A Message from Dean Messina

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Recent high-profile violent events targeting Black Americans have caused incredible anger, despair, and frustration among many, including our College community. As The University of Alabama’s largest College, it is critical that we speak out against these atrocities and affirm to our Black students, faculty, and staff that we stand with you.

As the attacks multiply and peaceful protests have been disrupted with violence and brutality, it is possible to become overwhelmed with cynicism, doubt, and fear that nothing will change. But right now is not the time for that. Now is the time to honor those who have died recently and over these many years by vowing to do what we can as individuals and as a College community to foster change.

First, it is past time that we acknowledge and understand the impact that racism continues to have on our Black students, faculty, and staff. Despite our best efforts, we are not immune to the biases that create systemic disadvantage and inequity.

But we must do better. We must educate and prepare our students to live and work in a diverse world that strives toward empathizing and accepting others. We also must create an inclusive environment within the College that recognizes and respects people of all backgrounds and experiences.

This must extend beyond words. We need action. As a College, we will look for new avenues for discussion and learning; we will listen and explore areas that need improvement to help break down barriers and disadvantages in our College. We will do the hard work needed to fight racism and end injustices.

It is my hope that through listening and learning more about the challenges faced by our students, staff, and faculty of color that we can work together to enact a vision shared by all.

I invite you to reach out to me at jpmessina@ua.edu or Roger Sidje at roger.b.sidje@ua.edu with your thoughts and ideas to help us create an environment that is supportive and inclusive of all College of Arts and Sciences students, faculty, and staff.

With hope,
Dean Joseph Messina