University of Iowa Letter of Support

Diversity
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Dear University of Iowa College of Dentistry Administration,

We write to you today to express our support in continuing diversity, equity,
and inclusion (DEI) education in your institution. We also stand in harmony with
your students who are working behind the scenes to ensure the DEI trainings
remain since they are important in increasing cultural competency and making
students, faculty, and staff feel comfortable in academia and the workplace. We are
aware of the repercussions faced by the College of Dentistry’s statement deploring
former president Trump’s “Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex
Sterotyping”. The order’s purpose was to, unfortunately, end training that
encourages “anti-American race and sex stereotyping”. The order states that such
trainings are “rooted in the pernicious and false belief that America is an
irredeemably racist and sexist country”. Whereas these trainings strive to promote
the opposite; to educate about the different experiences we, as Americans and
human beings, face due to our race, gender, socioeconomic status, etc. We stand
with you on all things that promote inclusivity and unity, which are embodied by
the DEI trainings.

To the Iowa State legislator(s),

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training are implemented in dental professional
settings for manifesting a welcoming and inclusive environment for students and
prospective patients of any background. For a professional student to send out an
email chain that goes against these values creates an unsafe and exclusive learning
environment for already marginalized students and patients. This action is
intolerable. Most dental institutions would condemn this behavior and discipline
the student for such. That was not the case for Iowa College of Dentistry. Every
individual is entitled to free speech. However, when words and actions create an
insecure environment, it is unacceptable. The Iowa College of Dentistry serves
patients of all backgrounds and are “committed to a welcoming and inclusive
collegiate community for all students, faculty, staff and patients.” Therefore, we
ask you to re-evaluate your perspective and remember the plethora of backgrounds
the university serves and make up the communities in your own state.

At the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine, we strive to strengthen
our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts on all fronts. In this past year alone, the
school fully supported student efforts to shed light on the waves of racial injustices
across the country following the death of George Floyd by organizing a protest that
was attended by many students and faculty. Since then, faculty and staff have been
working tirelessly on committees to improve inclusivity and diversity within our
walls. The Office of Student Affairs has fully welcomed students to address any
concerns regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion with the goal of building a
stronger community within our institution where all members feel secure. All of
these efforts only strengthen a professional environment and empower individuals
who make up the fabric of the institution. Addressing issues of diversity, equity,
and inclusivity appropriately advances dental institutions and appeals to future
talent.

Steps to promote diversity for students, faculty and staff are outlined on the Action
UIowa Task Force website under actionable items. We support the UIowa Task
Force group in all it has done to advocate and promote the underrepresented
students, faculty, staff, and patients at the Iowa College of Dentistry. Bringing these
actionable items to life would increase cultural knowledge, decrease discrimination
and bias, and most of all, help to reduce the health disparities that exist in our
country today.

We stand alongside the students of the UIowa Task Force and all who have been
silenced and affected by the inadequate comfort and support at the Iowa College of
Dentistry that should be provided at every institution.

The University of Pittsburgh ASDA Chapter
Executive Board and Committee Chairs

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