Juneteenth – Our Nation’s Newest Federal Holiday

Juneteenth became our nation’s newest national holiday last week. Only a few days earlier, Governor Janet Mills signed a bill designating June 19 as a paid state holiday starting in June of 2022. Although long celebrated in African American communities, until recently few knew the significance of Juneteenth.  Many consider Juneteenth as our country’s second Independence Day. It is a day to celebrate the joy of freedom, while also acknowledging the many wrongs of slavery and the ongoing need to address racial disparities in the United States. Lynett Roy, a member of the Bangor Advising team, DEI Council Member, and UMA graduate, shares her reflections on Juneteenth.

June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month

We celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride Month in June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan and to recognize the impact LGBTQ+ individuals have had on history. Pride Month is a time to celebrate the LGBTQ+ culture, to support and advocate for queer rights, and a time to remember those who lost their lives to hate crimes and/or HIV/AIDS. For those not a member of the LGBTQ+ community, Pride Month is a time to learn what it means to be an ally and show your support for the LGBTQ+ community.  Read UMA Student leaders Pride Month reflections here.

The University of Maine at Augusta (UMA) is committed to free speech and fosters an environment in which all members of our community have access to a vibrant, enriching education befitting a democracy. A hallmark of our work is academic freedom and open inquiry. We are proud to affirm our ongoing commitment to an education that is diverse, inclusive, equitable and anti-racist.  We recognize that diversity is a strength, and encourage our college community to examine issues related to: race, ethnicity, nationality, culture, gender, gender identity/expression, religion, sexual orientation, age, veteran status, and disability.

UMA applauds the endeavors of students, faculty and staff who engage in this work, including the development of programs and curricula. Through these and other undertakings, UMA actively promotes the lively exchange of ideas to improve our efforts and be responsive to the needs of our community. UMA will continue to lead by example, rising to the challenge of embracing change, acknowledging shortcomings, and prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion in pursuit of our mission.

The President’s Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion provides support and advocacy for these efforts.

Endorsed by Faculty Senate: 2/19/21
Endorsed by President’s Cabinet: 2/23/21

Related Links

Title IX –Equal Opportunity Resources »
University of Maine System Board of Trustees Policy Section 212: Free Speech, Academic Freedom, and Civility »
General Education Requirement – Cultural Diversity »

UMA is committed to ensuring a productive and inclusive environment for all members of our diverse community, which includes people of all abilities, races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, nationalities, religious traditions, socioeconomic classes, and ages. The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Council will work to support strategic initiatives, partnerships, advocacy, innovation, and educational programs that will create, sustain, and enrich UMA’s institutional commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion of its entire community. They will also work to identify challenges, propose strategies, and make recommendations for new and ongoing policies that support DEI initiatives.

Putting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion into Action

The DEI Council will:

  • Promote a long-term and sustained culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion that is flexible, evolving, and open to continual improvement.
  • Establish institutional funding for ongoing education and training programs in DEI areas, to include regular professional development opportunities for all members of the community.
  • Recognize that inequalities and exclusions are the products of both structural policies and unconscious prejudice, and that DEI initiatives are not possible without both institutional support and healthy self-reflection and openness to learning from all members of our community.
  • Organize and promote workshops, activities, professional development, and research in DEI related areas and advocate that these opportunities be supported and rewarded through administrative and institutional support. These development activities should be provided by university professionals as well as initiated by student interests in order to better address structural blind spots and increase attention to diverse students’ actual needs.
  • Create a shared culture of DEI through deliberate and public expressions of DEI values. This means that we will seek to actively and positively create learning communities that are inclusive of sex, gender identity, race, ethnicity, religion, age, and income differences and actively understand and promote the benefits of DEI across our entire community.
  • Intentionally prioritize and support faculty efforts to integrate DEI research, tools, and perspectives into their curriculum and classroom practices.
  • Intentionally recruit and retain faculty, students, and staff that reflect multicultural and diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives.

Susan Baker, Co-Chair
Professor of Science

Gregory Fahy, Co-Chair
Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

Aaminah Aleem
Administrative Specialist, Office of Student Life

Jessica Angelova
Student Representative

Lisa Botshon
Professor of English

Amanda Brown
Student Representative

Patricia Clark
Lecturer of Mental Health and Human Services

Leslie Devine
Project Coordinator to End Gender-Based Violence

David Leon
Student Representative

Noel March
Lecturer of Justice Studies and Director of the Maine Community Policing Institute

Jennifer Moody
Student Representative

Laura Rodas
Associate Dean of Students

Terri Reiter
Director of the Center for Student Support and Development

Lynett Roy
Staff Associate for Academic Advising

Valerie Rubinsky
Assistant Professor of Communications

Joseph Spiller
Liaison to the Student General Assembly

Shelley Taylor
Student Services Coordinator, UMA Brunswick Center

Rebecca White
Assistant Professor of History