Paulette Granberry Russell, J.D.

President's Message

Pain. This last week has been one of utter pain. Deep in the soul pain. Watching cities burn. Calling out the names of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. Watching horrified as protesters and law enforcement collide--riot gear, tear gas, rubber bullets, and burning buildings--lives lost.

Trauma. It is unceasing. I was talking to a 25-year old Black man who told me if he had been present while the police officer was kneeling on the neck of George Floyd as he was dying he would have pushed the officer off of him.  I said what I felt in my heart, “and you would have been killed.” One more Black man dead. My heart is heavy, and yet, there is no rest. As campus leaders, it is important that we speak out against the relentless atrocities that we are bearing witness to that are unjust and inhumane. In addition, we must stand with members of our campus community who are outraged by what is playing out on the world stage.  

Inequities. As with the gross historical and legal injustices and inequities associated with today’s protests, COVID-19 continues to lay bare inequities many of us have repeatedly pointed out, spoken out against, and collaborated with scholars to educate others about as we do our work. We know many of our students will be returning from communities (Black, Brown and Indigenous) disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Many of us have been working with other leaders on plans for reopening our campuses. Faculty and staff are adjusting to working and teaching remotely, as deep cuts in budgets are resulting in furloughs and layoffs and reorganizations. We have staff on our campuses who are facing uncertain futures that include reduced or no paychecks and permanent loss of jobs and incomes that support them and their families.  Too often, these are employees that can least afford the cost cutting measures taken by our institutions to deal with the significant losses, or planned losses of revenue. 

Resolve. NADOHE members, colleagues, and friends at home and abroad, we will look out for each other because that is what we do. We will support each other during a period of time that is testing our resolve and the resolve of our communities, and our country to fight racism and create a more equitable and just global society. As an organization, we have mounted renewed efforts to provide timely webinars and curated conversations that are on topics relevant to your work in this moment. We have plans underway to offer a Senior CDO Conversations series for one-on-one virtual conversations to provide added assistance to you as needed. If there is more you need from NADOHE, please let us know what we can do to support you.

Members are the lifeblood of NADOHE; NADOHE is your professional home and community.

Paulette Granberry Russell, J.D.

The National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE) serves as the preeminent voice for diversity officers in higher education. Its vision is to lead higher education towards inclusive excellence through institutional transformation.