New Faculty/Staff Wellness Program: Employee Summer Recess

Looking to de-stress and have some fun after work? Miss the days of recess? Join your colleagues for the Employee Summer Recess program on the RAC tennis courts! Come out and play cornhole, ladderball, pickleball and badminton. We will have hula hoops and music too. Recess will be held Thursdays from 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. on June 16th, June 30th, July 14th, July 28th and August 11th. Employee BBQ scheduled for the July 14th and August 11th sessions! Sign up at www.umbc.edu/training.

Orlando Statement by the LGBTQ Faculty & Staff Association

The members of the UMBC Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Faculty and Staff Association are horrified, grieved, and heartbroken in response to the hate crime/mass murder in Orlando on Sunday. We send our love and support to the Orlando LGBTQIAA+ Latinx community, the LGBTQIAA+ Muslim community, and the broader LGBTQIAA+ community. Those of us who are able are donating to LGBTQIAA+ organizations in Orlando to provide tangible help as those communities continue to grieve.

To the LGBTQIAA+ students, staff, and faculty members who are not members of the LGBTQ Faculty and Staff Association, we want you to know that you are not alone. We are here with you (you can contact us at lgbtfsa@umbc.edu), to grieve, to provide support, and to plan for the next steps in the social change that must happen. Acts of hate and terror will not bend our community’s resolve to continue our teachings about love in the face of years of violence against our communities. We are firm in our belief that violence, whether from a terrorist act, or from a homophobic individual, will not defeat us or our hard earned freedoms. We are also planning a vigil, and will soon announce details.

We recognize that our strength comes from our collective power to engage in conversation and to reach out to others. We condemn the exploitation of the Orlando hate crime to spread further hate and violence towards Muslims. We express solidarity with LGBTQIAA+ Muslims who may be feeling unsafe due to the intersection of their identities, and with the Muslim community more generally, whose safety is threatened every time sensationalized reporting immorally generalizes from the acts of a single, violent person to an entire group of people.

To our allies: We appreciate your support, and ask that you continue to listen to members of our community for the types of help that are most needed. Many in our community are feeling outraged, and it is very good to have visible allies who remind us that there are others who are also fighting for our safety and dignity. We have included a list of specific action steps at the end of this statement.

The members of the LGBTQ Faculty and Staff Association span the generations, and many of us have experienced the long history of violence and institutionalized homophobia and transphobia in this country. As we listen to the news coverage of the murders in Orlando, we have never been more convinced of the importance of our work as teachers, researchers, advocates, and allies to our LGBTQIAA+ colleagues and students. The media has not done a great job of including experts in the fields of gender or sexuality in their coverage, or explaining the history of violence directed toward LGBTQIAA+ people of color at gay bars. That this attack happened during gay pride month only adds salt to the wound. Gay pride is a time for celebrating the start of the modern gay liberation movement that was kicked off by the 1969 uprising at the Stonewall Inn in New York’s Greenwich Village where LGBTQIAA+ people (many of whom were also from the Latinx community) had been routinely harassed an d assaulted by police, and for the first time, fought back. The Orlando hate crime is only the latest chapter in a long history of violence against LGBTQIAA+ people who have come together in bars and clubs to congregate in safe spaces, only to become the targets of violence.

We have also seen substantial social change/progress and an astonishing expansion of legal protections in our lifetimes. A year ago this month, the U.S. Supreme Court guaranteed LGBTQIAA+ people the right to marry all across the country; but our struggle is not over. We actively resist the complacency that can come from progress, because we see that not all members of our communities have benefited equally from these social and institutional changes. In addition to the Orlando murder of a shocking number of Latinx members of our community, there has been a recent rash of “bathroom bills” across the country targeting transgender and gender non-conforming people, many states still lack legal protections for employment and housing discrimination against LGBTQIAA+ people, and there is an epidemic of murder and violence particularly directed at people of color in our community (for example, the majority of the 31 transgender people murdered in the U.S. in 2015-2016 to date were people of color; of the 802 reported hate crimes against lesbians and gay men in the U.S. in 2015, nearly 60 percent were people of color).

