Dear College of the Environment Community,

Like many of you, I am struggling to comprehend and respond to the racially charged events of the past weeks. The brutal and needless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery have sparked outrage and trauma in cities across America. These deaths highlight the patterns of violence and suffering that Black people have been and continue to be subjected to on a regular basis while shining a spotlight on persistent structural inequalities. To our Black students, staff and faculty, I want you to know that I see you, value you and wish to support you.

These are hard times. Please do your best to take care of yourselves and each other. If you need help at this time, please know that the UW provides many options. We have comprehensive lists of mental health services available to students, as well as faculty and staff, on our website. I have heard our students’ requests for help, and we have reminded Spring Quarter instructors to act with flexibility and leniency toward students who are experiencing grief, stress and anxiety such that they cannot fully focus on their academic work. If you need accommodations with your academic work, please start by reaching out to your instructor or student advisors.

In the coming weeks, I will be looking for ways we can work together to build a more just community for each other, our college and our world. Many of your units have community events planned in the next week or two and I encourage you to participate as you are able. I would also like to hear from any of you—students, staff, postdocs, faculty—who have thoughts and ideas to share. This is both urgent and unbounded. For those of you who are simply exhausted from the toll of witnessing the racism so prominently displayed in the past weeks, please know that we are here to support you. I do hope that now, or over time, you can share your thoughts and concerns with me and I will be here to listen and amplify.

Lisa J. Graumlich

Dean | Mary Laird Wood Professor