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Jun 19, 2020

A Call
    to Action

from Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

EDI stands in solidarity with our Black family, friends, neighbors, students, faculty, staff, and colleagues. We mourn with them as we collectively process the more profound meaning and complexities of the wounds that have been inflicted with the injustices and deaths over the past 400 years.

A Call to Action

from Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion stands in solidarity with our Black family, friends, neighbors, students, faculty, staff, and colleagues. We mourn with them as we collectively process the more profound meaning and complexities of the wounds that have been inflicted with the injustices and deaths of all the named and unnamed people over the past 400 years.

When we say that Black Lives Matter, we must also act like Black Lives Matter. We must first take a look in the mirror and face painful, uncomfortable truths of our past. We must come to terms with our unpleasant realities. We must show up with urgency, courage, and compassion toward building a more equitable campus, community and country.

We, as an EDI family, commit to serving the University community in helping chart a path forward by:

  • Revolutionizing practices that establish a culture of belonging and expand the university’s actions towards a diverse, equitable, and inclusive campus. We will start by examining our division’s policies and practices related to hiring, retention, staff wellness, and support.
  • Continuing to work with Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Pacific Islander, Asian/Asian American, and Queer scholars and practitioners, as well as scholars and practitioners with disabilities, who can help lead us in racial justice, social justice, and racial healing work.
  • Identifying required training to departments/schools/colleges throughout the university and the University Hospital focused on fostering a culture dedicated to equity, diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism.
  • Establishing spaces for people to process racial injustices and hold the tough, uncomfortable conversations necessary in our collective journey toward racial healing.
  • Partnering with our public safety and student affairs colleagues to develop workshops where we can participate in creating a new model of community policing.
  • Providing opportunities for all community members to educate themselves about anti-Black racism and the pervasive racism that impacts all our lives.
  • Expanding the development of aspiring Black students, staff, and faculty leaders through participation in university and national leadership programs, expand mentorship and preparation for promotion.
  • Providing support to all units who commit to action plans laying out specific measures that promote the recruitment, retention, and success of historically marginalized populations, and more specifically, Black students, faculty, and staff.

We call on our community to:

  • Acknowledge and own our racism, then fight it.
  • Educate yourself and your colleagues, family, and friends on the historical enslavement and systemic oppression of Black/African Americans.
  • Acknowledge the experiences of those who have suffered racial injustice while publicly speaking up against anti-Black racism, discrimination, and bias.
  • Connect and collaborate with us to dismantle the legacies of white supremacy that pervade our educational system.

Together we can eradicate the racial hierarchies and deep systemic inequities in our society and across our campus.

In solidarity,

The Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
The Office for Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (OHEDI)
The Office for Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion – School of Medicine
The Office for Inclusive Excellence
The American Indian Resource Center
The Black Cultural Center
The LGBT Resource Center
The Dream Center

EDI Partners

Student Affairs
The Office of Undergraduate Studies

What We Are Doing

National Conversations

As a leading research university, the University of Utah is positioned to support state leaders in their efforts to shape criminal justice reform, promote social justice and equity, and address pervasive racism. This spring, we began a series of campus conversations designed to bring community leaders and scholarly experts together in search of understanding and solutions to racism, oppression and hatred. We are committed to equity, diversity and inclusion at the University of Utah and are steadily progressing in our efforts to make this historically white institution more representative of and responsive to the diverse communities we serve.

Our work will continue with renewed vigor and intensity.

George Floyd Memorial Fund

President Ruth Watkins announced on June 10, 2020, the creation of the George Floyd Memorial Fund in the Black Cultural Center at the University of Utah, which will directly support students and programs committed to advancing the interests of the next generation of aspiring black leaders. Give to the Fund here.


Vice President Andy Weyrich encouraged participation in the #ShutdownSTEM movement and to devote some time to reflect on how to make impactful changes within our departments/units.

Academics for Black Survival and Wellness Week

The University of Utah announced participation in Academics for Black Survival and Wellness Week (June 19 – 25)‚ a “weeklong personal and professional development initiative for academics to honor the toll of racial trauma on Black people, resist anti-Blackness and white supremacy, and facilitate accountability and collective action.”

Academics for Black Survival and Wellness: The Rewind and Remix

University of Utah leaders encourage all faculty and staff to participate in Academics for Black Survival and Wellness: The Rewind and Remix. This is the second installment of the national campaign which began in June.

