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Friday, July 13, 2018

Completion of Preventing and Responding to Sexual Misconduct Training

Dear UMD Faculty, Staff, and Administrators:

I would like to express my sincere appreciation and thanks to the UMD community for completing the Preventing and Responding to Sexual Misconduct online training. As of today, 98.94% of UMD employees and 99.76% of UMD supervisors have completed the training, which translates to only 11 employees and 1 supervisor at UMD who have not yet finished the training module. The Office of Human Resources for the University of Minnesota System will follow-up with those who did not complete this requirement. In addition, they will develop a process for all new employees to take the online training as part of their onboarding at UMD.

Combating sexual assault and sexual harassment continues to be a priority at UMD, and this one training alone will not be enough to achieve our goal of a campus that is safe and welcoming to everyone. However, it is a positive beginning in the right direction. I will follow-up on the recent and productive discussion I had with the UMD Commission for Women about the training and what next steps we can take to reinforce the principles found in the training module.  

The UMD Sexual Violence Response Team is also developing follow-up initiatives to the online training in order to give faculty and staff ongoing opportunities to further develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to combat inappropriate behavior. We also need to continue our efforts to ensure that victims know how and when to report incidents and how to acquire the support they need. We also need to equip supervisors with the skills and knowledge necessary to assist employees and to create ever better work environments. Additional information about the UMD Chancellor's Initiative to Prevent Sexual Misconduct can be found here: http://d.umn.edu/sexual-assault/prevention.

Like the prevention of racism, homophobia, xenophobia, and other forms of discrimination, preventing sexual misconduct begins with understanding when behaviors are inappropriate. In addition, individuals should take an honest look at their own biases and commit to not engaging in harmful behaviors or excusing the bad behaviors of others.

Thank you again for your efforts to create the welcoming and inclusive campus climate we all deserve.

Lendley C. Black

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Regent Budget Input Session at UMD, Wed May 16

Dear Campus Community:

Please see the link to the announcement from the Board of Regents office in regards to the U of M System FY 2019 Annual Operating Budget and opportunities for feedback.  Note that campus and community members are invited to attend and provide feedback during an input session on Wednesday, May 16 from 3:30 - 5:00 p.m. in the 4th floor Library Rotunda. The event will start with a brief budget overview by Senior Vice President of Finance and Operations Brian Burnett.


Lendley Black

Monday, April 23, 2018

Save the Date: Fall 2018 Faculty & Staff Welcome

Dear Colleagues, 

As we get ready to send off yet another graduating class of Bulldogs, we are also looking forward to next semester. Please mark your calendars for the Fall 2018 Faculty & Staff Welcome:
Monday, August 20th from 8:30 - 10:00 a.m.
Ward Wells Fieldhouse

Have a great final two weeks of the academic year. Thank you for all of your dedication this year, and best of luck to our graduates. 

Lendley Black

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A Reminder of Our Values

Dear Campus Community,

As we await the arrival of spring and turn the corner toward the end of another academic year, our UMD community continues to be challenged in our efforts toward equity, inclusion, and social justice. We have once again seen an increase in overt demonstrations of hate and intolerance, behaviors that run counter to our values as a community. None of this is unique to UMD. Across the nation there has been a rise in hate crimes and rhetoric against under-represented members of our communities. However, it is happening here, and we must take a strong stance against it. UMD has overtly stated in our strategic plan , through our values and goals and Campus Climate Initiative a strong commitment to equity and social justice. As a learning community, we must be prepared to call ourselves and each other out when we fall short and educate ourselves as we strive to do better.

Over the weekend, there were several expressions found on social media and geotagged from UMD that fall short of our values and goals. We want you to know that we are aware of these incidents, along with others. We are tracking them and we are doing what we can to mitigate their harmful impact. Incidents of hate and intolerance that appear in certain social media platforms are often difficult to track, making identification of the person responsible not possible. We have taken steps to flag inappropriate content on snapchat that has been geotagged to UMD. Such expressions that are obviously hurtful do not sustain the values we aspire to achieve.

