Statements against racism, hate and authoritarianism

Statement Against Authoritarianism

Like many around the world, we are horrified by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Our College’s commitment to elevating humanity extends well beyond our campus and local communities. Moreover, many of our own faculty, staff and students are directly and indirectly impacted by this and other humanitarian crises. We thus stand in solidarity with Ukrainians, Afghans, Uyghurs and other people around the world who seek self-determination, autonomy and independence. As Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized, the struggle is for “democracy, freedom” (March 1, 2022). The foundation of our work to dismantle hate, bias and discrimination lies in these principles. Without freedom, there is no democracy and vice versa.

As many political scientists have noted recently, authoritarianism is on the rise around the globe and Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is one horrific manifestation of this trend. Freedom House, which tracks every country in the world, reports that global political freedom has declined every year since 2006 and “faces a dire threat” (“Freedom in the World 2002”). We unequivocally stand against authoritarianism and the oppression and killing of those who seek to live in a free, safe and democratic society.

For a list of highly rated, non-profit organizations engaged in relief, recovery and peace-building efforts, visit Charity Navigator: Ukrainian-Russian Crisis. The Northern Nevada International Center also released a statement regarding the crisis in Ukraine, which contains information on how to help refugees.

Black Lives Matter

The School of the Arts actively opposes the systemic racism, violence and human rights abuses that plague our nation.

As artists and educators, we must use our voices to advocate for much-needed change in our institutions and communities and act accordingly. Through our artistic practices, we are able to transcend traditional modes of communication to illuminate injustices and facilitate social transformation. We recognize the power that art wields to inspire change and are driven to promote the arts as a tool for social justice and transformation.

The School of the Arts is committed to elevating artists of color, amplifying underrepresented voices and facilitating dialogue around critical social justice issues. These values will be exemplified through the programs we produce, the backgrounds and training of our faculty, the diversity of our students, the disciplines and approaches of visiting artists, and the scope and depth of our courses. We can and will do more to help dismantle systems of oppression and injustice and invite members of our community to join us in these efforts to create a more free and just society.

We stand with those seeking justice for Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, Ahmaud Aubrey, Breonna Taylor and the many other victims of racism and violence. Immediate and substantive reform to policing practices and the criminal justice system are urgently needed. This is a historic moment to listen, learn, grow, act and change.