Standing Together With All DUS Learners

A special message from our Executive Director:

Standing Together With All DUS Learners: A Response to the Nation’s Unrest

Over the past several years, we have witnessed minoritized communities—Asian, Muslim, Indigenous, LGBTQ+, Hispanic/Latinx, Black, etc.—become the targets of increasing verbal, physical, psychological, and systemic attacks. Many of these communities continue to witness racism, tragic loss of life, and stratification and disparities playing out on multiple fronts (e.g., health, housing, economic opportunities, etc.). We as learners need to find effective solutions to the problems that divide, challenge, and undermine our community and joint humanity.

Racism and other forms of discrimination have no place within the Division of Undergraduate Studies and Penn State at large. In face of the current national unrest, we stand in solidarity with Black communities and will join in support of all communities experiencing discrimination and marginalization.

In the Division of Undergraduate Studies, our work is to use the transformative power of higher education to challenge our assumptions, to grow as individuals, and to build interconnected communities that nourish and value each other. As one of the largest enrollment units at Penn State, we have students who come from a wide range of communities, experiences, and values. Our goal is to create space where the voices and lived experiences of each individual student can be validated and heard. By advising and guiding students through the abundant opportunities at Penn State, we hope to advance students’ understanding of themselves and our world.

The transformative power of higher education is to advance quality of life for individuals worldwide. Unfortunately, the events of recent days illustrate that racism continues to affect our communities, foster inequities, and undermine the ability to improve our world. The injustices that white privilege has embedded in our world must be acknowledged and challenged if we truly hope to move individuals and communities forward in a way that advances equity for all members of our interconnected communities. The work of the Division of Undergraduate Studies is to engage students and others in thoughtful dialogue that will help Penn State achieve the broader goals of equity and inclusion that it embraces.

We stand together in speaking out against racism and other forms of hatred that undermine communities near and far. Together we embrace higher education as an imperative for finding solutions that will foster inclusivity, knowledge, and humanity.


David R. Smith, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Advising and
    Executive Director
The Division of Undergraduate Studies