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Formation of a Graduate Diversity Advisory Council

June 30, 2020

Dear Students & Colleagues,

As an initial follow up to our Virtual Dialogue About Race with the Graduate Community on June 10, at which we had 254 attendees, the Graduate College has formed a graduate Diversity Advisory Council to address issues and concerns within the Drexel community, raise awareness of these issues, implement action items, help eradicate racism in University policies and practices, and support our Black community members.

The council will liaise with and report to the University's Anti-Racism Task Force, which President Fry announced in a follow up to the University-wide dialogue on June 5. The task force will be led by Kimberly Gholston, Associate Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, in partnership with Aroutis Foster, Associate Professor of Education and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Graduate Studies in the School of Education, Lucy Kerman, Senior Vice Provost for University and Community Partnerships, and Subir Sahu, Senior Vice President for Student Success.

President Fry also announced the University's Pledge to Address Systemic and Institutional Racism in his message on June 12 and our "calls for action: for a serious dialogue about systemic racism, a full accounting of the way institutional racism has affected all aspects of our society, and a clear action agenda that begins to change both policy and practice across this country."

The Diversity Advisory Council, co-chaired by faculty member, Alonzo M. Flowers III, PhD, Associate Professor and Program Director of the PhD Program in the School of Education and graduate student leader, Matthew Shirley, PhD student in Biomedical Engineering in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, NSF Graduate Research Fellow and President of the Drexel Black Graduate Student Union (DBGSU), will help support these calls for action on behalf of the graduate community.

More to come.

The Graduate College welcomes any graduate students, faculty or professional staff members who wishes to participate on the council to contact us at

Graduate Student Association Initiatives

In addition to the Graduate College's initial dialogue, the Graduate Student Association (GSA) hosted an open forum discussion on June 10. The discussion, attended by a smaller group of about 30 graduate students, allowed students to openly voice their opinions and concerns about systemic injustice at Drexel, as well as the history of racism in the U.S., how it came to be and why it still prevails, some symptoms of oppression in the modern society (police brutality, redlining and generational wealth gaps, implicit biases, etc), and the purpose behind the recent protests in and effort to help educate and share experiences with peers.

The GSA plans to continue hosting these sessions to allow for open dialogue and action planning among graduate students and organizations and will report back to the graduate Diversity Advisory Council.

If you wish to participate in or help plan future discussions or events, or have ideas for the GSA, please contact