The University of Virginia’s Bold Plan to Improve Racial Equity

The University of Virginia’s Racial Equity Task Force today released its report outlining 12 key initiatives to improve racial equity at the university.

The authors stated that “our report is a call to action for the University of Virginia to commit seriously to racial equity and implement a dozen concrete initiatives that are important to the University’s future. We believe strongly that this work requires significant investment in financial resources, leadership, and accountability, without which meaningful change will not occur.”

The report outlined 12 proposed initiatives to improve racial equity at the university, which the task force defines as “a system in which racial identity neither predicts nor determines one’s access, success, nor influence within the University of Virginia – where people of any racial background have an equal probability of thriving.”

The 12 initiatives are:

  1. Endow Equity: Dedicate the necessary financial investments for racial equity: $100 million to $150 million immediately for investments and spending over the next three to five years, $500 million to $650 million in perpetuity by dedicating Strategic Investment Fund Resources for a permanent quasi-endowment, and $100 million to $150 million collaboratively through challenge matching funds (50%) that incentivize targeted philanthropy (50%).
  2. Launch the Equity Scorecard: Develop a scorecard of institutional racial equity goals that are posted publicly, reviewed annually and used in leadership performance evaluations.
  3. Fund the Division for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Fund and empower the Division for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion so that it can fulfill its overall mission and execute or coordinate efficiently all of these initiatives.
  4. Commit to represent Virginia in student body demographics: Recruit, admit and support an undergraduate population that reflects the racial and economic demographics of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
  5. Launch the Inclusive Faculty Initiative: Reform search, hiring, mentoring, promotion and retention practices and double the number of underrepresented minority faculty – currently approximately 200 out of a total faculty of 3,000 – by 2030.
  6. Build pathways for staff success: Improve career development, salary equity and hiring of historically underrepresented groups for leadership positions and contracting opportunities so that Black and Latinx staff and contractors benefit from job promotion and wealth building.
  7. Launch the Grounds for All campaign: Improve the climate at UVA by rethinking, reframing, retelling and renaming UVA’s historic landscape, and also by addressing other barriers such as concerns about policing practices.
  8. Provide anti-racism education to all members of the University community: Empower all members of the UVA community with the courage, understanding, knowledge and skills to take effective anti-racist actions and to foster a culture of belonging and inclusion.
  9. Review tenure and academic policies: Review promotion and tenure policies and other academic policies to ensure that they advance principles of racial equity and global best practices for inclusive excellence.
  10. Endow the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies: Build the preeminent department of African American and African Diaspora Studies by creating an endowment for the new department and supporting its long-term growth.
  11. Launch Pay Our Debts Reparative Scholarship Program, with special recognition to descendants of enslaved laborers: Recognize the descendants of enslaved laborers who built and maintained the University by working with the UVA Alumni Association to create scholarships for both degree and non-degree education.
  12. Restore the Indigenous nation’s platform: Repair relationships with Indigenous communities by creating a Center for Native American and Indigenous Studies with appropriate academic and administrative staffing and including a tribal liaison.

The full 63-page report – Audacious Future, Commitment Required – may be downloaded by clicking here.

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Comments (2)

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  1. El says:

    Sounds good. Now let’s see if they have the requisite degree of courage to make it happen!

  2. Michael says:

    I highly doubt El especially in the Commonwealth of Virginia. In fact, Black American faculty, staff, and Black American students are treated akin to third class citizens. Unfortunately, many of these so-called Black Americans at UVA simply acquiesce to White normalcy in the 21st century.

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