Advocating for Social Justice: A Message from Dean Joan Marques

Dear friends, colleagues, students, alumni, and community members,

The current state of mass protests, which have now expanded far beyond the borders of the United States, have confronted us with a reality we often neglect to consider in its fullest magnitude: the ignorance and bias that we, human beings, have engendered, based on our upbringing, culture, religion, generation, and other powerful influences.

The murder of George Floyd is just one of many instances that challenges us to look at the stigma so many members of our community face. Regardless of one’s background or history, there is no justification for such treatment of a fellow living being. Our only way of ceasing such unjust practices is to consider the full extent of the status quo, and take a hard look at our personal stances. While we can’t avoid the emergence of biases within, we must find the awareness and responsibility to face and correct them and work together toward an understanding that every living being deserves our utmost respect.

As an institution of higher education, training future business leaders in a vastly diverse society, Woodbury University’s School of Business understands and accepts its responsibility to inculcate increased sensitivity, reflectiveness, and awareness. While we can’t dictate opinions from others, we can incessantly work on enhancing respect for fellow persons, starting with stepping away from generalizations, reducing biases, examining mental models, and eradicating a myopic mindset within a highly diverse world.

Our efforts are insufficient as long as manifestations of violence toward any particular group continue. We understand that our work is not done alone by offering a passionate curriculum of ethical, diversity-sensitive, leadership, and acceptance-based education, but we also must continue the communication on a broader and more continuous scale. We therefore invite all School of Business stakeholders, direct and indirect, to look forward to our planned dialogues on enhancing our collective awareness, compassion and empathy, toward making our beloved world a better place.

In the meantime, please feel free to send any ideas and/or comments to bba@woodbury.edu.

Respectfully,

Joan