A Letter to the Community from the Dean

Dear Questrom Community,

Last spring, our nation watched in horror as we witnessed the tragic and unacceptable death of George Floyd, a black citizen killed at the hands of police, one of the latest incidents in an on-going series of racially-motivated killings, violence, and verbal and physical abuse. We mourn the losses of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and the many others whose stories remain untold in the shadows of systemic racism. Our anger and pain are raw. For some, these events fill us with rage, and for others, they leave us speechless. Many of us feel shameful; we are confused by not knowing if and how we should speak up, and what exactly we can or should not do.

But, speak up we must—even if we risk being wrong. The situation is urgent and commands a stance of intolerance. Hate has no place in our homes or in our communities. Boston University was founded as a beacon of freedom. The first Dean of Questrom School of Business grounded us in a deep appreciation of diversity, inclusion, and mutual respect for one another. We are proud of this heritage, and now more than ever, we need to make tangible the meaning of these values in our daily lives to do what we can to obliterate structural racism and injustice.

To be honest, I do not know what comes next for our country or for Questrom. How do we heal the anger and pain? How do we move forward to solve centuries of injustice? How do we eradicate prejudice and bias from our daily lives? How do we move people from being colorblind to “color brave”? Although the path forward may be unclear, we cannot waver because the road is unpaved and the route complicated. The time is now to look deep within ourselves; to question our prejudices, our privilege, and our actions; to share our lived experiences; and to rework our policies, our structures, and our belief systems to eradicate the deeply rooted system of racism in this country.

Our Questrom community—regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability/disability, or political affiliation—must work each and every day to establish and maintain our culture of dignity, fairness, and respect for all. You have my commitment that we will do everything we can to address the structural racism that threatens us. You have my commitment to continued investments in our Questrom Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and its ongoing efforts to remove systemic barriers and biases. You have my commitment to continue to provide spaces where we can meet people where they are: whether they seek help making sense of this, a place for healing, or just comfort in taking care of each other. Each of us comes to this with the lenses of different backgrounds and experiences, and you have my commitment that we will spend the days and weeks ahead listening to and engaging with our community to identify next steps for Questrom. These issues are bigger than the administration or one Center or one team: it will take all of us, working together, to build a just world.

In the days and months ahead, we will continue to find opportunities to connect, to process, and to work things through. Below are some of the ongoing ways we can have these hard conversations and inform further action:

I look forward to coming together out of this darkness and into the light of shared understanding and progress. In the meantime, I hope each of you can do what you can to find some peace, and take care of each other and yourselves.

With sincere hope for our future,

Susan Fournier
Allen Questrom Professor and Dean
Questrom School of Business

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