Aug. 4, 2020: Task Force on Racial Equity Announcement


Dear fellow Spartans:

At Michigan State University, it is our priority to ensure we are responding quickly and constructively to future instances of racial injustice and there is always more that we, as an institution, can do to support our community.

In our last communication, we shared President Stanley’s call for the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Steering Committee to create a smaller task force under our direction. This group, known as the Task Force on Racial Equity, was directed to examine racial inequities that affect members of the campus community.

Today, we are proud to announce the official launch of the Task Force on Racial Equity and its members.

The intent of the Task Force is to examine and address urgent and immediate issues critical to racial and ethnic communities on our campus. As the Task Force convenes this month, their efforts will also inform the work of the DEI Steering Committee as we move toward finalizing the long-term DEI Strategic Plan due this December. Additionally, the Task Force will send recommendations for strategies that can be implemented in an expeditious manner to the DEI Steering Committee and the President.

The President has identified three initial issues: campus climate and safety, policing and the diversity of faculty and staff. The President will review Task Force recommendations swiftly and, as appropriate, leverage them to address urgent issues on campus and commence the process as we work toward eliminating systemic barriers.

Certainly, this task force carries enormous responsibility. We need a group of Spartans who understand our campus culture firsthand. With this belief in mind, we are pleased to name the Task Force members, who include representatives from the DEI Steering Committee, the DEI Sub-Committee of the Campus Re-opening Committee, faculty, staff and student body.

 

Co-chairs:

  • Jennifer Cobbina, Ph.D., Associate Professor, School of Criminal Justice 
  • Jonglim Han, M.A., Interim Program Director, Dow STEM Scholars, Neighborhood Student Success Collaborative, Member of DEI Steering Committee
  • Quentin Tyler, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Acting Associate Dean for Administration and Faculty Affairs, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Member of the DEI Subcommittee of the COVID-19 Reopening Campus Task Force

Members:

  • Amber Benton, M.A., Director of Diversity Programming and Student Engagement and Adviser, James Madison College, Coordinator of Women of Color Collaborative
  • Todd Bradley, B.S., CHRS, Senior HR Professional
  • Terah Venzant Chambers, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Educational Administration, and Associate Dean for Equity and Inclusion, College of Education, Co-Chair of the DEI Subcommittee of the COVID-19 Reopening Campus Task Force
  • Pero Dagbovie, Ph.D., University Distinguished Professor of History; Associate Dean, Graduate School, Member of DEI Steering Committee and Member of the Strategic Planning Committee
  • Prabu David, Ph.D., Dean, College of Communication Arts and Sciences, Member of the DEI Steering Committee
  • Matthew Fletcher, JD, Professor of Law and Director of Indigenous Law and Policy Center
  • Juan Flores-Soto, MSW, Coordinator, Office of Cultural and Academic Transitions
  • Leslie Gonzales, Ed.D., Associate Professor, Department of Educational Administration
  • Oprah Jrenal, M.A., Assistant Director, LGBT Resource Center
  • Sgt. Florene McGlothian-Taylor, M.A., Inclusion and Anti-Bias Unit, MSU Police Department, Member of the DEI Steering Committee
  • Emily Sorroche, Ed.D., Coordinator, Office of Cultural and Academic Transitions
  • Francisco Villarruel, Ph.D., Professor and University Outreach and Engagement Fellow, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Member of the DEI Steering Committee

Student Members:

  • Amanuel Engeda, Residential Hall Association Representative
  • Sharron Reed-David, Council of Racial and Ethnic Students/Council of Progressive Students Representative
  • Shiksha Sneha, Associated Students of MSU Representative
  • Diondra Straiton, Council of Graduate Students Representative

Project Manager:

  • Lynne Frechen, Executive Staff Assistant, Office of the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education

Resource Liaisons:

  • Kristine Moore, JD, Assistant General Counsel
  • Kara Yermak, Director of Academic Human Resources

We are grateful to have passionate, committed individuals who have agreed to embark on this new assignment, and we look forward to their candid input, expertise and guidance. We are confident they will offer critical insights based on their academic backgrounds, life experiences and knowledge of issues pertaining to racial equity.

We certainly understand change does not happen overnight. The Task Force will also receive input from the DEI Steering Committee based on their current efforts to compile recommendations, strategies, tactics and suggestions from student, faculty and staff constituent groups and other campus and community stakeholders into a university-level DEI Strategic Plan. We continue to focus on making DEI central to MSU excellence. However, we cannot do this alone.

Over the next several weeks, MSU major administrative units and university departments will receive information regarding a DEI Inventory Survey, which will help assess all current efforts and identify areas of need. A separate DEI Inventory Survey for student organizations will be shared in the fall when students are back on campus. We call on our fellow units and student organizations to complete the survey because we believe with your help, we can make our campus a better and safer place for everyone.

Thank you for serving as our partner.

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Steering Committee

Luis Alonzo Garcia, co-chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Steering Committee

Wanda Lipscomb, co-chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Steering Committee