Friday, June 5, 2020

Starting last week, University of Iowa students, faculty, and staff have used their voices to highlight the lack of racial equity and justice in our community.

We hear you, we support you, and we stand with you.

On Wednesday night, protestors wanted to access Interstate 80 to continue their protest. At that point, the Iowa State Patrol made the decision to deploy flash bangs and tear gas to disperse the crowd. This action is unacceptable and prompted calls from members of our campus community to cut ties with the Iowa City Police Department as well as other area law enforcement agencies.

Nearly 75% of our students live off campus, with most calling Iowa City home. More than half our faculty and staff also live in Iowa City. We will be at the table with local law enforcement to create accountability structures that ensure the safety of our community. As you have told us, we can do better. We must do better. We must be the drivers of change.

Therefore, the university is standing side-by-side with Iowa City Mayor Teague, Iowa City Mayor Pro Tem Salih and the Iowa City Council in order to actively and expeditiously work toward law enforcement reform. The university also has released a joint statement with the City of Iowa City.

The steps that we will take include:

  • Actively participating in the Iowa City Community Police Review Board review of the Iowa City Police Department
  • Creating a focused partnership with shared governance leadership, which includes  representatives from the Undergraduate Student Government and Graduate and Professional Student Government, to initiate reform
  • Conducting an audit of the UI Department of Public Safety (UIDPS), including a climate assessment of interactions with communities of color
  • Establishing specific training and operational requirements for the UIDPS within the campus Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan
  • Committing to President Barack Obama’s Police Use of Force Project
  • Maintaining the UIDPS as the primary public safety responders for campus
  • Prioritizing skills and a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice for all employees within the UIDPS

We have a long way to go, but the journey has begun and we need your energy, passion, and voices.

Bruce Harreld, president
Montse Fuentes, executive vice president and provost
Sarah Hansen, vice president for student life
Angie Reams, associate vice president and dean of students
Maria Bruno, executive director for belonging and inclusion and assistant to the vice president for student life
Bria Marcelo, director for diversity resources and strategic initiatives
Nadine Petty, executive director of the Center for Diversity and Enrichment
Jennifer Modestou, director of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity