Equity Task Force

I have received an interim report from the Equity Task Force — Tri-Chairs: Shardonay Pagett ’18 (student), Antonio Farias (staff), and Gina Athena Ulysse (faculty). Task Force Members: Caroline Liu ’18, Henry Martellier, Jr. ’19 (students); Elisa Cardona, Makaela Kingsley (staff); Matthew Garrett, William Johnston (faculty). Here are the headlines:

History: Reports of previous committees and task forces show that Wesleyan has made multiple attempts to address issues of difference and racial tensions, but to limited success at best. The same problems keep recurring.

Mission: The Presidential Task Force is reinforced by the Board of Trustees’ Statement on equity and inclusion as a blueprint to enact institutional change and our task is to facilitate that goal as best as possible.

Recommendation: The creation of an integrative educational experience that will continue to reach across all parts of campus life including students, staff, and faculty, through a physical center and institutional initiatives for the indefinite future.

Early Recommendations:

1. In direct response to our charge, we recommend that the university establish a new center that has a clear, intellectually grounded mission focusing on intercultural development and literacy, which integrates students, faculty, and staff inits core operations at the developmental stage to sustainably work towards deeper commitment to inclusion.

2. In order to recognize and address the broader historical and structural conditions that generated the IsThisWhy? protest and demands along with continuous patterns of inequity and retention problems among faculty and staff on campus, we recommend the university commit much-needed resources towards redressing these concerns and embark on a long-term, comprehensive, campus-wide initiative with concrete action plans to be incorporated in Wesleyan’s current and future strategic visions.

3. In conjunction with the aforementioned, we recommend continuation of the task force to work in tandem with members of the larger Wesleyan community to create effective mechanisms to coordinate, centralize, communicate, and support ongoing institutional change efforts. Ultimately, this task force should evolve into a standing institutional committee comprised of students, faculty, and staff.

The Task Force’s work continues, and on the staff side we have begun to explore possibilities for the Center mentioned in point 1. Most importantly, we are prepared to use resources to create a more equitable and inclusive educational experience for all our students. The full report is posted here.