Raikes School Statement on Racial Injustice


In early June, the Raikes School’s Executive Director, Steve Cooper, and Corporate Advisory Board shared a statement on the Raikes School’s website regarding racial injustice. The message is as follows:

Dear Friends,

It's hard to express how the past several days have felt, both from digesting and experiencing what's happening nationwide to hearing further news of violence and injustice.

We hope you are coming into this new week having been able to spend some time on self-care and talking with loved ones — please take time to do so however you can.

The Raikes School Board mourns the death of George Floyd, a black man who was murdered by police in Minnesota. This unacceptable violence, along with the recent deaths of Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and unfortunately so many others, are disturbing reminders of the deep systemic issues of racism and police brutality that remain in our country. This has happened against a backdrop of a global pandemic, with societal disparities made glaringly clear in everything from our education system, housing, access to benefits, and basic food security for people in this time of need. We are here to stand with and support the communities personally impacted by this continued violence and inequity.

The Raikes School is working with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion to develop a plan to recruit, support, and retain more students, faculty, and staff of color in our Raikes School community. We are incorporating unconscious bias, diversity, equity, and inclusion education and discussions into freshmen and senior seminars. Additionally, we are hosting a summer camp aimed at bringing computer science education to high school students who have had no previous experience with computing. We will increase recruitment efforts in communities underrepresented in computing, including students of color. We recognize we still have work to do.

There’s no quick fix for what’s happening today, and what’s required is deep systemic change that’s hard for anyone to take on alone. But in taking any action that feels right to you, whether it’s joining a protest, reaching out to friends and family, or educating yourself on the issues, this community is here to support you.

The Raikes School strives to be a community that is actively anti-racist, and we believe that our students and alumni will be part of the positive change we need in this world.

Steve Cooper & The Raikes School Corporate Advisory Board

The Raikes School has made progress in increasing gender diversity, our incoming freshmen class is 44% female. However, we still have work to do regarding Students of Color. Twenty-seven percent of the incoming freshmen cohort are Students of Color and 19% of the undergraduates currently in the Raikes School are Students of Color. As noted in the statement above, the Raikes School team is working closely with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and other campus and community-based organizations to create and execute plans to recruit, retain, and support a more diverse student population.

The Raikes School’s summer camp, held each July for rising high school seniors, serves as a platform to offer computer science education to students who may not have time or access to computing curriculum through their high school. The camp provides a quality path to identify talented students who could thrive in the Raikes School and offers participants connections to current students, alumni, and Raikes School and Nebraska faculty and staff to support their college search and application process. We have, and will continue to work with, high school principals in Nebraska, Kansas, Illinois, and Minnesota along with community-based organizations to identify students who should apply and attend the camp.

Additionally, leaning on our Raikes School core values of holding each other accountable and leading with humility, which focus on closing communication gaps and understanding the impact our of words and actions, additional modules relating to implicit and unconscious bias, diversity, equity, inclusion, and empathy will be added to our freshmen and senior seminar courses, as well as other discussions throughout the community. 

If you have additional ideas, resources, or tools related to recruitment efforts and diversity and inclusion education to share with Raikes School faculty and staff, please contact Anna Pressler at anna.pressler@unl.edu or 402-472-9097.