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Driving Change and Reform Needed

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students:

Over the course of the past seven years, together our campus community has faced and overcome many difficult challenges. As we continue to grapple with COVID-19 and its harsh economic consequences, recent national events have revealed some ugly and enduring inequities in American society, sparking anxiety, upset and outrage. In a period of American history unclear and confused in direction and purpose, one thing is abundantly clear. We cannot solve problems we do not acknowledge. The pain and loss of this pandemic have not been evenly distributed in Memphis, in Tennessee, nor across the United States. The most vulnerable among us carry the majority of that burden. This pandemic has revealed decades-long and enduring economic and health-care inequities that cut along racial lines and are at the foundation of that vulnerability. That pain has only been magnified by recent hate-filled violence against African-American men.

As an institution of higher education in one of the most diverse communities in America, our University is committed to being part of the solution. We are a place of hope, healing and healthy debate. We have an identified set of core values that embrace fairness, equity and justice, and we are committed to living those on a daily basis, particularly when they are most needed. It is clear that Memphis needs us, and we are here to help. I will be reaching out to our campus to assist in facilitating the change and reform needed. I am proud to be a Memphian, and a part of a community that works together. Our University is committed to being a part of the solution and helping drive the change and reform needed.  

Regards, 

M. David Rudd, Ph.D., ABPP
President, University of Memphis
Distinguished University Professor of Psychology