Vice President for Human Resources' Message to Staff Regarding Trying Times

June 5, 2020

On June 5, Vice President for Human Resources Lianne Sullivan-Crowley emailed all staff members with the following message about inclusivity and available resources:

The communal ties that bind us are being tested by a pandemic, which has kept us apart and exacerbated social inequality, and by racism, exemplified by recent acts of police brutality. The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many others have stirred global outrage and anguish and repeat a pattern of violence that regularly puts Black and Brown lives at risk in America. People of Color continue to face daily affronts to their dignity and systemic threats to their well-being that must be addressed if, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., everyone in our country is to enjoy “the riches of freedom and the security of justice.”

In a statement issued on May 31, President Eisgruber affirmed that “We all have a responsibility to stand up against racism, wherever and whenever we encounter it” and that “Commitments to diversity, inclusivity, and human rights are fundamental to the mission of Princeton University.” With this in mind, I encourage all of us to reflect on what we can do to build a more just society, to acknowledge biases and privileges that perpetuate inequality, and to ensure that our campus is a place where all feel valued, regardless of our differences.

Many members of our University community have expressed to me deep feelings of anger, fear, and sorrow and are searching for ways to confront the intolerance and injustice that racism engenders. Self-awareness and mutual understanding are starting points on this journey of anti-racism. Both can be strengthened and nurtured through courageous and compassionate conversations, sharing information, and formal learning opportunities. Specifically, I invite you to take advantage of the following resources, which can be accessed through HR’s website.

A Brave Space: Discussion, Learning, & Support

We are convening virtual forums in which participants can share and process their feelings, ask difficult questions, or simply listen quietly. Departments interested in hosting a session should contact HR’s Diversity and Inclusion Team.

Resources for Combatting Racism

We have compiled a list of books, articles, podcasts, and other materials for adults and children to explore and share, with the goal of developing a fuller understanding of the race-related issues that confront our country and the actions needed to address them.

Fostering & Leading in a Culture of Inclusion

We have organized a series of webinars for Princeton employees designed to foster dialogue and enhance participants’ knowledge of and engagement with diversity, equity, and inclusion. Participants will acquire tools that will help them create a more inclusive workplace.

We are also here to listen. If you have ideas on how we, as a University community, can do more to combat racism, please reach out to HR’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion Kimberly Tiedeken.

There is nothing easy about these times. However, when we come together to listen to each other’s stories in an open spirit and develop the insights and tools we need to serve as agents of social change, I am hopeful we can rise to the challenges before us, both as a University and as a country.

For learning opportunities and other resources to support employees, refer to Inclusivity Resources for Employees.