Advocacy statements

Department Statement of Support for Survivors of Sexual Assault

August 31, 2021

The UNL Department of Psychology condemns the sexual violence that has occurred on our campus recently, which includes reports of multiple sexual assaults. We also recognize that such brutal acts are not isolated and represent a broader rape culture on our campus and college campuses around the U.S. We voice our support for the survivors of these assaults and the students who have been gathering to demand University action and accountability, including closing the Phi Gamma Delta house (FIJI) and other efforts to address sexual assault more effectively at UNL.

The department is home to many researchers, teachers, clinicians, and students who are actively working to prevent sexual violence and support survivors. These issues are important to us both professionally and personally. We support and will assist ongoing activist efforts to address these problems and improve the safety of students at UNL.

If you or someone you know is in need of resources for emotional support, you can find free and confidential support on and off campus, including:

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Chair Statement on Remembering George Floyd

May 25, 2021

Today we pause to remember that one year ago George Floyd was brutally murdered by the police in Minneapolis. As we honor his memory, we also know that there are many more people of color, especially Black men and boys, who have suffered at the hands of police, both before Mr. Floyd and in the year since then. All of us are horrified by this violence but we know that many of you are affected more directly. We see you. Please feel free to reach out to any faculty or departmental leadership if you need support.

Over this past year, we as a department have committed ourselves to anti-racist action. Although there is much more to be done, we note that we have done the following:

  • Added the Inclusive Excellence Chair as a new administrative position in the Department and reformulated our efforts in the new Diversity and Inclusion Work Group who have been quite active this year.
  • Changed the faculty merit system to explicitly reward work on diversity and inclusive excellence and address potential structural biases that disproportionately impact faculty of color, women, and those teaching about or doing research with minoritized communities.
  • Made excellence progress on dispute resolution procedures that will be finalized in the fall and will be more responsive to the needs of graduate students and, eventually, postdoctoral trainees.
  • Added coursework on diversity and inclusion in clinical and neuroscience and behavior programs (but open more broadly)
  • In collaboration with MHDI, hosted Prof. Monnica Williams, a nationally known expert on racism. The recording of her presentation on microaggression in academia will be available shortly.
  • For the 3rd time in three years, raised department funded graduate stipends by 7%, starting with new contracts in summer/fall.

It is a day to pause and remember Mr. Floyd and all of the others, and then to redouble our efforts to help create a more equitable world.

David DiLillo, Chair

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Chair Statement on Derek Chauvin verdict

April 20, 2021

Like many of you, I feel a sense of relief with the guilty verdicts in the Derek Chauvin trial. We recognize the significance of this moment. At the same time, we know that this one outcome will not bring Mr. Floyd back to his family nor resolve the devastating and ongoing violence of white supremacy in our culture. Many of us in the Department are impacted more personally by these events and we want you to know that you are not alone; we stand with you. There is justifiable fear that even these terrible events will not lead to lasting change but, for today at least, the outcome of this trial can offer a glimmer of hope the future. There is much work to be done and we will continue our efforts in the Department and, for many of us, in the larger world as well. We are reminding faculty to touch bases with each of their graduate students. Please reach out if you would like additional support. Also, check out for campus resources and events. This is a time to take care of each other.

David DiLillo, Chair

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Chair Statement on Derek Chauvin trial

April 19, 2021

Nearly a year ago the Department posted a statement that began as follows:
"The horrific killing of George Floyd has again brought to the fore the persistent stain of our nation’s struggles with the various forms of racism stemming from and reflecting ideologies of White superiority and White supremacy. Society carries this racism forward in a multitude of subtle, overt, conscious, and non-conscious ways. The recent killings are the latest painful iteration in a long line of degradation of Black Americans. The science of psychology has had an ugly role in this history, but the data from our field have also documented the irrefutable bias, prejudice, discrimination, and inequality woven into our social fabric. We also endeavor to find ways to remove these strands and combat racism."

This week, many of us are holding our breath for the outcome of the Derek Chauvin trial while the killings and brutality towards Black Americans continues, including the deaths of Daunte Wright and Adam Toledo. The recent proliferation of anti-transgender legislation targeting participation in sports and criminalizing gender affirming medical care horrifies us with the pointless disregard for the wellbeing of children and youth. Just a month ago we posted a statement of support for the AAPI communities. With all of this in mind, it is a good time for use to remind ourselves that as a department we strive for to be anti-racist, to be welcoming and inclusive, to help create a world in which diversity is celebrated. We know that some members of our department are affected more personally and deeply by these events. We stand with you, ready to offer support. Please reach out to any of the faculty or department leadership if you are struggling. We are here to listen and provide support, as well as help connect you to other resources as needed.

Nearly a year ago we promised to put our anti-racism into action. We are not where we want to be but we have made important progress. For the first time this year, each faculty member included their efforts around diversity and inclusive excellence in their annual evaluation files. Many faculty are making important changes including de-colonizing their course by changing course materials to be more inclusive of BIPOC and queer voices, adding diversity statements to their syllabi, extending research to more representative populations, and seeking out anti-racist training. A coalition of faculty and graduate students are re-writing our dispute resolution procedures for graduate students to better meet their needs and, hopefully, lead to real changes where problems have persisted. Additional graduate courses on diversity are being offered. These internal efforts are ongoing and are joined by many activities in the broader campus community as can be found at

If you want to have a conversation about any of this, including what we are or should be doing in the department, please reach out to Deb as Inclusive Excellence Chair or any member of the Diversity and Inclusion Work Group listed here. As Chair, I also welcome conversation and feedback about the department’s response to these issues.

