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Fall 2020 Updates: Visit meredith.edu/staying-strong for more details.

Meredith iris at Front Beam Fountain
COLLEGE-WIDE INITIATIVE
ON ANTI-RACISM

Anti-Racism Initiative

Meredith College is working to address the racism that is affecting BIPOC students, faculty, staff, and alumnae who are valued and respected members of our community. This effort will be inclusive, action oriented, and root focused.

To that end, in June 2020, President Jo Allen announced a college-wide initiative on anti-racism. This effort, inspired and informed by Meredith’s Black Student Union, Latinx students, alumnae/i, and many more, is being conducted with transparency to reflect our commitment to strength, integrity, and effecting change through education.

BECAUSE BLACK AND BROWN LIVES MATTER. 


Action Steps

    Action 1
  • We must explore racism at Meredith through the lens of our current students.That feedback will inform the development of an action plan to provide root solutions to the findings.
    • Current students, employees, and alumnae/i have shared their stories with us. To guide our work to facilitate change, we will conduct a campus climate survey that will be an anonymous platform for providing feedback and a means for action.
    • We will hire a diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant to support this and resulting efforts.
       

    Current Status

    • A survey instrument has been selected and questions are being drafted. The anticipated launch date for the survey is October 5, 2020.
    • A diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant has been hired and is helping to guide the College's efforts.
    • Future plans include hiring a diversity, equity, and inclusion officer for Meredith College.

  • Action 2
  • We must review our policies to ensure that our College is not unconsciously contributing to systemic racism. Changes will be made to policies that promote or enhance systemic racism.
    • We will review and emphasize student and employee handbooks for clear expectations of behavior regarding race.
    • We will examine and update traditions, marketing materials, and other practices and documents to better reflect our commitment to anti-racism, equity, and inclusion. 
    • We will incorporate lessons of race throughout the curriculum.
    • We will provide anti-racism and microaggression training for faculty and staff.
    • We will establish guidelines for equitable treatment of all students in the classroom and all employees in the workplace, along with clear processes and consequences for those who defy them.
    • We will set guidelines for equitable treatment of all students through the honor code, traditions, recruiting, financial aid, housing, and more.
    • We will review HR policies and practices for recruiting, hiring, evaluating, and dismissal.
       

    Current Status

    • The Executive Leadership Team is participating in the Racial Equity Institute’s two-day Phase 1 workshop, which is designed to further develop participants' understanding of racism in its institutional and structural forms.
    • A student-focused group on student conduct, the honor code, residence life, and other aspects of the student experience and experiences with racism has been formed and begun its work.
    • Pam Galloway, Meredith’s director of human resources, has begun leading a review of Meredith’s recruiting and hiring practices and evaluating them for inclusivity; reviewing the employee handbook for clear processes for reporting incidents of racism or bias; and outlining consequences for employees who exhibit racist behaviors.
    • We have launched a series of anti-racism discussion groups for faculty and staff; these discussion groups are being led by Meredith faculty and staff.
    • Sarah Roth, dean of Arts and Humanities, has worked with several faculty and staff members to compile a list of anti-racism resources that will soon be available on our intranet, MyMeredith.
    • Efforts to diversify the academic experience include revising our music history curriculum to include a global music component and more marginalized musicians; ongoing workshops aimed at decolonizing syllabi; and the School of Arts and Humanities year-long Common Experience theme "Belonging" will highlight the collective experience of marginalized students and steps to achieve greater belonging for all members of the Meredith community.
    • In August 2020, Faculty Staff Planning Week focused on educating faculty and staff, with a keynote presentation on cultural humility and breakout sessions that focused on different aspects of structural racism, white privilege, and racial equity.
    • In 2019-20, members of the Administrative Management Council participated in a year-long series of workshops focused on diversity and inclusion.
    • Meredith's previous work to change practices in recruiting students and employees, awarding financial assistance, diversifying the curriculum, broadening student organizations and their missions, and more all lay the foundation for the current initiative.

  • Action 3
  • We must work to understand the realities of our history and any linkage to systemic racism.

    Meredith is working with other institutions in pursuing the truth of their histories through the Universities Studying Slavery initiative. This group of scholars is working not only to understand history and its contexts, but also seeks to understand and dismantle the ways that racism continues to work in higher education.

    Current Status

    • Meredith has joined an initiative comprising approximately 60 other institutions.
    • The Marketing Department, Archives staff, and History Department are reviewing and revising the College timeline to present a more comprehensive picture of its history, one that includes the contributions of students, faculty, staff, and alumnae of color. 

  • Action 4
  • Drawing on the knowledge and expertise of our diverse community, we must develop a set of principles that will guide the Board’s decision-making when it comes to renaming.

    Meredith, like many other institutions throughout the country, is weighing what should be done about individuals who have made positive contributions to their university but also may have a history of racism.

    Current Status

    • Board leaders have created a Task Force on Historical Context and Naming at Meredith to develop a series of principles that will lead the Meredith Board of Trustees through these conversations and decisions. The Task Force began its work on August 12, 2020 and continues to hold regular meetings.
    • Chair of the Board Carolyn Leith, ’85, and Vice Chair Dr. Yvette Brown, ’90, are coordinating this collaborative work with a diverse and inclusive group of board members, alumnae/i, students, and college employees.
NEWS

Courtyard fountain

Music Department Working to Support Anti-Racism Initiative

Meredith College’s Department of Music is taking a number of steps to address a desire for change by music students and alumnae, who have expressed concerns about race and equity following the death of George Floyd and as a part of the consequent increase in racial justice advocacy efforts. The music department’s efforts are part of a larger anti-racism initiative being undertaken by Meredith College.

Welcome to Meredith sign with class years

SGA Elections Evolving to Meet Students Where They Are

Information sessions about the elections as well as actual campaigns were all held virtually. In addition, creating more inclusive elections has been a topic of consideration among staff and students alike.

Irises in front of fountain

Meredith Prepares to Launch Campus Climate Survey as Critical Step in Anti-Racism Initiative

As a part of the College-Wide Initiative on Anti-Racism, Meredith will conduct a Campus Climate Survey this fall.

Campus Partners

Meredith College values diversity in all its forms and recognizes the richness that those diversities create within our learning environment.