At the June 10, 2020, Board of Trustees meeting, Student Trustees Andrew Adolph and Taylor Bennington announced the creation of the Inclusive Excellence Action Team. The team will focus on issues of race, equality and inclusion as part of a thorough review of our systems and processes to identify and eliminate implicit bias and discrimination.
Below is the as-prepared statement from Adolph and Bennington delivered at the June 10 Board of Trustees meeting.
"Today we are announcing the creation of a student-led group focused on issues of race, equality, and inclusion as part of the greater university’s efforts to undergo a thorough review of our systems and processes to identify and eliminate implicit bias and discrimination. This group will be called the Inclusive Excellence Action Team and it will be no ordinary task force. The group will be empowered to identify areas of concern and propose tangible action to senior university leadership. While this organization will be student-led and student-focused, this is just one part of a greater community effort needed to eradicate issues of discrimination and racism.
"After soliciting nominations from our colleagues in the student shared-governance network, two extraordinary student leaders have been identified to lead the Inclusive Excellence Action Team. The undergraduate co-chair of the group will be Jason Render Jr. Jason is a senior studying political science and national security is part of our University Ambassador’s program and serves as president of the Student African American Brotherhood. The graduate co-chair is Henna Schafer. Henna is a third-year law student in our law school and currently working with Caryn Groedel & Associates and has previously worked with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. With their steady hand and direction, we strongly believe that this group will be deliberative, but efficient so that we can begin implementing tangible change in the near future. In a world with so much hate and darkness, we believe that this group, under the leadership of Jason and Henna, will help UA become a light of hope.
"Students who are interested in joining the action team can do so by joining the team. We need your voice. We need your perspective. We need your help in identifying and eliminating barriers and systems that promote discrimination.
"We would like to use our report to reflect on the nationwide conversation that has sparked as a result of the horrific death of George Floyd. His death was terribly senseless, heartbreaking and infuriating to us and students across UA. We stand against hate, racial injustice and discrimination here at UA, and across the globe. We want to be clear. There is no place at our University for prejudice or hatred of any form. We will and must take an active role in progressing to achieve equality for all members of our community. We promise to do more and do better.
"After much thought and reflection, we do not just only want to decry these recent terrible events or just call for change, we want to act. We see the need for action and change at all levels of our society, and we at UA must act and change accordingly. We must do more to support our community, play a vital role in educating our campus community about prejudice and racial injustice, and help achieve an equitable society for all. We must be better at supporting our students of color on their journey to graduation. We must be a place that embraces our diversity and is inclusive and equitable to all. We must make a difference for all our futures. And that is why we are making this announcement as a first step toward change in our community. "