Ongoing & New Campus Initiatives

Administrative Consultations

Our Associate Vice Presidents provide administrative consultations for departments, schools, colleges throughout the university and university hospital to help educate faculty and staff and establish accountability across the U. Contact us to schedule a session.

Intercultural Professional Development Opportunities

We recognize that our institutional goals can only be achieved when individuals commit to fostering inclusive excellence. The Office for Inclusive Excellence is invigorated to positively effect the foundational role of higher education by contributing to the quality of innovative research, enhancing effective teaching practices, and empowering social responsibility with our peers as well as our students.

  • Climate Assessment
    The Office for Inclusive Excellence conducts qualitative and quantitative climate assessments for colleges, schools, and departments to assess climate for students, staff, and faculty.
  • Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI)
    The IDI is a statistically reliable, cross-culturally valid measure of intercultural competence. The IDI is a 50 item, theory-based instrument that assesses the major stages of intercultural competence as originally conceptualized in Dr. Milton Bennett’s Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS) theory. The IDI generates profiles of an individual’s and a group’s capability for shifting cultural perspective and adapting behavior toward cultural differences and commonalities—that is, their intercultural competence orientation.
  • Intercultural Conflict Style Inventory (ICS)
    The ability to recognize and appropriately respond to cultural differences in conflict style is critically important in effectively managing and resolving disputes. The ICS is the premier assessment and training tool for identifying fundamental approaches for resolving conflict across cultural and ethnic differences. The ICS Inventory is a statistically valid and reliable instrument that can be applied for individual, group, and institutional level assessments.

African American Doctoral Scholars Initiative

The African American Doctoral Scholars Initiative provides a scholarly community and educational services for African American doctoral students at the University of Utah. These competitive scholarships are awarded annually to full-time African American doctoral students who demonstrate significant potential for leadership, scholarship, and active engagement in their respective disciplines and who also demonstrate a commitment to understanding Black life, history, and culture in the United States. The Initiative prepares African American doctoral students for academic, industry, and entrepreneurial careers through faculty mentoring, advising and professional development.

Community & Affinity Spaces

Built to foster a sense of community, belonging, and cultural awareness, we try to serve all on campus by providing safe spaces for everyone to meet, study, and interact with others. Our centers all establish space for people to process injustices and hold tough, uncomfortable conversations necessary to chart a path towards inclusion and racial healing.

Anti-Racism Committee

The Anti-Racism committee advises on the overall campus climate regarding issues and events of racism across all intersections of identity and bias. Also the committee recommends and evaluates measures to ensure that every student, faculty, and staff enjoys an environment free of racism and hate.

Universal Access and Design Committee

Advises on policies and procedures affecting campus community members and visitors, including, but not restricted to, persons with disabilities relative to employment, educational opportunities, and accessibility. Also proactively works with a range of university entities to enhance university accessibility for students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors according to the principles of Universal Design, in areas such as curricular design, built environment, technology and information, campus events, and workplace inclusivity.

Racist and Bias Incident Response Team

The Racist & Bias Incident Response Team oversees the creation, implementation, and long-term success of university protocols, programs, and processes in order to provide appropriate and calculated responses to incidents involving bias and racism at the university.

Students, faculty, staff and visitors who believe they have witnessed or been the target of bias, intolerance or discrimination may report an incident to the Office for Inclusive Excellence (bias and intolerance) or to the Office of Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Title IX (sexual misconduct and discrimination). Additionally, comprehensive safety information is available at

Educational Opportunities

Higher education provides an opportunity to engage in crucial dialogues with communities outside of one’s identities in order to learn how to identify forms of othering and prepare “for lives of impact as leaders and citizens.” Under the leadership of Vice President Villarreal, we strive to contribute to this ecosystem of learning by hosting events aiming to educate all its participants on varying aspects of experience and identity.

