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Race and Inclusion Initiative – January 26, 2016

From: President Paul Brown
To: Members of the University Community
Date: January 26, 2016
Subject: Race and Inclusion Initiative

In December we formed a committee led by Board Chair Henry Mercer ’87 and Nina Anderson, director of the Office of Equity and Diversity, to explore Woodrow Wilson’s legacy and historic connections to our campus as the namesake of our signature building, Woodrow Wilson Hall.

The committee will advance recommendations to our Board of Trustees to determine appropriate next steps about his legacy on our campus. We also started broader open conversations on race and inclusion inviting students, faculty, administrators and staff, which will continue through February.

These efforts are now a part of a university-wide race and inclusion initiative led by my office.

We are in the first phase of listening and gathering data from all members of our community. The next phase will use what we learn to develop central themes, examine our current campus attitudes and approaches, and identify areas for self-improvement. The third phase of this initiative will define actionable items and next steps to move forward.

I have engaged Laura Conover, an independent consultant, as the initiative’s project manager reporting to me. Laura brings more than 20 years of project management and strategic communications expertise to this effort. She has managed successful initiatives at companies including Madison Square Garden, TD Bank, Cablevision and New Jersey Resources.

As we continue the listening phase, we will keep our conversations going in large and small groups, one-on-one discussions, and through electronic communication channels. Small group meetings and private conversations with students, faculty and staff begin next week.

We will also set up anonymous ways to contribute in February including kiosks in common areas and an online survey. I encourage you to share your thoughts and ideas throughout the process.

We have a special responsibility to look critically at ourselves, to listen and learn from all members of our community and lead by taking steps to ensure we remain true to our aspirations as a truly inclusive university that respects and values every person.

Thank you for your continued participation in this important initiative.

Paul R. Brown,
Ph.D.
President