Dear Auburn Family,
The timeless principles of the Auburn Creed are especially important during this period in our nation’s history of civil unrest caused by racial and social inequality. These realities reinforce our commitment to the Auburn Family, the value we place on diverse perspectives and experiences and an environment in which we all can excel and thrive.
For the last couple of months, a group representative of the campus community has met twice per week to examine current diversity, equity and inclusion issues and to recommend steps leading to a stronger and more impactful Auburn for students, faculty, staff, alumni and the communities we serve. Moving forward, we will provide regular updates.
To better reflect its purpose, the task force designated itself the Presidential Task Force for Opportunity and Equity and created the following mission statement:
“The Presidential Task Force for Opportunity and Equity is a representative team invested in developing an equitable and inclusive Auburn University. Our current priority is to examine racial inequality and to recommend strategies for addressing disparities. The membership of this group may change in response to specifics that may emerge.”
The task force includes undergraduate and graduate students, staff, A&P, faculty and alumni representatives. Such diversity has generated different ideas and opinions; however, the group agrees that its primary objective is to address racial inequities and create greater inclusion. Our students have been particularly helpful in providing candid perspectives to ensure concerns are heard and addressed.
Members of the task force have embraced the importance of increasing their knowledge of key concepts and are deepening their understanding of issues they seek to impact. They have held critical and uncomfortable conversations on topics about racism, microaggressions, privilege and allyship, among others.
To date, the task force has implemented the following initiatives:
Establish an enterprise-wide Diversity, Education and Inclusion and Training program for students, faculty and staff through EverFi’s learning platform.
Utilize the expertise of task force member, Melody Russell, to review and recommend advanced DEI professional development opportunities throughout the university.
Increase recruitment and retention of African-American students; guarantee admission for valedictorians and salutatorians from accredited state of Alabama high schools with 50 or more students; expand PLUS scholarship awards and the President’s Graduate Opportunity Fund; and direct at least 10 percent of scholarship funds for need-based aid.
While this is progress, more work is ahead. I appreciate the energy, passion and resolve that task force members continue to make. We remain deeply committed to ensuring the values of our creed are demonstrated at Auburn for everyone.