Statement from Dean Ann Ardis

Painting pinned to a black fence

Learning from the past, understanding the present, and devising paths to peace and progress

Released: June 8, 2020

To the Mason Community,

The violent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and too many other members of Black and brown communities due to police brutality, racism, and systemic violence weigh heavy on my heart and mind, as I know they do for many of you. It is difficult to process this hate and disregard for human life. It is hard to focus on anything else. Silence, however, is harmful. And words unmatched by action, as noted by Interim President Holton and President-Elect Washington in quoting James Baldwin earlier this week, are not to believed.

Vartan Gregorian, the President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, has said: "The humanities and the social sciences are a way for this country to learn from the past, understand the present, and devise paths to progress and peace." In this moment of national turmoil, I ask myself as well as all of you: how will we contribute to devising “paths to progress and peace” for this country? How will we collaborate with colleagues throughout the university in this work?

Education is one of our greatest tools in the fight for equity and justice. We must all be open to learning, to changing, to acknowledging our missteps and mistakes and becoming better advocates and allies as a result. To this end, CHSS has compiled a list of educational resources and CHSS courses for students of all majors, minors, backgrounds, and levels that explore issues of racial injustice, systemic oppression, and works of radical change. 

While we recognize the need to help all people learn, we want our community members of color, especially Black and brown people in our CHSS community, to know that you are supported during this time. We want to share these important resources across the Mason community. Please find health and wellness resources in the sidebar section "Support, Messages, and Voices." Take care of yourselves and each other during this time, and ask for help and support when it's needed. 

Each of us has a civic duty to educate ourselves, make informed choices, and demand justice and equity in every facet of our society and government. We will continue to provide the space for students to do exactly that, as a community dedicated to becoming anti-racist and inclusive for all of our students. We will stand by our Black and brown students, faculty, and staff and uplift their voices. And we will proclaim Black Lives Matter until all lives are treated with equity and dignity. 

Sincerely,

Ann Ardis signature

Ann Ardis
Dean, College of Humanities and Social Sciences