Jun 04, 2020

Together We Will Rise: A Message to the Tuck Student Body

By Teo Gonzalez T'21 and Roderick Milligan T'21

The following message was sent from the leadership of the Tuck Student Board on Monday, June 1, 2020 in response to the national discourse concerning racial injustice, police brutality, and the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd.

Tuck Community & Friends,

Last week with the murder of George Floyd and the racist actions towards Christian Cooper, I was reminded yet again that our society in the US is still far from where it needs to be. In this country our black brothers and sisters are persecuted in a way that should anger and incite us all. The injustices they suffer send a message that there are still places where you can be at a disadvantage from the day you are born. Silence sends a message that as fellow human beings in this society we are both advocates for the inequitable status quo and enemies of progress. I am writing to end this silence.

At Tuck, injustice and an idle attitude in the face of this injustice are directly contrary to everything we believe in. We are an institution that prides itself on developing decisive, wise leaders who will better the world through business. Our expectation is that we are creating leaders whose ambitions and success will be set by themselves, not by the limits of an unfair society that confines you to a box based on the color of your skin or any other characteristic that is your birthright. As incoming President of the Student Body at the Tuck School of Business I am writing to say that not only are we standing in support with our black brothers and sisters, we are moving to take action and be at the forefront to bear the weight of this fight for justice. Beginning immediately, we are exploring new opportunities to facilitate greater cultural competence within our community and to cultivate an understanding for how we can seize our powerful voices for civic engagement.

Roderick Milligan T’21, the Diversity and Inclusion Chair of the Tuck Student Body, and I have held many meetings over the past two weeks to analyze where we are as a community and where we need to be. Additionally, we have participated in an initial check-in discussion regarding these recent events at a joint meeting with BSAT and Tuck Africa club leaders, hosted by Dean Slaughter and Dean Jaeger. Beyond the programming we have had in the past, such as Controversial Conversations, we will now have panels and workshops where students and members of the community can learn about effective allyship, understand what is institutionalized racism, and more. Roderick will also be linking arm in arm with the leaders of TADA (Tuck Association of Diverse Alumni), Joyce Cadesca T’13 and Lisha Davis T’10, to coordinate aligned offerings.

Outside of Student Board, I also want to point out the power of individual efforts, which we will also be supporting. Leah Jack T’21 and Renée Hirschberg, Director of Alumni Engagement & Operations, are spearheading a civic engagement series that will promote community involvement and civic leadership among students and alumni. I cannot wait to support and participate in these and other initiatives, and as members of our community, I expect to feel your presence and participation throughout.

As these opportunities are finalized, I challenge each of us to become informed on the injustices that exist within our communities and thoughtful of the kind of society we want for ourselves and future generations. If you are an ally and feel like you are doing so much already, I still challenge you to continue moving this cause forward. Every moment that you think you are exhausted, remember there are others who live with that exhaustion every single day and that there are others who we wish were still with us to bear that exhaustion.

Pursuing justice is a matter of our humanity, not just a black, brown, or people of color issue, so we all have a role to play. This will be a struggle, but we will march this path together and I welcome you to share your thoughts or emotions with myself and Roderick. In times like these, our community needs to move together — supporting each other, learning and sharing from each other, listening and problem solving together. The people I have met during my year at Tuck are some of the most incredible, talented, and empathetic people I have ever met. As such, I firmly believe we are a group that can unite and lead our society in achieving sustainable, positive change.

Together We Will Rise,

Teo Gonzalez T’21
Student Body President

Roderick Milligan T’21
Diversity & Inclusion Chair