The following email was sent to CTR students from Dr. Stuart J. Schleien, Chair of Dept of Community and Therapeutic Recreation on June 4, 2020.
Dear CTR Students — On behalf of the faculty and staff of the Department of Community & Therapeutic Recreation (CTR), I want to share our support with all our students during these times of crisis. We are outraged and saddened by the tragic loss of life and persistent unequal treatment of the Black community. The CTR Department stands united with you as we respond to rampant racism and hate throughout our communities and country and to the COVID-19 pandemic and its disproportionate effect on people of color in the U.S. At this critical time when we fight for equal rights and a more just society, we certainly understand the stress and pressure that you are all under. We want you to know that our department is here to support you in navigating these challenges.
We condemn racism, white supremacy, discrimination, police brutality, violence, and other injustices committed against Black citizens that have remained stubbornly fixed and resistant to change throughout our country’s history. We wholeheartedly support community inclusion, equality, and social justice across our society. As current and future professionals in recreation and parks, event planning, and recreational therapy, we are in a position to help dismantle the systems that have created inequitable outcomes for some children and youth, and create new recreation and sports, play, and learning environments that meet the needs of all who walk through our doors.
Within our university courses and meetings with colleagues throughout the community, CTR faculty, staff, and students will continue to direct our efforts to these critical issues. We will work closely with our students, alumni, other university faculty, and community partners to communicate clearly about the issues surrounding systemic racism and do whatever is possible to help eliminate them. We will do better!
As we mourn the brutal and unnecessary killing of George Floyd among so many others, we must now transform grief into action to confront racism. The CTR Department is wrestling with these issues every day and will continue to do so by actively identifying steps we can take until real change is made. We understand that to solve the country’s systemic inequities, it must be a shared responsibility. We stand united with you as we learn together and from one another to promote and support inclusion, equity, and justice, and treat everyone with dignity and respect in our communities.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to your advisor or any of the CTR faculty and staff. Let us know how you are doing and share your thoughts and ideas with us. Also, we have communicated with the Students First Office who will be sending out a list of resources to help you through this most challenging time. We are committed to protecting peoples’ civil rights, bringing an end to the cycles of injustice, and to supporting you.
Take care of yourself, stay safe, and keep in touch.
Dr. Stuart J. Schleien