Community Call to Action
President’s Update – Community Call to Action – June 3, 2020
Dear Members of the University Community,
Since my communication earlier this week (shown below), I have received feedback from many of you, asking for more clarity concerning my statement and a call to action.
To begin, I want you all to know that I appreciate and share your concerns and passion, and I applaud your activism. Many of you have raised important issues and provided meaningful suggestions, and I promise to consider them carefully and thoroughly.
As I noted in my earlier communication, an inclusive, tolerant and diverse university community, and one where racism and bigotry are absent, is not just our goal, but also an imperative. I can assure you all that we unequivocally denounce all forms of violence and racism and that we stand firmly united with our Black students, faculty, staff and alumni. Furthermore, as I also noted earlier, FDU has to be part of the solution for a better tomorrow—for our nation and beyond. We must and can do better, and we will.
In order to move toward our goal, we must better understand the experiences of Black students, and other students of color, within our community and beyond. So our first priority is to engage with Black students, with appropriate student organizations, with appropriate alumni, and with faculty and staff to listen carefully and gather a clear understanding of all issues present. I will personally lead this effort, but I want it to be a thoughtful process that provides opportunities for many people to give us input and help us make improvements—the right improvements.
We will immediately reach out to begin these conversations. In fact, I have already reached out to the President of our Alumni Association Board of Governors and Trustee, Debra Jones. And we will reach out to other Black leaders on and off campus in the coming weeks as well. In addition, we will schedule an open forum as soon as we can, and we also will contact directly many of those who have written to us. And, based on what we learn, we will work together to create an action plan that will foster positive changes and enhance our sense of community for all.
Moreover, we will also determine the ways in which we can better educate our students—all of our students, so that we set an example for other institutions to follow and so that what we do will have a profound impact beyond our campuses.
I do not have all the answers right now, but working together I firmly believe we can come up with the solutions to make progress in addressing the issues experienced by Black members of the FDU community.
Change starts with dialogue. I appreciate everyone’s feedback, and I share your concerns and passion for bringing about change. I will do everything I can to help us get better as a university and play our part in making our country and our world a better place.
Let’s begin by initiating a dialogue and working together to make FDU a better university!
Yours in FDU,
Christopher A. Capuano, Ph.D.
Fairleigh Dickinson University
President’s Statement on Death of George Floyd
June 1, 2020
We are deeply troubled and saddened by the death of George Floyd and other recent acts that have tragically brought to light once again the scourges of racism and violence that plague our country.
We stand with all Americans calling for justice and equality. It is time for our society to address the longstanding injustices that afflict our nation.
Our diversity is our greatest strength, both as a university and as a nation. We must continually strive to ensure that all people, no matter their race, creed, color, or sexual identity are treated equally, and with understanding and respect. As a University community, FDU is committed to teaching and living those values and advancing the cause of social justice both on our campuses and the world beyond.
Now more than ever, the stress and anxiety of today’s challenges can seem overwhelming. FDU offers a safe place for our community members, and we urge you to reach out to your support network at the University if you are feeling overwhelmed. Talk to your fellow students, reach out to faculty and staff members and, if necessary, please do not hesitate to reach out to our counseling services at the Metropolitan Campus (S-CAPS) or at the Florham Campus (CAPS).
We are here for you and together we will continue to endure and be part of the solution for a better tomorrow.