Association, Reaching Out in Business, BizEdge, and Gateway. We are not forgetting our priorities or commitments. We are not taking a break from individualized student support. We are not forgetting that our experiences in this pandemic are not the same as the experiences of many of our students who are experiencing personal and financial hardship. We are not letting go – we are holding on, tighter, and with even more deliberate thoughtfulness than before.

•    We commit, even during the difficult times of COVID-19, to move forward with our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) plans that were developed in 2019. These plans are far-reaching and touch every aspect of curriculum, student and employee recruitment, and the experience of all of those affiliated with our college. To do this, we are going to immediately pursue promoting a current staff member into a position of Associate Director of DEI in the Tippie College. This person will begin to advance our DEI action plan through specific steps outlined in our DEI action plan, attending to both the undergraduate and graduate programs.  

•    We will generate additional resources for our DEI programming. In the last two weeks, in a response to COVID-19 related challenges, we began a quiet campaign for scholarship dollars to assist our most at-risk students. These resources will support first generation students, those from underrepresented minority groups, as well as women, and members of our LGBTQ community. Through the amazing generosity of Tippie Advisory Board Members, and other prominent supporters of our BizEdge and Gateway programs, we have already raised close to $100,000 that will go to directly to student scholarships during the 2020 academic year.

What else can we do as members of the Tippie community? First, we can all be good to ourselves and grant ourselves grace to feel what we are feeling. Second, we can all act in ways that make our community more inclusive, continuing to educate ourselves about racism, poverty and social movements.

As students, you can become a participant or an ally of our diversity-focused student organizations. As faculty members, we can teach these topics in our classes – using protagonists and cases that represent diversity in business. As alumni you can donate to our scholarship fund or to specific programming for BizEdge or Gateway. As staff members you can become involved with our DEI committee. We can attend our collegiate-sponsored cultural events such as the annual Black in Business Dinner or the Tippie Women Summit. Through participation, involvement, and training, we can work toward a better future for all.
We can change the world. It's what we do every day for our students, our community partners, and ourselves. Thank you for all you do every day to be a reflection of the Tippie community we strive to be – Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive.

Amy Kristof-Brown
Interim Dean and
Henry B. Tippie Research Professor in
Management and Entrepreneurship