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Regarding the College of Dentistry: A Statement Reiterating the Importance of Inclusivity, Civility, & Respect

Dental Science Building

On October 16, 2020, the College of Dentistry administration issued a statement via email condemning Executive Order No. 13950. (1) The ensuing email chain, where students and faculty debated the purpose and response to the Executive Order, was a catalyst of hurt for many. Dental students have reported heightened tensions, a sense of politically-charged unrest, and incidents of microaggressions within the College of Dentistry. We want to acknowledge the harm felt in the College and encourage reflection, understanding, and growth for members of our community.

Graduate and Professional Student Government (GPSG) supports all students who have felt the impact of this incident. Everywhere on the University of Iowa campus should be inclusive and respectfulparticularly in spaces dedicated to learningso that students can freely concentrate on their education without distraction. When intolerance is explicitly or implicitly present in educational environments, students are forced to dedicate valuable time and energy toward navigating these issues, while also fighting to maintain a semblance of health and well-being. 

In accordance with the University of Iowa’s core values, the “Excellence through Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan,” and the “University of Iowa College of Dentistry Strategic Plan 2020–2025,” GPSG reaffirms its commitment to supporting programs, initiatives, and daily interactions at the university that amplify diverse voices, foster equity, and insist on inclusion. (2)(3)(4)

We acknowledge a statement does not change what happened; nor can these words alone remedy any trauma, hurt, and/or distress caused. But it is our hope that this statement reiterates the baseline standards of inclusivity, civility, and respect that we as Hawkeyes are personally and collectively responsible for.

Respectfully, 

Graduate and Professional Student Government Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee

Graduate and Professional Student Government Executive Team

Resources 

For additional support, we recommend exploring the following campus resources:

Footnotes

1. Alexandra Skores, Email Thread Within the College of Dentistry Community Sparks Debate, Daily Iowan (Oct. 26, 2020), https://dailyiowan.com/2020/10/27/email-thread-within-the-college-of-dentistry-community-sparks-debate.

2. Operations Manual, Univ. of Iowa (Sept. 2007), https://opsmanual.uiowa.edu/governance/university-iowa/purpose-and-mission (referencing section “2.1(3) University Statement”).

3. Univ. of Iowa, 2019–2021: Excellence through Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan (2019),  https://diversity.uiowa.edu/sites/diversity.uiowa.edu/files/2020-03/dei_action_plan-12.pdf.

4. Univ. of Iowa Coll. of Dentistry, University of Iowa College of Dentistry Strategic Plan 2020–2025 16–17 (2020), https://www.dentistry.uiowa.edu/sites/default/files/docs/admin/DentistryStrategicPlan2020-2025.pdf.