It is very clear: we must continue to fight for the lives and dignity of all members of our community. And there are specific steps we can take to press forward at this time. Some suggestions from members of our community are:

  • Amplify the thoughts of LGBTQIAA+ people on social media (by sharing posts written by LGBTQIAA+ people) rather than sharing your own statements directly
  • Attend the UMBC vigil to demonstrate your support (details to be released soon)
  • offer to listen to and support your LGBTQIAA+ friends if they want to talk, and cook them a meal or keeping them company if they think it would help
  • Write to your elected officials demanding legislation to protect LGBTQIAA+ people from discrimination in employment and housing; to control access to automatic weapons; to end the ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood; and to ensure access to bathrooms for people of all gender identities (information about contacting your elected officials is here: www.usa.gov/elected-officials or mgaleg.maryland.gov)
  • Donate money to LGBTQIAA+ organizations in Orlando that are doing the work to help the communities in Orlando cope and support each other (for example, Equality Florida, Planting Peace, and the LGBT Community Center of Central Florida.)

Now accepting applications for the 2017-2019 Cohort of Postdoctoral Fellows for Faculty Diversity

Office of the Provost invites applications for the UMBC Postdoctoral Fellows Program for Faculty Diversity, now through November 4, 2016.

The purpose of the Program is to support promising scholars who are committed to diversity in the academy and to prepare those scholars for possible tenure track appointments at UMBC. We are particularly interested in receiving applications from individuals who are members of groups that historically have been underrepresented in the professoriate.

For more information, and to learn more about qualifications and the application process, please see the UMBC application form.

UMBC is dedicated to ensuring a diverse, scholarly environment and encouraging outstanding individuals to enter the academic profession.

UMBC leaders share messages of solidarity following Orlando tragedy

In response to horrific news of a mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12, 2016, President Freeman Hrabowski and Provost Philip Rous shared this message with the campus community:

We are deeply saddened by the senseless and appalling act of terror and hatred that took so many innocent lives early Sunday morning in Orlando. On behalf of the UMBC community, we express sympathy for the families and friends of the victims, the people of Orlando, the LGBTQ community, and all victims of terrorist acts across the globe.

This horrific act of violence and intolerance impacts our own UMBC community. We remain committed to ensuring a safe environment for our students, faculty, and staff, and we value the contributions every individual makes to our campus. We are reminded of how important it is to support one another, across boundaries of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, and sexual orientation, and we hope that our culture of inclusiveness and acceptance at UMBC will be a source of strength as we stand together to uphold our collective values.

As we consider the difference the UMBC community can make during this challenging time, we encourage students, faculty, and staff to take advantage of the following campus resources:

Our thoughts are with the individuals and families affected by this tragedy.

Update on Admin Building Elevators

A message from Lynne Schaefer, Vice President, Finance and Administration:

As you know, we are having significant challenges with the elevators in the Administration Building. The elevators are safe to use. The elevator controls, which regulate access to the floors, are more than 20 years old. Diagnosing the problem and obtaining parts has been challenging.

The elevators will be modernized this year, and state-of-the-art controls will replace the current system. Plans are in process for this project.

We know this is an inconvenience for many on campus, and we truly appreciate your patience as we develop a long-term solution to this challenge. We are leaving no stone unturned as we look for a temporary solution; however, there may not be one.

I will keep you updated as plans develop.

Faculty/Staff Facilitators Needed for UMBC’s New Student Book Experience

UMBC’s New Student Book Experience for 2016-17 and UMBC’s 50th Anniversary celebration is Not in My Neighborhood by Antero Pietila.

All new students attending UMBC in fall 2016 are expected to read the book Not in My Neighborhood. As part of Welcome Week, the book discussions will be held on Monday, August 29th from 3 to 4:15 p.m. Discussion groups will be limited to 20-25 students and will meet in various on campus locations, including the Residence Halls. We are looking for faculty and staff who are interested in serving as facilitators.

Persons interested in facilitating a group should indicate their interest by contacting Barbara Smith at bsmith@umbc.edu. Discussion leaders will be asked to participate in a conversation about the book on Friday, August 26 from 12-1:30 p.m. in ITE 456. Lunch will be provided. We will spend time in conversation focusing on themes and questions that will enhance discussion within your group. Thank you, in advance, for supporting this initiative. This is a wonderful opportunity to engage with our new students and help them learn about our expectations and commitment to excellence in education.

If you have questions, contact Jill Randles at jrandles@umbc.edu or call 410-455-3715.

SAVE THE DATE: Pietila will be on campus on Thursday, October 13. His talk will be at 7 p.m. in the UC Ballroom, with a book signing to follow. This opportunity is free and open to the public.