Letter to PSD Student Community

June 2, 2020

Dear Students, 

We stand with you. We care about you. We hear you. 

Our community is facing a difficult time. The last few months have been marked by a global pandemic, travel and immigration restrictions, economic insecurity, and most recently, the tragic deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and George Floyd. The deaths of Mr. Floyd and others have sparked civil unrest and feelings of anger and grief across the nation. The cumulative impact on everyone’s physical and emotional well-being cannot be understated.

In recent months, students have expressed concerns about: 

  • Their overall health and wellness, while continuing to make progress on coursework and research
  • Increased incidents of racial animus toward those of the Asian and Pacific Islander community
  • Immigration restrictions, including a Presidential Proclamation purporting to suspend entry or impact the immigration status of certain individuals from China 
  • Participating in protests while social distancing, as well as how to safely interact with law enforcement as a domestic or international student

There are no easy answers or simple fixes to any of these problems. The moment calls for civic engagement, purposeful discussions, and a myriad of other organizing strategies. But in the meantime, and throughout such efforts, there is strength in community and in a shared responsibility for the well-being of one another. Kindness is a powerful antidote to pain, suffering, and feelings of helplessness. In the current context then, we may view care as empowerment.

And it is important to allow and create space for multiple kinds of care: care for ourselves and care for others in our community.  I encourage you to be responsive to your own personal needs for safety and wellness.  Some of you may also be attuned to the needs of family members; peers, neighbors, and friends; and those across the country and around the world. Taking part in any of these acts of care is courageous and important, and we commend you for it.

As Dean Olinto wrote in a recent message to the PSD community, the Division categorically rejects discrimination and racism of any form. We reaffirm this commitment here and want you to know that the PSD DOS office is available if you have questions or concerns about your safety or well-being or that of others, or simply need to talk to someone about what’s going on in your life and in the world.

There are also University resources available if you need additional support. The following may be helpful to you right now: 

You can always reach out to me directly at blampert1@uchicago.edu or to any of the deans in the Dean of Students Office (psd-dos@lists.uchicago.edu) to discuss questions or concerns you have. We want to hear from you.

All best,