As we start our Monday after such an emotionally charged weekend, I wanted to acknowledge the range of emotions that spans our community from this last week’s events – sadness, confusion, hurt, and anger. I want to ensure we are taking care of each other during this time and thought it was timely to remind you of an important resource for your wellbeing. The Ohio State University has a robust Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that is here to support all employees with a host of resources. The EAP is available 24 hours a day, call 1-800-678-6265 to talk to a live person, or click here and type in username "buckeyes" to view expanded services.
The unjust death of George Floyd is yet another example of where we must do better. I recognize that there is a broad continuum of reactions and many of those will be represented across the breadth of our college community. President Drake sent a message this weekend calling on renewed efforts to address racial injustice. He states, “we must seriously and concretely redouble our efforts to end abuse, discrimination, bigotry, and hatred.”
I look forward to Dr. Patrice Dickerson’s leadership as our Assistant Dean and Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in helping us move forward as a community, together, to elevate our current standards and practices to be more equitable and inclusive. I am grateful we were able to finalize our search and garner her commitment to serve in this role. Associate Dean Kitchel has been very clear that our Assistant Dean and the DEI team cannot do this work alone. It will require our collective efforts. However, I am encouraged that we were both able to recruit Dr. Dickerson to our community and even more encouraged that we took the time to have meaningful conversations and affirm that diversity is a top value of our college.
Dr. James Moore, Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion in a message sent late last week stated:
“I believe in the power of education. We have an immense opportunity to transform the lives of our students and colleagues as we put our stamp on the next generation of leaders. The next generation will take on these issues that have bedeviled us and build on the work that previous generations have done.”
While recent events are discouraging, I share Dr. Moore’s conviction that each of us can add to the needed change and must continue to find the resolve to do so. Our college has not only affirmed our value for diversity, we are unified in our mission to sustain life. Accepting that mission, we must also recognize there is much more to it than growing food or ensuring the safety of our food or water—we are continually challenged to consider the community we wish to build together.
Dr. Cathann Kress, Vice President for Agricultural Administration & Dean, College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences