February 19, 2019
Important discussions have been taking place across the country in recent weeks regarding disturbing and offensive images and texts in college and university yearbooks. Such images, including of individuals in blackface, are stark historical reminders of the racism and bigotry that continue to challenge our nation today.
Unfortunately, similar images and descriptions of events also are part of SMU’s history, including in yearbooks. As a campus community, it is important that we acknowledge and learn from this past and the pain it causes. In many ways, progress on many fronts has been made, but we know sadly that discrimination and prejudice persist today.
At SMU, our values include inclusivity, civil discussion and respect for one another as part of a welcoming community. Students, faculty and staff are having meaningful discussions about our differences and commonalities as part of SMU’s Cultural Intelligence Initiative. I hope that all campus community members will participate in these conversations as we unwaveringly continue to work toward a campus community equally supportive of all its members.
R. Gerald Turner