David DiLillo, Chair

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Department Statement of Support for the AAPI Community

March 19, 2021

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Department of Psychology condemns the senseless violence that occurred in this week’s Atlanta shootings, which involved the brutal killings of eight people, most of them Asian American women. We also recognize that the attack in Atlanta is not an isolated incident, but part of a longer historical pattern of racism, misogyny, and xenophobia toward Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) that has increased over the past year. These horrific acts of violence hurt our entire community and run counter to our mission of supporting a diverse and inclusive community in which we respect and affirm our differences and condemn violence. We are deeply concerned about the toxic combination of prejudice and the deliberate promotion of misinformation about the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to an increase in violence, harassment, and xenophobia against Asian American communities. We stand in solidarity with the AAPI community against this unjust treatment and will continue to fight for a world where diversity is celebrated and everyone is included.

For information on supporting the AAPI community:

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Department Statement and Commitment to Anti-Racist Action

June 4, 2020

Dear department members,

The horrific killing of George Floyd has again brought to the fore the persistent stain of our nation’s struggles with the various forms of racism stemming from and reflecting ideologies of White superiority and White supremacy. Society carries this racism forward in a multitude of subtle, overt, conscious and non-conscious ways. The recent killings are the latest painful iteration in a long line of degradation of Black Americans. The science of psychology has had an ugly role in this history, but the data from our field have also documented the irrefutable bias, prejudice, discrimination, and inequality woven into our social fabric. We also endeavor to find ways to remove these strands and combat racism.

As leadership in the Department of Psychology, we have been deliberately weighing the actions that should accompany any statement on this issue. We hope to reflect the magnitude of the current moment and carefully consider what we can do as a department to help our students, our campus, our region, and beyond. We also want to recognize that the fully legitimate protests occur with the backdrop of COVID-19 disparities and the persistent social, economic, and health inequalities they have made apparent for all to see. We recognize that these events directly touch the lives of students, faculty, and staff of color in ways that may not occur for others. We are angry and heartbroken with you. You belong and are valued here. For anyone who finds themselves struggling, we are here to support you. Do not hesitate to reach out.

Any statement must come with a commitment to do more to enhance equity for ourselves and our communities, a commitment that extends beyond the peaks of the current tragedy. Many of our faculty work on these exact issues and are guiding efforts to help address inequality in the justice and healthcare systems, and to combat the unjust biases toward communities of color. We have also generated multiple efforts to enhance representation and inclusiveness in our department, such as pursing joint hires in Ethnic Studies and Women and Gender Studies, and hosting the Diversifying Psychology Weekend. Still, the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others, accompanied by the vastly unequal COVID-19 infection rate among people of color in our own community show us we have an obligation to do more. We are not perfect and we must strive to continuously improve. We must all seek to be actively anti-racist, including through better understanding of the systems of oppression disproportionately affecting Black Americans and forms of oppression affecting other marginalized peoples. As such, we propose multiple changes that we anticipate being part of a continuous journey that we will pursue beyond the current moment. We realize that many of the steps we outline do not directly address these events, but we nonetheless hope that they demonstrate our commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity and our support of you. These include, but are not limited to:

1) Creating new opportunities to host and co-host events on discrimination and its effects, including colloquia, conversation series, and trainings,

2) Committing to the best practices for hiring soon to be released by our Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion, while also pursuing additional strategies to ensure better representation among faculty and staff, including a requirement for all faculty applicants to submit diversity statements,

3) Reinforcing and extending efforts to recruit and retain underrepresented students,

4) Incorporating regular opportunities for feedback from students and others related to climate and equity-enhancing proposals, and

5) Working with faculty to extend the diversity-related metrics by which we evaluate ourselves.

We would also invite you to seek out other voices on our campus who provide leadership in responding to these events, as so many have responded to this moment with eloquence, passion, and determination to bring about change. Marco Barker, Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion, is one excellent example. OASIS and BSU have also made vital contributions.

Finally, as educators, mentors, and colleagues, we want to reiterate that we are here to support you.

Rick Bevins,

David DiLillo,
Associate Chair and Incoming Chair

Sarah Gervais,
Associate Chair 

Deb Hope,
Graduate Committee Chair

Scott Stoltenberg,
Undergraduate Committee Chair

Lisa Crockett,
Developmental Coordinator

Mike Dodd,
Social/Cognitive Coordinator

David Hansen,
Clinical Training Director

Jeff Stevens,
Neuroscience and Behavior Coordinator

Executive Committee

Diversity Committee

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We support and stand in solidarity with our colleague, Jennine Capó-Crucet, an incredible author and educator. She represents the best that our university has to offer. Her work elevates marginalized voices and invites us to question privilege in academia and beyond. As educators, we are disheartened to see the response to her recent event. Book burning has no place in these conversations, especially in light of its strong historical associations with white-supremacy. The lingering effects of this kind of history are the exact reason her work is so vital. We are proud to work alongside her and have the opportunity to learn from her.

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Given the recent events on campus, the Department of Psychology at UNL reaffirms its commitment to diversity and inclusivity. We strive to be a department where all feel safe and welcome in all of our research, teaching, and service endeavors. As our history teaches us, diversity improves our science and our science confirms the indispensability of diversity. – On behalf of the Sarata Diversity Enhancement Committee and Rick Bevins, Chair of the Department of Psychology.

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The University of Nebraska core beliefs on diversity and inclusion say that “True excellence requires that each individual be able to work and learn in an atmosphere of respect, dignity, and acceptance. Our commitment requires each of us to continuously ensure our interactions be respectful, protect free speech and inspire academic freedom.” The Department unequivocally supports and advances these core values—including, importantly, affirming diversity, pursuing social justice, expressing freedom of speech, fostering a sense of belonging, and instilling a desire for civic engagement.

Rick Bevins, Chair