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A Message from
Dean Rapaccioli

Announcements | Jun 02, 2020 |

Dear Gabelli School Community,

I am writing to you as we mourn the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor – African Americans killed by law enforcement officers and others.

George Floyd’s brutal death while handcuffed and in custody on May 25, at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, came just three months after Ahmaud Arbery was gunned down while on a jog, and two months after Breonna Taylor was killed in her home. In our own city just last week, many of us were appalled by the video of a young woman using the police to threaten a black man while he was bird watching in Central Park.

I share the same sentiments expressed by Fordham President Father McShane, who commented that these acts go against everything that a Jesuit university stands for. He also writes that, as a university community, our intellectual and moral duty is to recommit ourselves to the work of educating for justice. 

All of these recent tragedies have been very difficult to witness, and I do not think any words I might offer can suffice during this moment in our collective history. 

I acknowledge that people of color within the Gabelli School and the larger Fordham University family feel angry and traumatized by these recent events. I also recognize groups within our community who do not identify as persons of color, but who – like me – are searching for answers and aiming to more accurately understand the complexities of the systemic issues that produce these acts, and the ways we can actively help.

As a dean, I understand that we all have a shared responsibility to address these issues. This burden should not be placed solely on the shoulders of those traumatized or most directly affected. Cultural awareness and care for the whole person are cornerstones of a Gabelli School education, and we need support, care and as much sensitivity as we can summon in order to begin finding real solutions to issues of racial inequality.

At the Gabelli School, we are committed to elevating the voices of leaders and organizations who address these discrepancies head-on, and who are working to mitigate systemic inequality in its many forms. We are proud to lift up the voices of those who champion racial justice within our own community, led by the efforts of Faculty Member Clarence Ball III and the diversity, equity and inclusion group at the Gabelli School. Still, these efforts must go so much farther than that.

We also commend the modern workplaces that are working toward change by employing diverse hiring practices, by partnering with Minority- and Women-owned Business Enterprises, by ensuring pay equity, and supporting ally programs in the workplace.

But tomorrow will be up to you, as Jesuit-educated business leaders. I want each of you to realize that you will be the ones who set the standards for change. You will have the opportunity to be the decision-makers who create systems that support equity and equality or cast it aside. We are here to support you in that journey.

We may not have all the answers we are looking for today, but I hope that you feel compelled to continue asking important questions such as, How can we as the Fordham community work together to stop hate? How can we as the Fordham community build a truly inclusive community?

You may be interested the #Letstalkbias blog series, which is the work of Tayo Rockson, GABELLI ’15. Tayo works with industry leaders to communicate effectively across cultures with impact. We will be sharing more about other members of our community who are also on the frontlines of leading the cultural change needed today. 

Lastly, I welcome your feedback concerning ways we can support lasting change. Please feel free to connect with me at rapaccioli@fordham.edu, or with Clarence Ball, interim director of diversity, equity and inclusion at the Gabelli School of Business at cball8@fordham.edu.

Together, we will move forward.


Donna Rapaccioli
Dean, Gabelli School of Business

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