Dear KU Community:
KU Libraries strive to support students, staff and faculty of color on campus. We thank the Invisible Hawks and the Black Student Union for their courage to speak on issues that have compelled the University of Kansas community to acknowledge a culture of disrespect. We join the students and their many supporters in their request for measurable actions.
KU Libraries have a social responsibility in our privileged position on campus to be accountable to our students, staff and faculty of color. However, saying we are accountable does not make it so. The Invisible Hawks and Black Student Union have exhorted us to strengthen our commitment to providing an open and inclusive environment that nurtures the growth, development and success of all students, staff and faculty at KU.
In accordance with the American Library Association, KU Libraries recognize that “institutionalized inequities based on race are embedded into our society and are reinforced through social institutions and further perpetuated by policies, practices, behaviors, traditions, and structures. And, since libraries are a microcosm of the larger society and play an important and unique role in the communities they serve, they must seek to provide an environment free of racism, where all are treated with respect and dignity.”* To achieve this, KU Libraries will respond to recent campus events through training, recruitment and collaboration:
- We will provide training to KU Libraries administrators, faculty, staff and student employees on the issues of inclusivity, diversity and understanding white privilege. We will work closely with campus resources, including the Office of Multicultural Affairs, as well as external resources like the American Library Association and social justice organizations, and we will align ourselves with developing campus initiatives in the spring 2016.
- We pledge to continue to act in concert with the students, staff and faculty to provide opportunities and venues for critical conversations that lead to real change.
- We will strengthen our efforts to recruit and retain people of color in an effort to diversify our workforce at KU Libraries.
KU Libraries support a safe and inclusive environment for all members of our diverse communities at KU. We will be part of the solution.
*ALA Policy Manual Section B: Positions and Public Policy Statements, B.3.2 Combating Racism
Originally published Friday, November 20, 2015.