New and revamped positions contribute to cardinal anti-racism agenda
By Madelin Shelton —
As part of U of L’s goal of becoming a premier anti-racist institution, the university has detailed its efforts to create new and revamped diversity-focused positions.
The varied positions have a variety of responsibilities, including creating an inclusive culture on campus, improving retention and graduation rates among minority students, recruiting minority faculty, creating better opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses to work with the university and more.
These revamped and new positions include the following:
- Brigitte Burpo, assistant dean for diversity, equity and inclusion, College of Education and Human Development
- Valerie Clay, coordinator for diversity, equity and inclusion, J.B. Speed School of Engineering
- Crystal Rae Coel, assistant dean for student affairs and diversity, Brandeis School of Law
- Cherie Dawson-Edwards, associate dean for diversity, engagement, culture and climate, College of Arts & Sciences
- Marc D. Ellis, assistant director of procurement diversity and inclusion, Office of Procurement Services
- Audra French, assistant director of student affairs and diversity equity and inclusion, School of Dentistry
- Amalia Gomez, Latinx admissions counselor, Office of Admissions
- Leondra Gully, director of Black and multicultural initiatives, Cultural Center
- Anna Hinton, assistant dean for administration and diversity, equity and inclusion, School of Dentistry
- Trinidad Jackson, assistant dean for culture and liberation, School of Public Health & Information Sciences
- Emma Sterrett-Hong, associate dean of equity and inclusion, Kent School of Social Work
- Nakia Strickland, associate director for diversity engagement, U of L Alumni Association
- Morgan West, new student financial aid advisor, Office of Financial Affairs
In addition to the above, the university also said that the Cultural Center will be filling a director position for Hispanic, Latino and Indigenous initiatives, and new positions are being considered in other U of L departments.
When discussing these positions and how they fit into the Cardinal Anti-Racism Agenda, U of L President Neeli Bendapudi outlined that anti-racism is about believing that skin color does not confer any inherent inferiority or superiority to anybody else and that these positions help advance that idea.
“Being an anti-racist university means that on the individual level and the structural level, we examine what we are doing to see if we have conditions in place to make it possible for every human that’s here to achieve their full potential and not have their race be a factor in that,” she said.
Bendapudi explained that these new and revamped positions indicate that these ideals aren’t happening in one place, but that every school and every unit are taking it seriously.
For how these positions foster a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion Bendapudi said that these positions will ensure that U of L is trying to stay diverse. In addition, they will help foster equity by being close to problems and being able to argue and advocate for equity.
“Having all these people visible in each unit is an invitation to others and hopefully makes them feel more included,” Bendapudi said.