CS Department Diversity Message
The Computer Science department chair, Kevin Skadron, shares a message about our mission to build a strong culture of inclusion and support.
Dear CS Community,
I write to express how profoundly my colleagues and I are saddened by the tragic and senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many, many other victims of racist violence. We acknowledge with regret that our nation has a long history of discrimination and violence based on racism.
We decry acts of oppression, abuse, and violence wherever they occur. We express our sympathies to those who have been victims of such, either directly or indirectly, and invite all to extend to them the support, affirmation, and respect that the world, nation, and broader community sometimes does not. Indeed, we recognize UVA’s own legacy of racism and slavery and our mandate to do everything we can to right these past wrongs. We join President Ryan, Dean Benson, and so many others in our community in calling on people to speak out against racism, hate, and violence in all forms, and to take concrete actions to help address the consequences of the systemic and ongoing racism discrimination in our country.
We must act! It is not enough to sympathize with the victims and their pain and suffering. We must all do our part to work for a better and more just society, local community, and university.
The UVA Department of Computer Science affirms our belief that people of all backgrounds, ancestries, and belief systems can excel in computing, and our commitment to providing equitable opportunities for all members of the university community. We also affirm our commitment to continuous improvement in our support for a diverse and inclusive community of learners and scholars and the role of computing in making the world a better place.
Our department, facilitated by our Diversity Committee, has already been taking a variety of steps over many years to help build a strong culture of inclusion and support, but we cannot be satisfied with the status quo. We welcome input into what we could be doing better. Over the course of the summer and the upcoming academic year, our Diversity Committee will organize a series of listening sessions around issues we know have impacted many in our department community. We do so in order to learn from your experiences and find ways to provide better support. The first session will be Weds, June 10, at 1pm via Zoom, on the topic of discrimination in education and long-term implications. (Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for the Zoom link.) If you cannot attend or prefer to provide feedback directly to the Diversity Committee co-chairs (Upsorn Praphamontripong and Luther Tychonievich), we welcome you to email email@example.com with your observations, suggestions, etc.
Our Diversity Committee will take the input from these sessions and email messages to help provide a set of recommendations to me that will guide the Department on a path forward, and after the initial listening sessions, we will report back on what we heard and plan to do via a departmental town hall.
Please know you are always welcome to reach out directly to me and/or members of the Diversity Committee individually on these and any other issues.
We look forward to this journey toward a more inclusive and supportive department.
Kevin Skadron, Professor and Chair of Computer Science
Members of the Diversity Committee:
- Luther Tychonievich, co-chair and Director of Diversity and Inclusion
- Upsorn Praphamontripong, co-chair
- Jim Cohoon
- Matthew Dwyer
- Tom Horton
- Rich Nguyen
- Yasas Seneviratne
- (We will also be adding 1-2 computing undergraduate students to the committee at the beginning of the fall semester. Stay tuned for details on how to apply.)