Department Diversity Statement

The faculty of the University of Nevada, Reno Department of English wish to express our solidarity with Black student groups across campus as well as Black communities across the nation. Following the murder of an unarmed Black man named George Floyd on May 25, 2020 by a white police officer, protests in hundreds of cities have emerged across the globe. We wish to pledge our support of these protests against police brutality and white supremacy. In Reno, there have also been a number of racist and hateful incidents over the past few years that demand our attention. We are here to say without qualification that Black Lives Matter and we are here to dismantle white supremacy in all of its forms. We grow weary of the continued touting of diversity and inclusion, locally and nationally, that is not bolstered by meaningful action. Black people are being murdered in the streets and in their homes at a devastating rate and we call on everyone to take concrete steps to ensure the safety of people of color on campus and in our communities. We want to help create an environment where students, faculty and staff will be protected from hateful actions and speech. There is no room for half-measures. Faculty in the English department study public and private discourse to call out racism, intentional and unintentional. Through teaching, research and service, the department is dedicated to interrogating its own blind spots and prejudices. As such, the English department commits itself even more strongly to antiracism, looking inward to dismantle systemic forms of racism in our own communities. The English department is taking a number of concrete steps to address these issues:

  • Using Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Anti-Racist as our guide, the English faculty will participate in a number of department-wide discussions about white privilege and racism in our own community.
  • Building on recent efforts to add more diversity courses to the curriculum, we are creating new classes focused on writers of color. We will also perform a department-wide audit of our curriculum in order to address shortcomings and a lack of diversity. We also plan to require at least one diversity course for all majors before they can graduate.
  • We are working with the College of Liberal Arts and ASUN to create an affinity group for students of color on campus.
  • We are developing a climate survey in the department, so that we can identify and address problems of homophobia, xenophobia in the classroom and on campus.