Building a campus climate that encourages and supports equity, inclusion, and social justice is about more than one incident, or one person - it is about systems, structures, and each one of us. It is up to all of us to demonstrate our valuing of equity and inclusion and of each other as members of the UMD community. We ALL have a responsibility as members of the UMD community to educate ourselves, to be leaders toward inclusion, and to do what we can to influence others to act through the lens of Goal 2 of our strategic plan. We want to also remind you of the importance of reporting any incidents that undermine and damage a safe, respectful, and diverse campus climate. Report those incidents here.

If you are feeling unsafe at any time or for any reason you can call 911 immediately. We invite you to seek out additional campus resources

Together, we can be the change we wish to see.


Lendley C. Black

Thursday, April 12, 2018

HLC Reaccreditation Visit April 16-17

UMD Colleagues,

As you know, the Higher Learning Commission will have an evaluation team on campus Monday and Tuesday (April 16-17). Every ten years higher education institutions must undergo a comprehensive review to certify reaccreditation and eligibility to receive and distribute federal financial aid (among other things). This ten-year review comes after the university has prepared an assurance argument, what we used to call a self-study, and a federal compliance packet. This process of collecting institutional information and verifying supporting evidence generally takes a year or more.

UMD has been ably led in this process by Dr. Jennifer Mencl, a group of faculty and staff serving in coordinating roles for the preparation of the documents, and other groups working on the various criteria. I very much appreciate the tremendous work that Dr. Mencl and the team have done to get UMD prepared for what we anticipate to be a very productive and positive site review.

I encourage you all to participate as you can in the various meetings and open forums that are part of the site visit. If you wish to learn more about the process and read our documents, they are available at http://d.umn.edu/accreditation/2018-hlc-visit

Lendley C. Black


Tuesday, April 3, 2018

President Kaler Visit to UMD Friday, April 20

 Dear Campus Community,

President Kaler will be visiting campus on Friday, April 20, 2018. He will spend the day meeting with a variety of campus community members, with a particular focus on research and active learning. Please join me for conversation and refreshments with President Kaler at a campus reception in the Tweed Museum from 4:00-4:45 p.m.

Thank you.

Lendley C. Black

Friday, March 16, 2018

Continued support for diversity, inclusion, and Bulldog athletics

Dear colleagues,

The athletics trial with former Women's Hockey Coach Shannon Miller concluded today.  The jury found UMD liable on Shannon Miller's claim that her gender was a motivating factor in UMD's decision not to offer her a new coaching contract. UMD was also found liable on her claim that UMD retaliated against her for complaining about discrimination. With these findings, the jury has awarded damages of roughly $3,744,832 in past wages and emotional distress.

While I respect the judicial process and the jury's decision, I respectfully disagree with the verdict. I remain confident that our decision was not based on discrimination or retaliation. I stand by my decision. I understand that some members of our campus community may feel differently than I do and I respect that. This is an emotional matter that I take very seriously.

UMD leadership is committed to ensuring that UMD continues to provide a diverse and inclusive campus community. I am personally committed to keeping our campus focused on ways in which we can grow and better ensure that all members of our campus community feel respected, safe, and welcome at UMD.

Our priority has always been to provide our students with the best educational experience. That will continue to be our priority. Our campus has a lot to be proud of and we will continue to provide quality teaching and learning experiences, research that positively impacts our region, and engage in public outreach.

I also recognize that we are already in a budget deficit and there are many questions about the impact of the monetary damages awarded.  We are responsible for the first $10,000 of the judgment, which athletics has funding in place to cover. We will know if there is more to be covered when the final details are worked out.

As well, I need to reiterate my continued support for Athletic Director Josh Berlo and his leadership. I am incredibly proud of him, the athletics staff, and the student-athletes who have remained focused throughout this time and seen tremendous success in the classroom, competition, and community.

Thank you,

Lendley Black