It has been ten days since the world saw the video of George Floyd dying while a white police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck. It has been a week since protests began around the country and across New York, convulsing the city. Yesterday, hundreds if not thousands of New Yorkers gathered in Brooklyn, and then marched across the Brooklyn Bridge past One Pace Plaza, in a moving commemoration of Floyd’s life. We join in mourning his loss.
During this time, we have been listening to the Pace Community and hearing the pain, anguish, and anger. We are reflecting on our commitments, talking with our Student Government Associations and Black Student Unions, and determining how we can move the University forward while doing more to fight for equality and justice. We know we haven’t always gotten it right, and we want to do better.
We recognize that Floyd’s death is not an isolated case. It has been three and a half months since Ahmaud Arbery was shot and killed while out for a jog; nearly three months since Breonna Taylor was shot and killed by police who’d broken into her apartment; ten days since Tony McDade was shot and killed by police investigating a stabbing. It will soon be 10 years since Danroy “DJ” Henry, a Pace student and football star, was shot and killed by a police officer in Pleasantville. We mourn those losses, too. We know there is much to be done. We are remembering and relearning the words of Angela Davis: “It is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.”
At Pace University, we are committed to being unbiased and anti-racist across our institution.
We are committed to hearing from all voices and empowering all parts of our community.
We are committed to standing up for what is right.
In the last academic year, we hired Pace’s first chief diversity officer and established the new Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. That Division worked to update our hiring practices to mitigate bias and increase diversity, and it centralized key offices to streamline and focus their important work. There is much, much more to be done.
Today, we are committing to the following actions:
- We will establish a Presidential Task Force, composed of students, staff, faculty, and alumni and funded by the President’s Office, to examine the Pace experience for all in our Community, including those who are Black, those who are brown, and those from other historically underrepresented groups. Under the guidance of the chief diversity officer, in partnership with other campus leaders, and guided by the findings of the forthcoming Diversity Climate Survey, the Presidential Task Force will design a plan with short- and long-term strategies for a more equitable and just Pace University. It will welcome input from all parts of the Pace Community. The Presidential Task Force will be formulated in the coming weeks and will issue its recommendations by the end of fall semester.
- We recognize that voices need to be heard and action needs to happen everywhere across the University, and we ask departments and divisions to review their areas to develop long-term commitments for systemic change. These recommendations will be developed by October 1, 2020, and forwarded to the Presidential Task Force for inclusion in the University’s comprehensive plan.
- We will soon launch a reporting site on which members of the Pace Community can register incidents or experiences contradictory to the inclusive environment we seek to sustain. This site will launch during fall semester. Whether reported on this site or elsewhere, University leaders will always investigate and respond to incidents that are brought to our attention.
- In the next week, we will organize a community forum, modeled on this week’s session for faculty and staff, in which all members of the Pace Community will be invited to share their experiences and their visions for how Pace can make a difference.
- We will design a comprehensive series of programming for the fall semester to examine racial justice in our community and our country, including honoring the memory of DJ Henry as we mark 10 years since his murder.
We welcome all in the Pace Community who wish to serve on the Presidential Task Force. Its agenda will not be set by the administration; it will be set by the community. The Presidential Task Force will convene in the coming weeks. If you’re interested in serving on it, please contact
We had planned a Diversity Climate Survey for last semester, to capture critical voices and experiences to inform the work of the DEI Division. It will be launched when we return to campus.
Fall programming already in development includes the Our Pledge Against Oppression discussion series, featuring panels on working toward anti-racism and examining race and the prison-industrial complex and a symposium on the absence of Black and Latina/o/x intellectual communities in academia; a teach-in series rooted in critical race theory; a social justice reading club; and the annual MLK lecture.
We have also compiled a list of resources to answer the question, “What can I do?” It is available at
We know that this is just a start. But we are committing to do the work, and we will use these first steps as a basis for our future plans. We will have more information for you soon on next week’s Zoom meeting, and more detail forthcoming on the Presidential Task Force and fall programming.
We have always believed that Pace’s strength lies in its community. Despite the many and enormous challenges currently facing us, we still believe that. Let’s stand up for each other, listen to each other, and work together to build an even better Pace.
Please stay safe.