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June 05, 2020 | Midwestern University
Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,
For more than seventy years, the founding college of Midwestern University was located in a predominately African-American neighborhood of Hyde Park, Illinois. It was at this location that we owned and operated a large urban hospital, became the economic engine that supported the community, and trained our students to provide care to the underserved. The values that we established in this setting became the backbone of who we are as a University today. We cared for the patients, their families and neighbors. Caring for the diverse minority community was the driving purpose of our small medical college and hospital. This tradition of support for underserved communities continues today through both endless hours of outreach and thousands of dollars in donations to homeless organizations like UMOM in Phoenix and DuPage PADS in Downers Grove; is reflected in the $2 million in free healthcare we have provided at the clinics at each of our campuses; and is demonstrated in the more than 80,000 hours our students, faculty, and staff spend each year in community service projects.
I wish to thank the many members of our community who have personally called and reached out to me, and the other members of the college and university leadership team to shared their ideas over the past few days. To all of you who took the time to call and contact us, I thank you.
In any dialogue regarding difficult topics, it is important to listen. I have listened carefully to those of you who took the time to say thank you for clearly stating that we condemn any racism and violence, while promoting love, trust and respect; I have listened to those who felt we should acknowledge the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd and many others who have been impacted by violence and hatred. We have heard you.
I understand that many of you are hurting right now, as the violent events against the African American Community are painful for all of us, and as a society I sincerely believe we can do better to acknowledge the rights and respect for everyone in our society.
I believe every moment is a teachable moment. Therefore I am implementing the following five-step plan effective today.
- Midwestern University is holding an outdoor vigil next week on both of our campuses to show respect and support for those lives lost to senseless acts of violence. The Student Services Department will be sending out more information in the days to come.
- I am asking every Academic Dean to gather groups of their students together to listen to their concerns, encourage students to make suggestions on curriculum improvements that can identify and dispel racism, and recommend additional community outreach opportunities. In addition, I am asking these student groups to help identify new and improved ways in which we can recruit more underrepresented minority students to all the health professions.
- Midwestern University will create two new research grants to be awarded to any interdisciplinary group of students and faculty on each campus to improve the health of minority populations beyond the current educational programs, screenings and research. Research teams need to examine ways to improve the delivery of health care and eliminate the health care disparities in underserved, minority communities.
- A task force is being established to review and recommend updates for all our policies and procedures to assure continued equal treatment of all faculty, staff and students regardless of their gender, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation. We have always strived to make sure that there are appropriate safeguards, but a careful review will be implemented.
- All thirty-seven members of the Midwestern University leadership team have committed their personal support to create a new Scholarship Fund for deserving minority students at Midwestern University. This is being done to clearly demonstrate our unwavering support to all our minority students.
Midwestern University has historically been an organization that stands on our principles, mission and values. We care deeply about all people, all students, and those who entrust their careers with us. If anyone feels that they are encountering any racism, bias or discrimination, please contact our Human Resource or Student Services Department. We have no tolerance for those who exhibit racist, violent and discriminatory conduct at Midwestern University. We will continue to honor this principle.
I have always believed in the value of all human life, the respect of every individual and the inherent goodness that prevails in every heart. If you wish, join me in a silent prayer for all who are suffering.