I have watched with distress as the tragic events in the US have developed.
To our black students, staff and alumni: you are a valued and important part of the Fitz family. Fitzwilliam is proud to be a friendly and welcoming place to work and study, but in claiming this identity we must not be blind to the stark inequalities which remain in our society, nor to the ways in which those inequalities persist within the College and the University.
Systemic racism is not unique to the US: we are not exempt. Racism is unacceptable. It will not be tolerated at Fitzwilliam. Moreover, it is our shared responsibility to actively work to combat it.
COVID, the impact of which is only just unfolding, underscores how necessary this work is.
The immediate context of the current pandemic means that we are physically separate; many of you are also burdened by the pressures of exams and coursework. I do not wish to add to this burden today, but I do want to reassure you that we are listening, and this is not a passing moment at Fitz.
Last term, we created an Equality and Diversity working group. COVID delayed our first meeting, but it cannot wait. I will Chair this group, made up of students, staff and academics, and we will take an unflinching approach to the work ahead.