Interim Dean Gordon Gillespie Public Apology

In January 2023, Interim Dean Gordon Gillespie provided a public apology for historical racial bias and commitment to the College of Nursing students.

I want to sincerely apologize for the experiences that some of our students reported that they have had over the years. Since becoming the interim dean, I have heard students report their experiences of feeling unwelcome. It is disappointing that these experiences have occurred. We need to do better.

Among the experiences shared with me have been perceptions about the bust of Florence Nightingale. Although some see Nightingale as an icon of nursing research, and a founder of modern nursing; others see her differently. Nightingale expressed views, that although were common during her day, are considered biased and racist today. As a result, the bust of Nightingale in our college lobby created conflict that impeded our core mission of educating students and producing the next generation of professional nurses. To promote a more inclusive environment, the bust of Nightingale was moved out of the lobby on December, 19 [2022] and into a third-floor conference room along with other nursing memorabilia.

Traditionally, the celebration of a new year is coupled with a commitment. My new year’s commitment as the interim dean for the college of nursing is to be purposeful and transparent. As evidence of this commitment, the following actions will take place:

1.      A new fund will be established to support college of nursing programming that promotes cultural awareness, sensitivity, and competence. A minimum of $10,000 will be added to this fund each academic year starting this year.

2.      All policies and procedures owned by the college of nursing will be reviewed by December 2023. College of nursing students, staff, and faculty members will be encouraged to participate in this review.

3.      I will provide opportunities for students to meet with me to discuss their experiences.

Although it will take time for this vision to be accomplished, I pledge to being steadfast and resilient in both my personal and the college’s efforts to promote and foster a culture here that is safe and inclusive for everyone. Together we can make a difference within our college of nursing environment.