A year ago, people across the country moved to action when images of the death of George Floyd surfaced. It was a devastating reminder of the ongoing anti-Black systems of inequity that continue to poison our country.

A year ago, we too came together as an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) division and came to the agreement that while there was comfort in the momentary solidarity, we were committed to long-term, systemic change. Any system that has disparate outcomes on historically underrepresented communities must be critically examined, disrupted, and replaced by equitable systems that provide just outcomes. Sustained change requires that we acknowledge how we’ve been complicit and define how we will commit ourselves to building a different reality.

This year and every year, we should revisit and update this Call to Action, and examine what we have done personally and collectively to further this work, so that his death, and the death of so many others, will not be in vain.

Our commitment is explicit, to work together to eliminate inequities in our policies, practices, and systems.

Our work is not done.

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.

New Leadership Academy Fellows Program

The New Leadership Academy (NLA) Fellows Program changes the expectations that surround leaders, leadership and leadership development across higher education. The learning strategies informing the program’s curriculum are premised on a recognition that the demographic, democratic, and discursive foundations on which modern higher education has been built are changing. As colleges and universities respond to these environments, leaders will require specialized knowledge and tools, as well as the personal and professional courage to be effective in what are clearly complex and highly contested environments.

EDI Executive Committee

The EDI Executive Committee was created to inform, guide, and coordinate addressing racist policies and long-standing practices that perpetuate racism and inequity on our campus. The committee examined institutional policies and practices that perpetuate racism, bias, and systemic inequity in the recruitment, hiring, and advancement of staff and faculty in order to inform hiring and retention initiatives and other actions that will build on previous diversity hiring efforts at the U.

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.

Friday Forums

Friday Forums is a commitment to the state and region in elevating national conversations and showcasing models of disrupting complicit racism. Each session welcomes national thought leaders to lead discussions and provide opportunities for participants to share ideas on actionable items towards a diverse, equitable, and inclusive campus.

Racism as a Public Health Threat Lecture Series

Created in response to the killing of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, this series reflects the moral and political struggle around issues of systemic racism and inequity. This lecture series seeks to demonstrate what we fiercely believe to be true: that the physical and mental health of the whole of society is negatively impacted when racist attitudes and practices are allowed to continue uncontested. The series selects speakers whose community and intellectual efforts help connect this understanding. This series is hosted by the Department of Family and Preventative Medicine.

White Coats for Black Lives - University of Utah School of Medicine Chapter

WhiteCoats4BlackLives is a medical student-run organization born out of the National White Coat Die-In demonstrations that took place on December 10, 2014. The organization's mission is to dismantle racism in medicine and promote the health, well-being, and self-determination of Black and Indigenous people, and other people of color. Contact the School of Medicine's chapter here.

Ongoing & New Campus Initiatives

EDI Strategy Council

The EDI Strategy Council will be comprised of a point of contact/lead from each college, division unit, and organization across the university. The charge of the on-going steering council is to participate in the development of an equity, diversity, and inclusion roadmap for units and colleges to use as a guide towards meeting the equity, diversity, and inclusion goals of the Strategy Refresh 2025. The goal of the council is to support unit efforts by creating alignment and sharing promising practices on a regular basis.

Black Advisory Council

The University of Utah Black Advisory Council partners and collaborates with University of Utah administration and advises the vice president for EDI in the recruitment and retention of Black students, faculty, and staff while supporting their continued growth and addressing the ongoing climate of the Black community at the University of Utah.

Operation S.U.C.C.E.S.S.

Operation S.U.C.C.E.S.S powered by George Floyd Memorial Fund is a competitive, application-based program with a focus on nurturing future leaders and empowering effective problem-solving skills at the University of Utah and the greater Salt Lake community. By becoming Black Cultural Center Ambassadors, exploring a sense of belonging at a Predominantly White Institution (PWI), and gaining leadership skills through our academic yearlong bootcamp, S.U.C.C.E.S.S. fellows can be nurtured in becoming our communities next great leaders.

EDI Partners Quarterly Meetings

Under the vision of One U thriving, the goal of these quarterly meetings is to draw connections between the unit and divisional strategies. In the initial meeting, EDI shared our vision and direction; and moving forward we will create space where you and your team can share successes and challenges – a place where we can have open dialog and support one another’s efforts in the shared goals of becoming an anti-racist campus. Please contact us to join.

New Leadership Academy Fellows Program

The New Leadership Academy (NLA) Fellows Program changes the expectations that surround leaders, leadership and leadership development across higher education. The learning strategies informing the program’s curriculum are premised on a recognition that the demographic, democratic, and discursive foundations on which modern higher education has been built are changing. As colleges and universities respond to these environments, leaders will require specialized knowledge and tools, as well as the personal and professional courage to be effective in what are clearly complex and highly contested environments.

