Racial healing: 75 colleges to explore truth, justice through virtual event

Institutions large and small are hoping to learn from others at AAC&U sessions how they can help fight systemic racism.

A group of 40 colleges and universities is ready to take the next step to fight systemic racism and build more equity on their campuses and in their communities. Although most already have made diversity, equity and inclusion part of their strategic missions, they recognize that may not be enough.

So the cohort—along with 35 existing host institutions—will participate in the 2022 Institute on Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Campus Centers held virtually June 21-24 by the American Association of Colleges & Universities. There, they will be able to forge their own action plans to ensure their campuses are open and welcoming while combatting racism and injustice in American society.

Last year, more than 70 institutions took part in the annual event, and the AAC&U is working toward its goal of getting 150 self-sustaining and community-serving Campus Centers across the country.

Though many colleges and universities have made efforts to foster inclusion, increase awareness about racism and build resources for all students, there remain longstanding barriers to success for Blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans—from the over-policing of some groups to the lack of high-paying jobs and health care to voting rights.

“The growing importance of, and the need for, truth-telling, narrative change, and racial healing is evident by the number of institutions that elected to attend the institute,” said Tia Brown McNair, AAC&U vice president for diversity, equity and student success and executive director for the TRHT Campus Centers. “We remain humbled that our colleagues continue to partner with us on this effort to build more just and equitable institutions and communities.”

Those who attend will be creating long-term strategies for their campuses under the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation five ideals, which focus on narrative change, racial healing and relationship building, separation, law and economy. They will be utilizing their current plans to assess processes such as evaluations, communications, engagement and sustainability.

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The goal is to uproot biases and inspire the next generation of leaders and thinkers to advance justice and build more equitable communities. Though the group is set for this year, the AAC&U is welcoming partners that want to prepare future leaders invested in tackling issues of equity while building value. Those that wish to host future campus centers must attend a TRHT Campus Centers Institute, build an action plan, be committed to the THRT ideals and take part in “evaluation efforts and dissemination reports.” Colleges can reach out to McNair for more information.

This year’s group of 40 new attendees includes:

Arkansas: University of Arkansas at Little Rock

California: State Polytechnic University at Pomona; State Polytechnic University, Humboldt, Irvine Valley College, La Sierra University

Connecticut: University of Connecticut

Florida: Florida International University

Georgia: Emory University

Illinois: Benedictine University, Northeastern Illinois University

Indiana: Indiana University South Bend

Iowa: Wartburg College

Kansas: Kansas State University

Louisiana: Centenary College

Massachusetts: Mount Holyoke College, Westfield State University

Michigan: Wayne State University

Minnesota: University of Minnesota, College of Liberal Arts; University of Minnesota Rochester; The College of St. Scholastica; North Hennepin Community College

Missouri: Missouri College and Career Attainment Network

Nebraska: University of Nebraska at Omaha

New York: Cornell University, Hofstra University; The State University of New York at Oswego; Monroe Community College

North Carolina: University of North Carolina Wilmington

Ohio: Baldwin Wallace University

Oregon: Eastern Oregon University

Pennsylvania: Cheyney University, Franklin & Marshall College, Penn State Brandywine

Tennessee: The University of the South

Texas: Trinity University

Utah: Dixie State University, University of Utah

Vermont: Landmark College

Virginia: Hollins University

Washington: Bellevue College

The 35 host institutions that will take part are: Adelphi University, Agnes Scott College, Alamo Colleges District, Andrews University, Austin Community College, Bethel College , Big Sandy Community & Technical College, California State University-Long Beach, Dominican University, Georgia Highlands College, Holy Names University, Hope College, Loyola Marymount University, Marymount University, Marywood University, Mercer County Community College, Middlesex Community College, Montgomery College, Northern Illinois University, Northern Virginia Community College, Otterbein University, Pepperdine University, Prince George’s Community College, Queensborough Community College, Rutgers University–Camden, Rutgers University–Newark, Seton Hall University, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, St. Petersburg/Pinellas Higher Education for Race Equity, State University of New York at Plattsburgh, Suffolk University, The Citadel, UC Davis Health, University of Hawai’i at Hilo, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa.

Chris Burt
Chris Burt
Chris is a reporter and associate editor for University Business and District Administration magazines, covering the entirety of higher education and K-12 schools. Prior to coming to LRP, Chris had a distinguished career as a multifaceted editor, designer and reporter for some of the top newspapers and media outlets in the country, including the Palm Beach Post, Sun-Sentinel, Albany Times-Union and The Boston Globe. He is a graduate of Northeastern University.

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