Inclusive Excellence Workshops

  • “But I Didn’t Mean It Like That”: Recognizing and Responding to Bias and Microaggressions
    Microaggressions occur daily on college campuses. In this interactive workshop, we discuss what microaggressions are, examine their impact, and engage in strategic practices of challenging such discourses.
  • Identity Development and Intersectionality
    Diversity and inclusion are more than buzzwords or boxes to check. In this workshop, we discuss the meaning of diversity and investigate barriers we face in creating a more inclusive campus. We will identify the relevance of our own identities, examine how social identity is constructed, and how key facets of identity play significant roles in determining how we understand and experience the world, as well as shaping the types of opportunities and challenges we face.
  • Exploring Inclusivity in the Classroom
    As our classrooms become increasingly diverse, faculty and instructors are tasked with learning teaching strategies to support the learning of students with a wide range of backgrounds. In this workshop, faculty explore inclusive teaching strategies, how to engage students in dialogue around challenging topics, and ways to respond to heated moments in the classroom.
  • Promoting Civility in the Classroom
    In this workshop, instructors have the opportunity to share experiences regarding (in)civility in the classroom, and discuss strategies to promote civil discourse. We will examine how inclusive teaching principles can help foster civility in the classroom and support student learning.
  • Facilitating Challenging Discussions in the Classroom
    Have you had a challenging situation arise in your classroom that you weren’t sure how to handle? This workshop is designed to engage faculty in dialogue about strategies to facilitate discussions with students, both planned and unplanned, in the classroom.

Reframing the Conversation

This on-going panel and forum series brings together experts from across campus and the community to spark important conversations on various topics including racism, othering, identity, and safety. With these conversations, we are striving to counteract the growing culture of othering with a culture of belonging.

Listen to a recording of our first Reframing the Conversation panel, “Expanding the Portrayal of Black Men”, on KCRL.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Events

All events from our division are a platform to promote visibility, engage in dialogue, and provide welcoming and affirming spaces for underrepresented students, faculty, staff, and community members. While we continue to identify and remove barriers and bias incidents targeting our campus community, persistent strides towards an institution where every member is given the opportunity to be educated on equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts will remain at the forefront of our work.

Now more than ever, we urge you to collaborate (volunter, plan, sponsor) with us on our events. Please contact our Event Manager for any inquiries.

Whiteness, Privilege, and Critical Praxis (WPCP)

WPCP is a space for white people and/or people who have white skin privilege to do our individual and group level work so that we can individually and collectively be effective anti-racist white accomplices. We explore how to recognize whiteness and white privilege, identify and interrupt our internalized dominance, and develop strategies for healing, liberation and change, without dependence on people of color or an expectation that it is their responsibility to do this work for us. We do this through reading, a workbook, journal writings, video, extended dialogues, etc.

Campaigns & Communication

We are here for you.

We are committed to being in this together. While we don’t have all of the answers, we have faith in our collective power as an EDI family. Read a message of support from all of us in Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion — we are here for you.

Get Involved

Get support. Get Connected. Get Educated. Get Involved.

Check out or share this regularly updated list of resources, educational materials, opportunities to get involved as we move forward together as a university and a country.


While we’re coming together with the best interests of all as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19, we also want to keep in mind the social and emotional needs of those who may be suffering in silence. Amid the developments of the last days, weeks, months, don’t forget to take time to check-in with yourself along with your community.

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” – Audre Lorde


EDI’s Marketing & Communications team manages a handful of communication outlets aimed at amplifying critical topics and narratives from underrepresented students, faculty, and staff at the University of Utah. Here are some particularly relevant reads we’d recommend:

@theU & University Statements

Stay in the loop with the University of Utah’s communications and statements through @theU.

Here are some relevant statements:

U Rising

On the “U Rising” podcast, President Ruth V. Watkins engages in insightful conversations with students, staff, faculty, alumni and community stakeholders who are at the center of the state’s flagship research university. On the latest episode, President Ruth V. Watkins, Rev. France Davis and Meligha Garfield — director of the U’s Black Cultural Center — share their thoughts on historical events that have led to the current protests calling for racial equality, experiences of our campus community and ideas for how to make a difference.

What You Can Do

We must first take a look in the mirror and face painful, uncomfortable truths of our past. We must come to terms with our unpleasant realities. We must show up with urgency, courage, and compassion toward building a more equitable campus, community and country. Together we can eradicate the racial hierarchies and deep systemic inequities in our society and across our campus. Here are some suggestions to get started:

Create an
anti-racist agenda

Give to the University of Utah George Floyd Memorial Fund

Enroll in (or audit) courses related to Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion

Request an Implicit Bias & Microaggressions Training for your department

Validate and acknowledge others’ experiences of racial injustice

Publicly speak up against anti-Black racism, discrimination, and bias

Attend, promote, and provide equity, diversity, and inclusion events

Educate yourself & others on inequities impacting people of color