Dear university community,
As communities across the nation speak out against racial injustice and inequality, we must summon our better angels to identify and implement initiatives that can begin the lifelong work to impactfully address the issues of inclusion and equity, particularly as they relate to our FIU. The time to act is now. Accordingly, I have asked three university/community leaders to serve as a core advisory group to review and recommend initiatives to us that will enhance equality, dignity, inclusion and belonging. We seek permanent reforms that will make our community and our world a better place. We are calling this project our Equity Action Initiative.
The three are El pagnier Hudson, our Vice President of Human Resources, Dr. Valerie Patterson, Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Public Policy and Administration in the Green School, and Delrish Moss, Captain in our FIU Police Department and former Ferguson, Missouri Police Chief. Each of them has deep roots in our community; each has worked for decades to improve race relations and eliminate systemic racism; each understands the interface between these issues and our university’s institutional norms and procedures.
At FIU, we must root out any semblance of racism, bigotry and implicit bias. We must foster inclusion for members of the black community as well as other groups who feel excluded from the fairness, equal treatment, and opportunity called for by our mission and values.
We have a renewed commitment to play a key role in social justice and equal opportunity. To move forward, I have asked this core advisory group to spend the next 30 days reviewing options and initiatives that can help us reform and improve the approach to our work. They will work collaboratively and consult widely - both inside and outside of FIU - on specific initiatives that will help us reduce and eliminate disparities and inequities in our work environment. This group will solicit advice, suggestions, position papers, data analysis and evidence to include in their recommendations. They will examine, consider, and present appropriate initiatives focused on our community, our police, access to higher education, and FIU. Provost Kenneth Furton and I expect a proposal that is extensive enough to be impactful both in the institution and in the community, yet agile enough to be quickly implemented, as appropriate.
For each initiative suggested, the core advisory group should indicate alignment with FIU’s current strategic plan, as well as offer an implementation strategy that includes on-going operating cost, appropriate measurement indices, and desired result. Any proposed initiative must enhance the prospects for learner success, well-being and social mobility in an environment free of racism and implicit bias.
We will review recommendations in late July and expect implementation to closely follow.
Please reach out to VP Hudson, Professor Patterson or Captain Moss with your ideas and assistance as they undertake this important project for our FIU by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark B. Rosenberg