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.

One U Thriving Committees

Building upon President Watkins’ vision for the future of One U, and united in serving the people of Utah and the nation as a flagship institution at the forefront of scientific research and innovation, EDI launched One U Thriving as a synergistic approach in developing methods to achieve inclusion and equity on throughout the University.

One U Thriving is supported by a steering committee with four teams:

  • Anti-Racism Committee
    The Anti-Racism Committee advises the Steering Committee on the overall campus climate regarding issues and events of racism across all intersections of identity and bias. Additionally, they recommend and evaluate measures to ensure that every student, faculty, and staff enjoys an environment free of racism and hate.
  • Presidential Commission on the Status of Women
    The purpose of the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women is to provide leadership and expertise to the University of Utah community in promoting University women in their various roles and activities, and to serve as a forum for the exchange of ideas within the University. The Commission aims to create and maintain an environment that fosters the growth and development of all members of the community in all their diversity and allows them to work to their full potential.
  • Racist and Bias Incident Response Team
    The Racist and 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 anonymously or with your name.
  • Universal Design & Access Committee
    The Universal Design & Access Committee advises the Steering Committee 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. The committee 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.

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.

Friday Forums

Friday Forums is a commitment to the state and region in elevating national conversations and showcasing models of disrupting complicit racism. Each session welcomes national thought leaders to lead discussions and provide opportunities for participants to share ideas on actionable items towards a diverse, equitable, and inclusive campus.

Community Conversations

In partnership with the Bennion Center and Peace & Conflict Studies Program, the Black Cultural Center and American Indian Resource Center co-facilitate this series on various topics in a space provided to listen, be heard, and reflect with others.

Racism as a Public Health Threat Lecture Series

Created in response to the killing of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, this series reflects the moral and political struggle around issues of systemic racism and inequity. This lecture series seeks to demonstrate what we fiercely believe to be true: that the physical and mental health of the whole of society is negatively impacted when racist attitudes and practices are allowed to continue uncontested. The series selects speakers whose community and intellectual efforts help connect this understanding. This series is hosted by the Department of Family and Preventative Medicine.

Join us on May 25, 2021, for this year's iteration of the lecture with Dr. Adbul El-Sayed's presentation "Racism as a Public Health Threat: Putting an End to Inequity in Public Health", which will be followed by a 30-minute panel discussion facilitated by Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI). This panel will feature further exploration on the challenges presented by Dr. El-Sayed through additional expert perspectives.

Community Read

Community Read is a monthly reading & journaling group hosted by the Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library; Office of the Associate Vice President for Health Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion; and the School of Medicine's Office of Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Summer sessions are co-sponsored by the Native American Research Internship (NARI) and the American Indian Resource Center (AIRC).

This summer's June and July series will focus on "Heart Berries" by Terese Marie Mailhot -- a powerful, poetic memoir of an Indigenous woman's coming of age on the Seabird Island Band in the Pacific Northwest.

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.

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.

Campaigns & Communication

Beyond a Moment of Solidarity

A year ago, people across the country moved to action when images of the death of George Floyd surfaced. It was a devastating reminder of the ongoing anti-Black systems of inequity that continue to poison our country. Our commitment is explicit, to work together to eliminate inequities in our policies, practices, and systems. Our work is not done.

Newsletters

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

Share Your Story: 156th Anniversary of Juneteenth

With the 156th anniversary of Juneteenth, the struggle to be treated fair and equal continues. Student Development and Inclusion invites you to commemorate Juneteenth by remembering and sharing your story to honor the progress that's been made and reflect on the important changes that still remain ahead.

#CheckOnYourUCrew

The #CheckOnYourUCrew outreach campaign continues to encourage our community to reach out to others, make connections and expand your U Crew. The focus this week is on feelings of being overwhelmed as the semester and this trying academic year come to a close and resources available for students. Share these resources if you know a student who may need access to the following resources.

@theU & University Statements and Announcements

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, university leadership engages in insightful conversations with students, staff, faculty, alumni and community stakeholders who are at the center of the state's flagship research university.

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.

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:

Try The AntiRacist Table 30-day Challenge

Join our EDI Partners Quarterly Meetings

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

Explore the Antiracist Resource Guide

Give to the University of Utah George Floyd Memorial Fund

Listen to and validate others' experiences of racial injustice

Enroll in courses related to equity, diversity, and inclusion

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

Create an
anti-racist agenda