Last Friday evening, an emergency alert was sent to notify the campus community of activity at the nearby Aurora Police Department substation and the impacts on those traveling to and from campus.
A few individuals on our campus expressed concern that by referring to protesters in the alert, our intent was to disparage somehow the peaceful protest that was occurring. That was not the intent nor the purpose.
It is our responsibility to communicate activities that impact operations, including traffic and road closures, to keep our campus accessible and our community informed. However, we apologize that in the haste to get the message out we used words that implied to some an intent to discourage participation.
And while we only heard from a few, we want to take this opportunity to connect with all on our campus and in our community to reiterate our support for long-overdue change for equality.
Last weekend’s events centered on peaceful protests related to the August 2019 death of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man who died after he was detained by local law enforcement. We understand that protests represent an essential and protected form of communication. Such actions extend the collective voices of those standing together for social justice, advocacy, and systemic accountability and change. As an academic medical campus, we also recognize that safety is one of the key social determinants of health. Our responsibility extends to our campus, our community and those we serve.
We also want to take this opportunity to express our deepest sympathy to Elijah McClain’s family and other members of the broader community who share in the pain of this tragic loss.
We remain committed to listening and learning. We are in this together and look forward to driving positive change as a community.
Regina D. Richards, PhD, MSW
Associate Vice Chancellor of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Community Engagement