Day of Dialogue: Wednesday, June 10

To Our Alumni:

As some of you know, we originally scheduled Case Western Reserve’s annual Day of Giving to take place Tuesday, June 9.

But in light of recent national events, proceeding as planned this week was simply not an option.

Instead, we are holding a university-wide Day of Dialogue this Wednesday, June 10, to explore the issues now gripping the nation. We also will be considering how we as a community can best engage them—within and beyond our campus.

As planning is still in its earliest stages, I cannot yet share a full schedule. What I can confirm now, however, is that Provost Ben Vinson III and I will participate in a concluding leadership panel that day at 4 p.m. EDT. Also on the panel are Vice President for Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity Robert Solomon, who started here in February after more than two decades at Ohio State, the last five as assistant vice provost for its office of diversity and inclusion, and Naomi Sigg, director of our Office of Multicultural Affairs since 2013.

Our Alumni Association will share details about the panel, as well as additional schedule updates, in the coming days.

We have included Diversity and Inclusion among our core values since the 2008 Forward Thinking strategic plan, including within it “civility and the free exchange of ideas,” “civic and international engagement,” and “appreciation for the distinct perspectives and talents of each individual.”

This week’s event is one way to honor that core value, but even more it is a commitment to do what we can as an institution to help address the roots of tragedies like George Floyd’s death. Last week, we created a website featuring campus communications and resources relating to recent events; we will continue to update it with information about the Day of Dialogue and related initiatives.

For now, though, I want to close by addressing black alumni and all alumni of color. The deaths of Mr. Floyd last month, Ahmaud Arbery in February, and, here in Cleveland, of 12-year-old Tamir Rice six years ago—and so many others—all stem in some way from systemic racism. As an institution of higher learning, Case Western Reserve has responsibility to work to eradicate it—and we will do all we can to fulfill it.

Barbara R. Snyder