Letter From Dean Oliver - June 2020

From the Office of the Dean

June 10, 2020

College of Architecture and Design Community:

Like you, I am devastated over the death of Yates High School graduate George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. We have known about the deaths of far too many Black men and women who preceded him in similar situations. I believe we can no longer pay silent tribute, but must put some form of action toward addressing this reality. In architecture, there are less than 2.4% African Americans out of some 95,000 architects and I believe the numbers in the design professions are even lower. 

As individuals, and now collectively as the University, we must speak out against systemic racism. We must work to end the inequities in our professions that harm historically underserved populations.

In commitment to taking action, I would like to form a task force to determine how we, as a college, can do better at:

  • Addressing implicit bias among faculty, staff and students
  • Ensuring coursework prepares students to understand and address systemic racism
  • Cultivating and supporting a racially and ethnically diverse community of faculty, staff and students
  • Recognizing and reinforcing our work as professionals in underserved and marginalized communities

The task force will begin discussions this summer and continue in earnest in the fall. I am requesting reports with initial recommendations from the committee by October 15. Recommendations and action plans will be shared with our College community.

The task force members are:             

Sheryl Tucker DeVazquez, Chair
Michael Gonzales
Adam Wells
Susan Rogers

All the best,

Patricia Belton Oliver, FAIA, ACSA Distinguished Professor
Dean, Gerald D. Hines of College of Architecture and Design
University of Houston