I want to address the ongoing protests across the nation regarding systemic racism and police brutality against Black citizens. I greatly appreciate that some of you have already reached out to me to voice your disappointment that I did not speak out sooner. I apologize for the pain that my delayed response may have caused. I will do better in the future. Sometimes when it is difficult to find the right words, we say nothing and that can be interpreted as if we don’t care. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I am deeply distressed by the horrific murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Sadly, Mr. Floyd was another person of color in a long list of those (Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Antwon Rose Jr., Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Henry Green, and so many others) whose lives were tragically and senselessly cut short. I also want to acknowledge that Columbus has one of the worst rates for police killing of Black men in the country (~92 out of every 1,000,000), and Henry Green was one of the 20+ black people killed by CPD in the past decade.
It is our responsibility to not remain silent about the experiences of people of color regarding racial profiling, police brutality, discrimination in the workplace, continued segregation in schools, lack of access to housing, and so on. Black Lives Matter, and yet we continue to witness these injustices and atrocities committed against the Black community. For our nation to continue to be prosperous, all its citizens regardless of race, creed, and gender must be treated with fairness and equality. And for that to happen, we all need to be a part of the solution.
Though the department directs resources towards diversity, equity, and inclusion, it does not do a good job of communicating this. And, in addition to what we already do, we can and should do more. In the coming weeks, I will be empowering ISE faculty, staff, and students to participate in a conversation to identify and carry out improvements that will make a tangible change to the culture of ISE and make the department a better learning environment and resource for all students.
In addition to facilitating and encouraging dialogue, the department is also committing to pursuing Capstones supporting Black Lives Matter initiatives, especially if they involve data analytics, support of Black owned businesses, and the Columbus African American Chamber of Commerce. We will also add an Inequitable Systems module to our Human Systems course and will work to bring social justice to the forefront of new General Education courses aligned with the goal of Citizenship for a Diverse and Just World, which can be integrated with courses in the major. I will also continue to look for more opportunities for turning outward to engage with the community where our skills could be put to work to assist more local businesses.
Industrial & Systems Engineering is all about making things better. We can and will do that for our department.
Professor and Chair
Integrated Systems Engineering
If you find yourself struggling to process the recent events, please reach out for help. A list of resources is also included below. All these resources are free, confidential, and multilingual.
The Disaster Distress Helpline answers calls and texts about incidents of community unrest (or being assaulted by the police). call 1-800-985-5990 to connect with a trained crisis counselor, 24/7.
For more information about coping with community violence (which includes police brutality and violence inflicted by the state) please see this flier from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, please note that these services are a service of the US Department of Health and Human Services, which not everyone feels safe connecting with.