UMBC President Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, and Provost Philip Rous shared this message with the UMBC community on Tuesday evening, April 28, 2015:
“We write now to encourage our community to continue to engage in thoughtful reflection, dialogue, and service around the complex social and economic challenges facing our Baltimore community—and communities across the nation.
Freddie Gray’s family has suffered a tragic personal loss, and we send them our sincere condolences. This event stands as a reminder of systemic issues of social injustice and inequality. These difficult times mark an opportunity to engage in honest conversations about these issues.
Our words and our actions speak volumes about our values. Courage to address critical social challenges—while respecting others—is a hallmark of the UMBC community. As a university, we have a civic responsibility to lead these conversations. We thank our faculty and staff who are supporting our students and leading discussions in classes and other venues on campus. We also thank our students who are participating in discussion and helping with clean-up activities and other initiatives in the city.
We recognize that one of the greatest strengths of our nation is the right of citizens to protest. As you each consider your personal response to the events unfolding in Baltimore, we ask that you act safely and responsibly.
The University’s administrative leadership met today with representatives of the faculty, staff, and student leadership to discuss our approach to supporting the broader Baltimore community. We encourage you to continue to be involved in programs and services that improve and enrich the lives of others through civic engagement.
UMBC has a long tradition of engaged scholarship, service learning, and community service. We are deeply involved in addressing critical social challenges in Baltimore and surrounding communities, whether in courses and research or providing direct services for youth through the Shriver Center and other programs. Through these programs we have established partnerships that will continue to serve our community in the months and years ahead.”