December 14, 2014
Dear AAFSA Members and Friends,
We write to address you during a sobering time in our campus community. Our initial plan was to invite you to join us for a celebration of “Thanks and Appreciation” for our faculty, graduates, and staff, as we approach the Thanksgiving holiday. This “celebration” and announcement, however, comes with a poignant reminder about the importance of maintaining a campus community for which we all can embrace as welcoming, inclusive, respectful, and communal. In light of recent incidents affecting members of our University community, it is important for us to reflect, discuss, and challenge ourselves to define, embrace, and live according to communal standards that we deem salient and critical for our community’s well-being. We can not “celebrate one another,” without accounting for that which is celebratory and for that which must be an aspiration for us to celebrate. Therefore, the tenor of our “celebration” and thanks comes with yet an additional purpose to remind ourselves of how our association facilitates a vision for community, with a special interest in addressing matters of concern, as they affect Black people on our campus.
We invite you to join us in a community discussion about our campus climate on Wednesday, November 19, 2014 (12-1:30PM in the African American Cultural Center, Storrs Campus). As we acknowledge our thanks for community members and their contributions to our University, we would be remiss not to account for the “health” of our community and our community members. Therefore, we appreciate your joining us for a conversation about our association and campus community.
Our association has the explicit objectives to promote the betterment of our community by the following objectives, as they are noted in our Constitution, and as they have had historic and contemporary importance in facilitating a diverse and inclusive environment at our University:
To facilitate, as completely and as meaningfully as possible, the educational and work experiences of faculty, staff and students of UConn.
To encourage the recruitment, interviewing, subsequent hiring, and retention and professional development of Black faculty and staff members. Must make this known to the upper echelon.
To influence the recruitment, retention, and educational development of Black students on the main campus and at the branch campuses of the University of Connecticut.
To influence the development and to maintain relevant academic programming in the area of education for black students specifically, and educational programming in general.
To develop mechanisms for increasing the mutual responsibility of Black people to Black people, which is in addition to normal responsibilities of members of UConn staff.
To influence and facilitate the coordination and cooperative financing, when appropriate, of relevant socio-cultural programs sponsored by various groups (students, non-academic, etc)
To foster better relationships among Africans, African Americans, Third World people and all other members of the University Community and the surrounding committees.
We invite you to reflect upon these objectives and join us for a conversation about what they mean for our association, its members and friends, and our larger campus community. Again, join us for our discussion and “Thanks and Appreciation” meeting on Wednesday, November 19, 2014. Lunch will be served.
African American Faculty and Staff Association (AAFSA)