On July 21, Meredith College announced the areas that its Plan of Action on Race will address.
In an email to the campus community, President Jo Allen, ’80, shared that the coordinated plan, which is being developed by the Board of Trustees and the College’s Executive Leadership Team, is “rooted in cultural humility and intended to be thoughtful, inclusive, thorough, and action-oriented.”
The plan will address the following:
- We must further understand the realities of our current students. Over the past 60 days, current students 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 must further review our policies to ensure that our College is not unconsciously contributing to systemic racism. We will charge cross-functional committees that will review student and employee handbooks for clear expectations of behavior regarding race; incorporate the lessons of race throughout the curriculum; establish guidelines for equitable treatment of all students in the classroom and through the honor code, traditions, recruiting, financial aid, housing, and more; review HR policies and practices for recruiting, hiring, evaluating, and dismissal.
- We must further understand the realities of our history and any linkage to systemic racism. To find out more about our history, we are announcing Meredith’s affiliation with about 60 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.
- We must develop a set of principles that will guide the Board’s decision-making when it comes to renaming. Institutions throughout the country are weighing what should be done about individuals that may have done good things for their university but also might have racist pasts. Institutions such as Yale, Stanford, UNC-CH, and George Washington have developed decision-making principles that have guided their board through these difficult renaming decisions. Board leaders will create a committee to develop a series of principles that will lead the Meredith Board of Trustees through these difficult conversations. Chair of the Board Carolyn Leith, ’85, and Vice Chair Dr. Yvette Brown, ’90, will coordinate that collaborative work with a diverse and inclusive group of board members, alumnae/i, students, and college employees.
“This work is difficult but critical and is foundational to our community. It will be guided by a consultant with experience leading campus work on diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Allen said. “Over the next few months, I ask for the community’s help and patience as we learn together.”
Updates on progress made on the Plan of Action on Race will continue to be shared with the Meredith community.
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