In a 574-word statement released Monday afternoon, outgoing Indiana athletic director Fred Glass outlined a series of initiatives the IU athletic department will take to discuss racism and promote racial justice and equality.
This week, Glass and the IU Athletic Director’s Council on Diversity and Inclusivity, a group he founded four years ago, will co-host separate Zoom conversations with IU athletes, coaches and athletic department personnel to discuss their thoughts and feelings on the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis Police officer, and how Indiana should move forward. Additionally, Glass said, the IU Athletics Office of Counseling and Sport Psychology will reach out across the department to offer mental health services tailored to address the trauma from Floyd’s death and its aftermath.
“We can’t let ourselves be content to send the Floyd family our “thoughts and prayers” and then lapse into moving on to other things, or we will be condemning ourselves to continuing to endure these kinds of atrocities, and George Floyd’s death will have been in vain,” Glass said. “While almost any action seems insufficient given the overwhelming challenge that racism poses to all of us, that can’t deter us into inaction. We need to be the change we want to see in the world.”
Glass said his “heart has been hurting in a way I can’t remember it ever hurting” since seeing video of Floyd’s death last week. Glass, incoming athletic director Scott Dolson and senior associate athletic director and senior woman administrator Mattie White also met with members of the Athletic Director’s Council on Diversity and Inclusivity on Sunday, engaging in a conversation that Glass says further shaped his perspective.
“I know my pain is only a shadow of that being experienced by people of color because as a white person, I can never truly understand the depth of their pain,” Glass said. “This was underscored to me by a comment one of our female African-American students shared with me last night: ‘Mr. Glass, this is personal because somebody died because he looked like me.’
“Our students are hurting. All of them. They are our family, and we love them. We are proud to be a Department that has always put the holistic care and support of our students first, which is all the more important in tough times.”
After IU football coach Tom Allen became one of the first high-profile college coaches in the country to speak up about racial justice on Friday morning, Glass is the latest in Indiana’s athletic department to add a voice to the conversation.
Volleyball coach Steve Aird and women’s basketball coach Teri Moren have also offered their thoughts:
A James Baldwin quote in the pic...— Steve Aird (@CoachAird) May 29, 2020
"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends"-Martin Luther King Jr
What's happening is heartbreaking. It's racism. It needs to end... pic.twitter.com/UERgqHLOOB
May 31, 2020
Glass went on to say that the department will support athletes who wish to peacefully protest and share their feelings publicly.
“There are no easy or simple ways to fight racism or secure racial justice and equality,” Glass said. “But that can’t be a reason not to try. I am confident that by sharing with each other and working together we can make a meaningful difference in IU Athletics and beyond.”