New Trustee Diversity Committee to Advance BU’s Antiracism Efforts
Will collaborate with Antiracism Working Group recently created by President Brown
- BU Board of Trustees establishes a new diversity committee
- Will work with Antiracism Working Group of BU leaders created by President Brown
- Brown to community: “Your activism and civic demands for justice are indispensable”
BU’s Board of Trustees has created a new Diversity and Inclusion Committee to further the University’s antiracism agenda, Robert A. Brown, University president, announced in a letter to the University community sent Tuesday.
“This new committee will ensure that issues of diversity, inclusion, and antiracism are prominent at the highest level of the University’s governance structure,” Brown writes, “adding importance and accountability to our efforts.”
The committee’s membership will be determined next month, the letter says. Andrea Taylor (COM’68), who stepped down as a trustee last month to become BU’s first senior diversity officer, says the committee chair will come from the board’s Executive Committee.
Taylor says “the committee will be closely aligned with the efforts of the Antiracism Working Group,” which has been newly created by Brown and comprises University leaders. Taylor will chair the Antiracism Working Group (AWG).
“The AWG is responsible for examining our institution’s racial climate, biases, and progress, and identifying best practices to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Brown notes in his letter. “The AWG’s first meeting, to be held in October, will focus on developing a work plan for the remainder of the year. Over time, I expect the Working Group to study all the major units of the University and to interact with student, staff, and faculty organizations across the University, as well as with the Boston University Alumni Council and the Black Alumni Leadership Council.”
As for working with the Diversity Committee, Taylor says, “there may be collaboration as we develop goals, objectives, and metrics.”
The committee’s creation comes in a year of racial introspection at the University, and in the country. In April, the trustees adopted a new Strategic Plan, and one of its key provisions calls for “an even more diverse and inclusive institution that provides fair access and opportunities to all faculty, staff, and students.”
“The committee will be an important resource to the change process as the new Strategic Plan for BU is finalized and implemented by the trustees,” Taylor says.
In June, after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis ignited nationwide protests and discussions of systemic racism, the University suspended all normal business for a Day of Collective Engagement: Racism and Antiracism, Our Realities and Our Roles to reflect on racism, on and off campus. That same month, BU announced that noted racism scholar Ibram X. Kendi would lead the new BU Center for Antiracist Research and join the College of Arts & Sciences faculty as a professor of history.
Later in the summer, Crystal Williams was promoted to the new position of vice president and associate provost for community and inclusion. Williams, a CAS professor of English, had previously been associate provost for diversity and inclusion.
Williams also is one of several representatives from the provost’s office on the AWG, which “is an important new group with the University-wide reach to provide vital guidance about processes and best practices,” says Jean Morrison, BU provost and chief academic officer.
Besides Taylor and Williams, the 18 AWG members are:
- Kecia Ali, a CAS professor of religion
- Craig S. Andrade, School of Public Health associate dean for practice and Activist Lab director
- Evan Apfelbaum, a Questrom School of Business associate professor of management and organizations
- Judith Austin, a College of Communication associate professor of advertising
- Steve Burgay, senior vice president for external relations
- Stephanie M. Curenton, a Wheelock College of Education & Human Development associate professor of education, leadership, and policy studies and of counseling psychology and applied human development and executive director of the Center on the Ecology of Early Development
- Kenneth Elmore (Wheelock’87), associate provost and dean of students
- Kenneth Freeman, vice president ad interim for human resources and a Questrom professor of the practice
- Carrie Landa, director of Behavioral Medicine and Student Health Services associate director of clinical services
- Karen J. Pita Loor, School of Law associate dean for experiential education and an associate clinical professor of law
- Luz M. López, a School of Social Work clinical professor, associate director of the Dual Degree Program in Public Health and Social Work, and Center for Innovation in Social Work and Health Global Health Core director
- Christine W. McGuire, vice president and associate provost for enrollment and student administration
- Maureen A. O’Rourke, associate provost for faculty affairs, a LAW professor of law, and LAW dean emerita
- Hee-Young Park, School of Medicine associate dean of faculty affairs and a professor and chair of medical sciences and education
- Tracy Schroeder, vice president for information services and technology and chief data officer
- Linda Sprague Martinez, an SSW associate professor
In his letter, Brown applauds the broader BU community’s antiracism commitment: “While institutional steps are critically important in the struggle for equality, your activism and civic demands for justice are indispensable, too.”