Life and death matters are transpiring in the United States today, on top of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The recent deaths of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, captured on video, and the account of Breonna Taylor, whose life was taken in her own home, have all occurred in rapid succession.
Like many Americans, we feel angry, hopeless, saddened and tired. The apparent lack of regard for the humanity of some – because of the color of their skin – is wrong, and regardless of our respective backgrounds, these traumatic events impact the entire UC Davis community and beyond.
At UC Davis, the physical, mental and emotional health of our employees, students and patients must always be a priority. We write today to ask that each manager and supervisor recognize that what is unfolding around the world is very personal and impactful for many of your staff, as well as the students and patients that they are serving.
For some, compartmentalizing what they see and experience is not possible. Staff are coming to work with the weight of these matters on their mind and may not be okay. We are counting on each of you to interact with your employees with empathy and care. You must also take care of yourselves.
Please take the following actions:
- Model and encourage kindness in the workplace, whether it is virtual or in-person.
- If team members don’t want to share personal information, or their feelings, respect their privacy.
- Be respectful of team members who don’t want to be visible on Zoom meetings.
- Be patient, recognizing that this is a tough time for many.
- Encourage team members to use mental health resources as needed.
- Develop a team approach, an environment where team members can temporarily share tasks.
- Many staff engage with students and patients who are processing these injustices. Remind staff to be understanding and empathetic when interacting with everyone we serve.
Please share this information broadly:
As you continue to lead your staff through these challenges, please share the following information about opportunities for staff and academics to express themselves and get support.
- Resources for Racial Trauma, and for thinking and acting, are posted on the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion site.
- The Academic and Staff Assistance Program (ASAP) is offering drop-in support:
We encourage all to read Chancellor May’s recent statement regarding the death of George Floyd as it captures the feelings of many of our staff. Chancellor May says, “The events of this week also cause me to believe even more strongly, if that’s possible, in building an inclusive environment that recognizes and respects people of all backgrounds and experiences. I remain committed to that and hope you will do what you can to eliminate racism, sexism, and other negative influences on our progression as a nation.”
We hope you all support and back this commitment as we live out our University’s Principles of Community.
- Christine Lovely
Associate Vice Chancellor, Chief Human Resources Officer
Renetta Garrison Tull, Ph.D.
Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion