FSU's President Outlines Plan for Steps Toward Equality

Dustin Franklin

On the heels of so much turmoil in our nation, and after a Unity Walk was orchestrated by leaders of the FSU football team, Florida State University President John Thrasher penned a pledge, with specific steps outlined, to ensure racism and oppression within the FSU community will become a thing of the past. Thrasher named seven actions that will be the first steps, and he vows commitment to making the necessary, positive change. Of course, part of this could be renaming buildings on campus, including Doak Campbell Stadium. 

Dear FSU Family,

The past month has provided each of us an opportunity to confront and reflect on our weaknesses and aspirations related to racism and racial equity. The recent sobering and horrifying moments of violence and racial injustices have profoundly impacted me and the students, faculty and staff of Florida State University. I have spent the past several weeks listening and learning from countless individuals within the FSU family who have experienced oppression and acts of racism. Their expressions of anger, sadness and frustration are palpable. I also have been hearing from many others who want to be agents of change, part of the societal shift in recognizing and challenging racial injustices. I am steadfast in my commitment to move Florida State University forward in addressing these challenges through meaningful and even difficult dialogue, providing support and implementing structural change. The work is immediate and will commence with actions that advance FSU’s Strategic Plan Goal III – to Realize the University’s Full Potential of Diversity and Inclusion. As first steps, we are actively engaged in the following actions:

- Town Hall meetings with student organizations, faculty and staff, and alumni, including identity and affinity groups representing Black and LatinX members of the campus community
- A review of the report from the President’s Advisory Panel on University Namings and the development of a plan for assessment and implementation
- Creation of an educational outreach program about FSU’s history and relationship with the Seminole Tribe of Florida
- The Division of Student Affairs will launch the Student Equity and Inclusion Office, a resource office focused on further educating, training, and implementing programs and services aimed at fostering a more inclusive student experience.
- Implementation of mandatory diversity and inclusion training for all students, faculty and staff to commence Fall semester 2020
- Intensifying efforts to recruit, support and retain students, faculty and staff from underrepresented groups. Part of this effort includes the administration of a campus climate survey during Fall semester to identify and mitigate barriers to recruitment and retention of faculty and staff from underrepresented groups.
- Partnering with FSUPD to administer anti-bias training to officers and establish a Community Relations liaison within the force. Additionally, the University will request that an FSU student representative be appointed to the TPD Community Review Board.

Finally, next week I will announce the appointment of a Special Presidential Task Force on Anti-Racism and Racial Equality for the 2020-2021 academic year. The task force will be charged with exploring the university’s historical connections to race and ethnicity, identifying racial/ethnic disparities on campus and implementing initiatives in support of the diversity and inclusion goal in the University’s strategic plan. This task force will be results-driven and transparent in its work, providing regular updates to my leadership team as well as the campus community. I am convinced that through continuing dialogue and innovative solutions, we will achieve an even better and stronger Florida State University. Sincerely,President John Thrasher

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