Dear Campus Community,
I am pleased to share with you our new Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (EDIB) Vision Statement and 12 recommendations from the EDIB Advisory Committee that will provide the inspiration and structure for our ongoing effort to tackle the systemic problems of racism and inequality in our society and campus community.
First, our anchoring EDIB vision statement:
“At UNCSA, we strive to create a safe environment, one that allows people from all walks of life to thrive. Doing so demands that we commit to an explicit and continual process of identifying and dismantling systems and practices of bias, exclusion and oppression. Education and art-making can be transformational forces for change and we are working so that change leads toward justice.”
The vision statement was developed by the EDIB Executive Advisory Committee and endorsed by our UNCSA Board of Trustees on Friday and earlier by our SGA, Faculty and Staff councils, and Executive Cabinet. It was created through in-depth exercises of sharing and listening to many voices of our faculty, staff and students.
Next, the recommendations, which fall under four pillars: access and success, capacity
building, EDIB/cultural intelligence, and support and advocacy. You can read the full list of recommendations here.
Taking into consideration the EDIB work done by the UNC System, these recommendations were developed internally and will guide us over the next five years, providing achievable and specific goals, and setting us up for long-term success. Below, I’ve listed the initial actions that will begin this calendar year.
Ask all vice chancellors to identify which recommendations they can enact during the 2021-22 fiscal year.
Form a sustainable EDIB Governance Committee that will begin in fall 2021.
Create a Bias Assessment and Response Team (BART) and protocol.
Launch a multicultural center at UNCSA.
Announce the search for a chief diversity officer during the 2021-22 academic year.
This work has involved the exhaustive efforts of more than 50 people who served as members of our cross-campus EDIB Advisory Committee, led by consultant Shayla Herndon-Edmunds, Co-Chairs Claire Machamer (vice chancellor for strategic communications) and Kris Julio (Design & Production faculty, director of stage properties), and five subcommittees that examined campus culture, artistic visibility, curriculum, student recruitment, and faculty and staff recruitment. For six-and-a-half months, these intrepid individuals engaged in 62 meetings, 28 informational interviews and more than a dozen focus groups for a combined 120 hours of meetings and 125 hours of committee work.
I want to thank all members of our community who have contributed their time and energy to this process — especially under the challenges of a pandemic — and to getting us where we are. I especially want to thank Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Patrick J. Sims for designing and leading this effort, and Shayla Herndon-Edmunds, whose work as special assistant to the chancellor this year in shepherding our EDIB framework has been incredible.
While all of this is very encouraging, our work is just beginning. As I’ve said several times, it will require our entire community’s commitment to creating and sustaining real change in our institution and society. I look forward to working with all of you in this endeavor.
May 05, 2021