Message from Chair on Racial Injustice

Posted: June 9, 2020
Umit S. Ozkan

Dear OSU Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Family,

I am sure you all are as distressed about the horrific killing of George Floyd as I am. What is even more distressing is the fact that this was not an isolated incident.  George Floyd was another name added to the long list of those (Breanna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Antwon Rose Jr, Tamar Rice, Trayvon Martin and so many others)  whose lives were tragically and senselessly cut too short. This was yet another example of  the racial injustice that has been running rampant in our society for years, decades, and centuries. 

We are at a point such that we can no longer remain silent in the face of this ongoing systemic injustice. It is no longer enough to try to do our best in our classrooms and laboratories. It is no longer enough to try to provide the best education, conduct the most cutting-edge research and strive for academic excellence in everything we do. It is not enough to try to create a welcoming environment for everybody in our department. We have to realize that our responsibilities don’t end at the boundaries of our department or even our campus. We have to do more than that. We should internalize the fact that the injustices we observe everyday are NOT the problems of “others”. We should own them as OUR PROBLEMS. And we should try to be part of the solution.

To this effect, I want you to know that I am committed to trying to figure out how we can effect change. I am also committed  to starting and continuing a dialogue, until all voices are heard.

I am calling on all of you to think about how we can be part of the solution. Please feel free to reach out to me with ideas, suggestions or concerns.

I also urge you to read the following open letter written by a group of graduate and undergraduate students in STEM disciplines, who have started a campaign called #STEMforBLM [0]. 

The letter also includes a list of resources [1],  infographics [2], which can be posted with emails and on social media (using #STEMforBLM).


You might also be interested in reading recent messages from College of Engineering Dean David Williams and President Drake.

Take care.

Umit S. Ozkan

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