‘Our Commitment to Do Better’ Email to Faculty and Staff

The UW-Green Bay Office of the Chancellor emailed the following from Chancellor Michael Alexander to the UW-Green Bay Faculty and Staff on Thursday, June 4, 2020.

Dear UW-Green Bay Faculty and Staff,

I have been personally struggling over the tragic loss of life of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery in recent weeks.  However, I realize that these are just the last three names that we know about among the countless number of people who have suffered from racist acts.  I want to be unequivocal that as a University we will not permit any acts of intolerance, bias, or racism.

The last sentence is not difficult to write.  What is difficult is wrestling with what role we will play as an institution, one that should be a force to create access to education providing for a more equitable, just, and inclusive society.  To be direct, like many institutions, I believe we are complicit in not doing all we can to support a better life for everyone in our region.  As an institution of higher learning in a state with one of the highest achievement gaps in the country, we have to look in the mirror and ask ourselves what can we be doing differently to address the equity and inclusion issues that our city, region, state, and nation are facing.  Frankly, I am tired of merely talking about how we believe in equity and inclusion.  I want our actions to reflect as an institution that we are willing to take the hard steps necessary to improve.

To that end, I pledge to take quick action on the recommendations in the strategic plan of the Chancellor’s Council on Diversity and Inclusive Excellence.  UW-System gives new Chancellors $150,000 to enact new initiatives on campus.  I will use all of this money to make sure the Council has the funds it needs to move quickly to realize its goals.  I will involve shared governance in discussions on how we can improve, but will not be daunted by those who ask us to stand still on issues of diversity and inclusion.  We will discuss how.  We will not discuss if.

As we return to campus in the fall, I will make sure that all of our student voices are being heard.  We must be open and honest about how our institutional policies and practices affect the education of our students and therefore our society.  UW-Green Bay has a noble mission of access to education.  We will not be passive in our attempt to improve on that mission.  Everyone must be on board and we all must consider and listen to what actions we can take to be better individually and collectively.

Our community needs us more than ever right now.  I urge you to join me in fighting as hard as we can to do our part.


Michael Alexander

See also, sent later the same day, ‘Our Commitment to Do Better’ Email to Students