DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Members of the University of Dayton President’s Council sent an open letter to the UD community on Monday to outline anti-racism efforts the university is undertaking.
“We recognize that UD is not immune to the kinds of racist systems and behaviors that perpetuate institutional racism. Historically, this has created barriers and persistent disparities on campus and caused pain for our Black students, alumni, faculty, and staff. As a University community, we can – and must – do better,” university officials said in the letter.
“It’s inclusive in some ways but then not in others,” Ian Evans, a student, said of the UD campus.
Evans, who just earned his bachelor’s degree from UD and is returning this fall to pursue his master’s degree, told 2 NEWS he has experienced racism on campus.
“Some girls will come up to me, and as they do to most basketball players, and they’ll ask if I’m on the basketball team,” Evans said. “And granted, it’s like I can see where they’re coming from, but also, I’m not a student-athlete. I’m just a student.”
Lawrence Burnley, UD’s vice president for diversity and inclusion, told 2 NEWS he worked with faculty, staff and students to create the new 11-point plan.
“There has been a core of people here across the university who’s been doing this work,” Burnley said. “And so we, like many other institutions across this country, we’ve been on this journey, and we’ve come a long way, but we have a long way to go.”
Administrative leadership says that while much campus-wide discussion will ensure and drive key initiatives and progress, officials are committed to action in the following areas and in some cases, have already begun to make changes:
1. Set the expectation that every faculty and staff member will engage in education about bias and privilege; systemic racism; the value of diversity, equity, and inclusion; and the role each must play to advance these values at the University of Dayton
2. Advance the University’s institutional learning goals of diversity and community by educating every undergraduate student through curricular and co-curricular vehicles about the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion
3. Promote relevant extracurricular learning opportunities for all
4. Strengthen efforts to diversify the student body
5. Implement an aggressive strategy to increase diversity and equity among faculty, staff, and administrators
6. Continue to build a climate of safety
7. Deploy marketing and communication assets to support diversity, equity, and inclusion at UD
8. Strengthen mutually beneficial connections between the University and Black alumni and other alumni of color
9. Make more visible the history and legacy of UD’s African American community as well as those of other communities that have traditionally been underrepresented at UD
10. Work with the Dayton African American community
11. Expand the University’s utilization of women- and minority-owned businesses, including Black-owned businesses with an emphasis on locally-owned enterprises
“Some initiatives — those listed above and others — will come to fruition quickly and others will require deeper conversations and more time, but we stand for justice and are committed to doing our part to enact progress and tangible change,” officials said.
You can read the full letter and learn more about each of these initiatives by clicking here.
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