UC Davis Veterinary Medicine Dean Michael D. Lairmore

Reaffirming our Commitment to Community and Social Justice

Dean Michael D. Lairmore issued the following statement today (May 31):

“We recognize that each of us has an obligation to the UC Davis community of which we have chosen to be a part. We will strive to build and maintain a culture and climate based on mutual respect and caring.”

—UC Davis Principles of Community

The news of the past week of COVID-19 fatalities passing 100,000 and the brutal killing of George Floyd reinforce to me the critical importance of our Principles of Community. We are a community that prides itself on its diversity and inclusion, and understands that we are comprised of individuals having many perspectives and identities. The pandemic and its disproportionate effects on communities of color dramatically illustrate the failures of our healthcare and social justice systems in the United States and around the world. Recent reports of injustice and violence toward citizens of color—including the killing of George Floyd by someone whose very job it was to protect him—elicit feelings of disgust, fear, anxiety, and grief, especially in the context of the persistent history of racism in our country. We have been here before.

Chancellor May’s statement on the brutal killing of George Floyd reflected our campus’s reaction and his family’s personal feelings upon learning of the incident. We stand with him as we strive to build an “inclusive environment that recognizes and respects people of all backgrounds and experiences.”

Our School expects the highest standards of conduct and decency toward all and rejection of violence in all forms. Our mission is to advance the health of animals, people, and the planet we all share. This means that our work seeks to address societal needs: Our research discoveries, educational objectives, and community service all contribute to making a better world. Interwoven within our daily lives, our principles must guide us as we confront and reject all manifestations of discrimination—and the violence that can accompany it—within our university and in our communities.

The events of this week also cause me to believe even more strongly in building an inclusive environment that recognizes and respects people of all backgrounds and experiences, and speaks up for justice. I remain committed to that and hope you will do what you can to eliminate racism, sexism, and other negative influences that prohibit our development as a society.

Above all, I urge all of us to reaffirm our obligation to our Principles of Community and strive to build and maintain a culture and climate at UC Davis and across the world based on mutual respect and caring. If we start with that, we can make progress.

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