CPHHS to Provide Accommodations & Support for Black Students

A message from Dean Javier Nieto

June 2, 2020

Dear CPHHS community,

Today, I received a petition signed by over 100 students, requesting accommodations for Black students in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences (CPHHS) during the end of their classes and finals. These signatures were gathered in less than 24 hours.

As a College of Public Health and Human Sciences we recognize the real health implications for Black people and other people of color grounded in the enduring legacy of structural racism in our nation. We recognize as well that the violence brought against Black bodies and the loss of Black lives has a devastating impact on our community. While we all mourn these abuses, Black students in CPHHS may need time away from their studies to tend to their own emotional well-being, the wellness of family members, or to participate in demonstrations or other social justice activities.

Therefore, I urge all CPHHS faculty and advisors to work with Black students individually to accommodate their needs. I am supportive of granting deadline extensions, waiving grades on assignments, and giving these students the option to keep the grade they have already earned in a class if they wish to forego grades on further assignments or final exams. We will need to work within the framework of OSU’s academic regulations, however, and I will personally sign petition requests and advocate for Black students who would benefit from additional support during this time.

Additionally, I agree that the CPHHS should be at the forefront of tearing down systems of oppression at OSU and in our communities. I am committed to the following actions:

  • Faculty trainings on implicit bias, foundations of power, privilege and oppression will be prioritized.
  • As part of these trainings, there will be space devoted to faculty hearing feedback and suggestions from Black students.
  • CPHHS will advocate for requiring such trainings as a condition of employment at OSU.

Further, I am committed to justly and appropriately continuing conversations and working together to enact real, meaningful change within the CPHHS and OSU. As President Ray eloquently said on Sunday, “I know this will not happen overnight, but by God it needs to happen soon.”

I am inspired by the leadership of the CPHHS students. I am proud to be your dean. Your activism and commitment to human rights make our college, our community and our world more just.

In solidarity,

F. Javier Nieto, MD, PhD, MPH | Dean and Professor

College of Public Health and Human Sciences | Oregon State University