Faculty and Staff,

Today, we are proud to jointly support "#ShutDownAcademia," an initiative designed to highlight the need for all of us to confront anti-Black racism and our unconscious biases, actively work for equality and opportunity, and champion diversity and inclusion in colleges and universities. The initiative also includes “#ShutDownSTEM,” a specific effort to highlight the need for diversity in STEM disciplines and the particular challenges Black academics and professionals face within these disciplines.

We encourage you to participate in the grassroots action and awareness campaigns taking place today in any way that is meaningful and productive to you. Each of our university’s colleges and schools will participate in different ways. However, we urge everyone to spend time and energy today learning more about the cultural, institutional and academic inequalities highlighted in these campaigns—as well as how they contribute to blocked access in higher education.

Some UMD resources for learning include TERP Allies, which raises awareness of the biases that emerge in everyday work settings, and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, which provides training on how to recognize and respond to anti-Black racism. 

Our hope is that—among a variety of other initiatives and conversations—today will help raise awareness of anti-Black racism in higher education and lead us to actions that will create a more just, equitable and inclusive campus.

We look forward to joining today’s effort with you.


Ritu Agarwal
Interim Dean, Robert H. Smith School of Business

Gregory F. Ball
Dean, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences

Craig Beyrouty
Dean and Director, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Robert Briber
Interim Dean, A. James Clark School of Engineering

William A. Cohen
Dean, Office of Undergraduate Studies

Lucy A. Dalglish
Dean, Philip Merrill College of Journalism

Bonnie Thornton Dill
Dean, College of Arts and Humanities

Steve Fetter
Dean, The Graduate School

Adriene Lim
Dean, University Libraries

Donald Linebaugh
Interim Dean, School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation

Boris D. Lushniak
Dean, School of Public Health

Keith Marzullo
Dean, College of Information Studies (iSchool)

Robert C. Orr
Dean, School of Public Policy

Jennifer King Rice
Dean, College of Education

Amitabh Varshney
Dean, College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences

As tens of thousands of people across the country protest senseless police brutality against African Americans in the wake of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis, the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business is asking important questions. Notably, this one: How do we move forward?

Dear students, staff, faculty, and administrators,

The University of Maryland community must be even more committed to our mission of building a supportive, respectful and inclusive environment. Words aren’t enough. We have to act! We must learn to be anti-racist in the face of racism whenever and wherever it occurs. Our system is broken as evidenced by disparities in education, criminal justice, income levels, housing, and health. We are all part of this broken system. It is our human responsibility to co-create a new system that is more responsive to inequities. It is difficult, yet pivotal, to consistently recognize, interrogate and disrupt ourselves in all of this. For many of us, our human tendency is to grieve every time a Black or Brown person is killed, to affirm enlightening media posts from friends, to engage in deep conversations, and then to return to our lives. And so that cycle continues. We have to do something different to disrupt the cycle.

Please join the Office of Diversity & Inclusion for a Week of Solidarity & Reflection. As human beings, our need right now is to slow down and honor the many feelings that we are carrying in our bodies and our communities. Righteous rebellion is occurring across the country right now, because for too long the traumatizing effects of racism have been ignored. The passion and anger that we are seeing is a call to honor unmet and unseen needs. Let us begin by responding to this call for community solidarity and reflection.

Next week, we will turn toward a Week of Action. We hope to engage in more community-building, truth-telling, and action-planning for UMD.

Please join us for these events and stay tuned on our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for updates on other events and opportunities for solidarity and reflection. If your department or organization is planning a program to promote solidarity and/or reflection, please let us know at

Victor C. Mullins
Diversity Officer

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Dear Smith School faculty,

We write to you today with important reminders on academic accommodations and open lines of communication. 

A Maryland Smith student, who recently lost her father, shared on social media an email exchange with a faculty member. We want to assure you that we are working to address the student’s concerns and will ensure that appropriate and compassionate accommodations are made.

Let’s all remember that this is an extraordinarily difficult time for all of us and our students. Struggles both seen and unseen are occurring all around us. In some cases we may be aware of what a student is going through, but in many others we are not.

When students reach out to us, it is our responsibility to find the appropriate accommodations, be flexible in our approach, and be compassionate and considerate in our communications. We know that many of you are going to extraordinary measures to assist students through difficult times, and we thank you. We continue to encourage everyone to be empathetic to students’ circumstances. Please make accommodations and be flexible as necessitated by the needs of your students. 

Thank you for showing kindness to our students as they are trying to finish this very challenging semester.


Ritu Agarwal
Interim Dean
Distinguished University Professor and Dean's Chair of Information Systems
Director, Center for Health Information and Decision Systems

Michael O. Ball
Dean's Chair in Management Science
Senior Associate Dean for Faculty and Research

This statement was emailed to faculty on April 30.

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