An important message

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Earlier today, about 100 University of Redlands students engaged in a peaceful protest walk that began at the University’s Hunsaker Plaza, continued to the Administration building, and then progressed to Redlands City Hall in downtown Redlands before returning to campus. Our students were protesting the shooting of Ryan Gainer, a Black, autistic teenager who was shot and killed on March 9 by deputies from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. Our community and communities across the country mourn Ryan’s death.

I write this letter in support of our students’ First Amendment right to peacefully protest, and to acknowledge their frustration, anger, and fears. During the walk, our University Public Safety Department and the Redlands Police Department assisted our students in their right to protest by working at a distance to monitor their safety. We educate our students to use their voices to share their concerns on matters that are important to them and society at large.

The University of Redlands is a diverse community of learners and educators, all of whom are seen, valued, and appreciated. We hail from different backgrounds, interests, and perspectives, and it is our compassion and empathy for one another, and our desire to listen and learn from each other, that constitutes our strength as a University community.

My statement today is an opportunity to highlight and restate our commitment to these principles. We strive to actively support our students and help you navigate difficult situations - both within and outside our community. As a reminder, our Counseling Center is readily available to provide support to any student in need, complemented by the services offered through TimelyCare. For our employees, the University’s Employee Assistance and Advocacy Program is also available to assist. For our neurodivergent students, the University’s Academic Success and Accessibility Department provides you with support and accommodations. I also encourage you to connect with the Office of Community Service Learning. Our CSL office is nationally recognized for its ability to provide internships and opportunities to serve and advance the needs of our students and young people in the local community, including Black students and Students of Color.

In the coming weeks and months, the University of Redlands will be providing additional opportunities to engage in topics of racial and social justice. I encourage everyone in our Redlands community to make the very most of what this university does best: to have conversations and listen to one another. As we grapple with challenges local, national, and international, there is always an opportunity to engage in peace efforts. The Office for Inclusion & Community (OIC) will host a peace talk led by Dr. Andrew Blum, executive director of the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice. The talk is made possible by the Oliver de Wolf and Edith M. Cummings Lecture on World Peace. Dr. Blum will discuss building peace with justice on Tuesday, March 26, at 6 p.m. in HOL 100.

Our Bulldog community is just that – a community – and despite the difficult challenges we face as a society, we are here to support one another and provide a foundation for positive change.


Krista L. Newkirk