Posted on June 19, 2020
To our HRSM Family,
As a community, we are currently facing some of the most difficult times in our lives. The horrific murder of George Floyd at the hands of a former Minneapolis police officer has caused immense pain and trauma, and it has deepened wounds of racial injustice. Unfortunately, Mr. Floyd’s death is not the only example that can be pointed to this year of fatal racism. I know this pain and anger is felt across our Gamecock community and our country, and most sharply by our African American friends and colleagues.
This stress and anguish is heighted by the unusual and uncertain circumstances of the ongoing pandemic. During this trying time, please be kind to yourself and to your fellow Gamecocks and neighbors. We must take time to show grace, understanding and support to one another as we face unique challenges that impact our lives and wellbeing.
As I hope you have seen in recent messages from the university, UofSC is taking a stand and taking action to help fight racism and discrimination. As stated in President Caslen’s message from May 31, the university is increasing anti-discrimination and anti-harassment training and education resources, including a new course for all incoming freshman. The president’s office is also in the process of working to rename buildings on campus whose namesakes are not representative of our values. I stand with President Caslen in these efforts to combat racism and bigotry on our campus.
At the college level, we too remain committed to continuous improvement of diversity and inclusion. In the past five years, HRSM has established diversity and inclusion officers and started important programs to support minority students. But, we know there is more that can be done. We have dedicated faculty, staff and alumni who give their time, counsel and mentorship to help make HRSM more inclusive, but this issue cannot rest on the shoulders of a few champions — it needs to be bigger than that.
HRSM In Action
1. As an important first action, we are taking time to listen with purpose and to have meaningful conversations about opportunities for improvement.
Today I met with some of our college’s leaders and influencers on this issue. This is part of a series of discussions that will shine light on our current climate, challenges and needs for accomplishing a positive impact.
Later this month, the college will hold a focused listening session – providing a safe platform for some of our African American students, alumni, faculty and staff to share their insights and perspectives to inform our path forward.
The college will also host some open discussions on diversity and inclusion for all of our HRSM family later this year.
2. Additionally, we are in the process of expanding curriculum on diversity and inclusion to help ensure the future leaders of our industries have the knowledge to be champions for equality.
3. And, we are also in the process of reinforcing our equal opportunity hiring practices to make an even stronger effort to secure a diverse pool of talented candidates for the college's job searches.
I am humbly looking forward to the continued conversation on this important issue
and will share additional outcomes of our discussions as they come to fruition. In
the meantime, I invite you to please share your perspectives or suggestions on how
we can support a more equitable college and career experience in our industries by
sending us an email at email@example.com.
Our college is rooted in hospitality, in creating welcoming and positive experiences, in connecting cultures and helping to make our communities more vibrant. We are our strongest when we work together, and we each play a role in ensuring a learning environment and community that is inclusive and that provides equal rights and opportunities for all. Please take time on this 19th day of June to reflect on our Carolinian Creed and to ask yourself if you are exemplifying the creed in your daily life. We are in this together, and we will get through these hard times and help build a better world.
Forever to thee,
Dean, College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management