Published December 11, 2020
President Satish K. Tripathi updated the UB community yesterday on the work of the President’s Advisory Council on Race, which he formed in June to help UB achieve a culture that thrives on equity, diversity, inclusion and social justice.
In a university-wide email, Tripathi outlined the council’s initial recommendations and said UB has a “call to combat racism and dismantle structural barriers to equity for our underrepresented minority community, including our Black, Indigenous, Latinx students, faculty and staff.”
The council’s recommendations follow a tumultuous year in which police and vigilante violence against Black and other people of color, including numerous killings, galvanized nationwide protests for racial and social justice.
Tripathi formed the council, which consists of 12 faculty, staff, students and alumni, as well as Tripathi and Despina Stratigakos, vice provost for inclusive excellence, as the UB community grappled with these issues and began to discuss racism and systemic inequality at UB and beyond.
The council’s charge is to examine how UB can become more equitable in its policies, programs, activities and traditions. Its work over the past six months produced a set of initial recommendations:
The “principles of social justice have informed and underpinned” the council’s work, Tripathi said, adding that it has focused on four areas: recruitment, hiring and retention of faculty and staff; recruitment, admissions, retention and graduation of students; curriculum and teaching; and community engagement.
Advisory council members will describe their research, how they determined benchmarks and the full scope of their recommendations to the campus community in greater detail in a series of Zoom meetings planned for the upcoming spring semester, Tripathi said.
Following these conversations, A. Scott Weber, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, will lead an effort to implement the council’s recommendations. Tripathi said the council will “continue to serve in an advisory capacity as long as necessary,” meeting with Weber and him “to guide our university’s progress and ensure accountability.”
Tripathi also thanked the council members for their service, and noted that much work university-wide remains to be done.
“Let me assure you that the work at hand is not a one-time effort; nor do these recommendations represent an exhaustive list,” he said. “As I have said many times before, there are always other questions to ask and other avenues to explore as we collectively move toward a more just and equitable university community.”