Marshall University president announces plan to target racism on campus

West Virginia

HUNTINGTON, WVMarshall University President Jerome A. Gilbert has announced a plan to address bias, discrimination, and racism on the university’s campus.

The plan includes the creation of the “Coalition for Anti-Racism,” a group which will advise Gilbert and other Marshall organizations.

Gilbert called the first meeting last Thursday, June 18, 2020, with the goal of opening dialogue across campus.

“The recent events across our country have made me even more aware of the systemic racism and discrimination that is evident nearly everywhere, including here at Marshall,” Gilbert said. “Our university is not perfect, but like many other organizations, we are working to better understand and learn from each other every day. We will not stand for racism or injustice in our community and are ready for change.”

In discussion with the coalition, Gilbert said his desire to develop items for both short-term and longer-term consideration.  Among the initiatives to be launched include: 

  • Implement mandatory human resources training on anti-racism and anti-bias for every employee to foster a more inclusive environment. Options for training for students will also be explored.
  • Expand the diversity of staff and faculty by asking every hiring unit to develop a meaningful plan to recruit Black and other non-majority employees. It is expected these discussions will occur this fall.
  • A planned Town Hall with the Marshall University Police Department and other campus units to inspire forthright communication about community social justice and security and safety measures on campus.
  • With the assistance of Marshall’s Student Government Association, the President’s Commission on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and Black United Students, schedule listening sessions with students in the fall to discuss racism and barriers to Black student success and the success of other non-majority groups at Marshall.

The coalition’s first meeting was attended by faculty, staff and student representatives of Student Affairs, Student Government, Black United Students, the Black Alumni Association, the Center for African American Students, Marshall University Office of Public Safety, the Marshall University Board of Governors and the President’s Commission on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, but is expected to expand to include others across campus.

“President Gilbert and I are encouraged by the feedback and brainstorming that occurred during our meeting,” said Maurice Cooley, vice president for intercultural and student affairs. “In the coming weeks and months, we will continue to solicit input from others to aid in eliminating social injustice.”


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