Dean Bradley's Statement on Diversity and Inclusion


I would like to speak to the current crisis in race relations in the wake of the murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd. As a white man from another country, I cannot truly know what it is like to be black in America. While the Catholics and Protestants of Northern Ireland were finally able to find a resolution after centuries of lethal conflict, a resolution to American racism remains seemingly elusive. I am committed to do everything that I am empowered to do to move us closer to an end to the toxic and historical inequity experienced by black people in this country today.

In recent days I have asked myself two important questions.

What can I do, in addition to public comments of comfort and support?

Have I been an agent of change for the end of racial bigotry and bias?   The honest answer to that is I have not.  I apologize to my black friends and colleagues for that.

Having answered the second I would like to put action steps into the first question, what our Diversity Committee expressed so well in the letter that was circulated earlier. Yesterday morning I met with a group of our black students, faculty and staff to have a conversation.  We talked about a lot of things, “the ability to speak and be heard”, “the underlying biases”, “the insensitive comments”, “keeping your head down” and the daily pain of just “going along to get along.” There are widespread feelings of loneliness and fear here, at ULSD, through sustained microaggressions and racism on a daily basis. 

Our black family members are hurting. Moreover, they feel they have no outlet to address this pain or to be heard.  Pain is palpable and with little relief in sight as we enter into another election cycle and are adjusting to the practice of dentistry in a new normal of post COVID-19.

As a faculty member, dean and human being, I have a responsibility to examine the actions on many levels – starting with myself. We must examine our structures and systems at ULSD to be sure that they are fair and that our individual and collections actions represent the school family members with equanimity.

This is where we must begin the work:

First, conversation.  We cannot be silent. The time for courageous human conversations and action has begun.

Second, Sustained Action.  I believe that we can address our polarized or divided institutions and community together. We each bring different strengths to our school. I pledge to be an ally with my own actions and I ask that you all join me with the strengths and talents you bring.

Over the next two weeks, I will be meeting with students, staff and faculty.  By July 6th I will be presenting the ULSD family with action items to which I and colleagues will be accountable. You – as members of our ULSD family – will be invited to join in the conversations and actionable steps.

T. Gerard Bradley, BDS, MS, Dr.Med.Dent.

Professor and Dean