Seeking Transformational Change at KSU and Beyond

 

Last May, I released a statement that included the following sentiment as citizens around Georgia and the nation gathered to demand equality and justice:

"...I know that I am not alone at my university in stating unequivocally that there is no room for the existence of or the tolerance for any form of racism...Let us move forward with compassion as we recognize that we are collectively responsible for pursuing real change."

In June of 2020, the Provost and I asked our Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Sylvia Carey-Butler, to lead a task force to develop ideas that would enable a constructive dialogue and subsequent action on meaningful change for our KSU community. The task force worked diligently over the summer and fall months talking to formal and informal groups of employees, students and alumni and combing through historic documents at KSU. Their goal was to create a set of specific, clear, and measurable recommendations to be deployed by KSU in our quest to eliminate racial inequities on campus and beyond.

This week, the task force is sharing its report with the campus community. The recommendations address both short-term opportunities for change, as well as activities that must be implemented now to enable change in the long run. The recommendations will require extensive participation across campus for planning and eventual deployment.

As a next step, Dr. Carey-Butler is forming four implementation teams to address the categories of curriculum, students, faculty and staff. Each implementation team will be tasked with identifying the action steps and timeline required to deploy the recommendations in its respective category. The members of each implementation team will be posted within the next few weeks. Once the hard work of planning for implementation is completed, I am hopeful that KSU will witness participation by thousands of KSU faculty, staff and students to bring these recommendations to fruition. It will be through these campus-wide efforts that we will be able to demonstrate our acknowledgment that we "are collectively responsible for pursuing real change."

We have ambitious goals for long-term transformation regarding racial equality within KSU. We also wish to play a leadership role for understanding and change beyond the halls and classrooms of KSU.

I am proud to announce that Kennesaw State is making a commitment to advance the understanding and impacts of racial equity and disparity through the official launch of the Radow Institute for Social Equity (RISE).

The Institute, graciously endowed by Norman J. Radow and housed within KSU’s Radow College of Humanities and Social Sciences, will seek to address the challenges of social justice, equity and economic inequality while developing sustainable solutions that help address pressing racial and social challenges and produce real change.

In working to achieve its mission, RISE will conduct scholarship to expand opportunities for equity across diverse populations; foster community engagement and dialogue around issues of social justice, equity and race; develop tomorrow’s leaders to combat racial, social and economic inequities; and become an international destination for a broad spectrum of active scholars and educators to work together and develop strategies to advance social justice and equity.

By launching ambitious internal plans to transform racial equity within KSU while simultaneously creating a new outward facing Institute through RISE, we seek to make a statement. KSU is committed to doing all that is within our power to eradicate racial injustice and inequality.

Pamela Whitten

President

Written By Whitten

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