Dear Members of the UCCS Community,
I shared with you the importance of building a culture of equity, diversity and inclusion in November when I wrote to you about appointing Stephany Rose Spaulding as interim Associate Vice Chancellor of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. Along with the challenges of dealing with the pandemic, our EDI work remains among our priorities. We have made progress, but there is still much to be done.
A recent event highlights the need for us to continue our sharp focus on EDI. In the wake of the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, Dr. Rose Spaulding posted a video on social media in which she shared her anguished reaction to the riot. She was exercising her First Amendment rights as a private citizen and not speaking as a member of the UCCS community, even though media reports note her campus affiliation. She told me her comments were driven in part by her deep frustration regarding long-standing issues related to equity and justice.
Broad-brush comments directed at one ethnic group can be offensive and do not reflect our values or advance our goal to focus on what unites us. Comments made in the heat of a fraught moment should not and do not define Dr. Rose Spaulding or her work. She is a valued member of our community who has provided strong leadership. In addition to her important work in her interim AVC role, she is the director and a faculty member in the Women’s and Ethnic Studies Department whose teaching, research and service have led to important experiences for our students and contributions to her field.
The UCCS community will continue its critical work of fostering a campus, community and society where equity, diversity and inclusion are valued by all. We will do so while being mindful that words and actions are the vehicles that will advance us on our journey, and that we must hold ourselves to a high standard. Thank you for all you do to that end.
Venkat Reddy, Chancellor