Dear Students and Colleagues,

As a key initiative in our renewed efforts to support the Black community at Drexel and eradicate racism in University policies and practices, I am pleased to announce the formation of Drexel's Anti-Racism Task Force.

The Task Force will be led by Kim 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; Lucy Kerman, senior vice provost for University and Community Partnerships; and Subir Sahu, senior vice president for Student Success. It will include a team of co-chairs for 11 committees who will be named next week.

The Anti-Racism Task Force will launch these committees to take on a critical examination of the full range of University activities, including each of the following areas:

  • Undergraduate Student Life
  • Graduate and Doctoral Student Life
  • Admissions and Prospective Students
  • Faculty Recruitment and Retention
  • Academic Curriculum and Program Review
  • Trauma and Mental Health Supports
  • Professional Staff Recruitment and Retention
  • Learning and Education
  • Business Practices
  • Community Engagement
  • Policies and Procedures

The Task Force will invite broad representation for these working committees from undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, professional staff and alumni. I am gratified that we have received over 100 names so far from members of the Drexel community eager to join this effort, and the Task Force will draw from this list in filling out its committee rosters.

The committees will report on the challenges and barriers that Black students, faculty and professional staff have faced at the University, including experiences with racism that have impeded their success. They will offer recommendations that will be implemented and monitored as part of the ongoing work of Kim's office. Preliminary reports and recommendations will be shared with our community in the fall and we will focus in the new academic year on a clear plan of action to address racism on Drexel's campus.

In the weeks ahead, members of the Task Force will communicate on their deliberations and progress, so there can be ongoing engagement and feedback from the Drexel community. We will provide opportunities for town hall conversations and individual information sharing along the way.

As announced previously, we are starting two other initiatives in concert with the Anti-Racism Task Force: the independent review of the Drexel University Police Department by former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey, and the establishment of the new Center for Black Culture.

The Anti-Racism Task Force and the work of its committees is among my highest priorities for the University. I know that some of these discussions will be difficult and uncomfortable, and that change will take time. But addressing and dismantling racism once and for all is of critical importance for our University and for our country. We must embrace this work as fundamental to our future.

Thanks to Kim, Aroutis, Lucy and Subir for their willingness to take on the oversight of the Anti-Racism Task Force, and to the many members of the Drexel community who will join in this vitally important work.


John Fry

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