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Friday, November 19, 2021

Chancellor Black updates

Dear students,

I hope that the semester is going well for each of you. I have a few campus updates to share with you today.

ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge
I am proud that our students are active and engaged in our democracy. UMD recently received the 2020 campus gold seal in the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge which recognizes select higher education institutions, educators, and students for their extraordinary work in student voter engagement. Thank you to all of the campus departments and student organizations whose efforts led to this tremendous result!

DEI update
We continue to make good progress on a variety of diversity and inclusion efforts, including our campus Diversity and Inclusion action items. Some highlights include:

  • Modifying our Liberal Education Program to include a new category and courses that broadly focuses on social justice issues.
  • First-year students enrolled in UST 1000 completed the diversity, inclusion, and belonging module.
  • The Police Department has begun to implement recommendations from Dr. Cedric Alexander’s report. The department has taken significant steps in broadening officers’ skill sets in de-escalation, mental health and cultural sensitivity.
  • We have reinstated an American Indian Advisory Board (AIAB) for the UMD campus. The advisory board will serve as a liaison between American Indian communities and UMD.
  • Many collegiate and campus units are engaged in additional diversity and inclusion efforts. UMD has 14 unit change teams across the campus. Learn more about their work and initiatives.

As we look forward to a holiday break, I am very grateful for the efforts students have made to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on our campus. Our vaccination rates among students, faculty, and staff are very high and our usage of isolation and quarantine in on-campus living has been manageable.

We are in the middle of a surge in COVID-19 cases in our state and in the U.S. in general. The Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) guidance for holidays and gatherings has helpful information about preventing COVID-19. I encourage you to review this guidance and use it to inform your holiday plans.

MDH has signaled that they anticipate expansion of COVID-19 boosters will occur very soon for all adults 18 years of age and older. Additionally, anyone that received a J&J vaccine is already eligible and should get a booster after at least two months from their first shot. As a reminder, our Safe Campus COVID vaccinations page has information about vaccine availability. UMD Health Services is exploring the possibility of offering boosters on campus and we hope to have more information about this in the near future.

Please do your best to stay well while having an enjoyable and safe holiday weekend.


Lendley C. Black