Chancellor’s Cabinet creates social justice initiatives

From left, Greg Cook, interim chancellor of UW-Whitewater, Rahenya Anderson, a sociology major and president of the Black Student Union, and members of Whitewater Student Government affirm unity as Kenny Yarbrough, right, assistant vice chancellor of equity, diversity and inclusion, concludes his remarks. On behalf of BSU, Anderson presented Cook with a working list of actions to better the experiences of students of color on campus. The UW-Whitewater 2020 Unity Walk for Black Lives Matter culminated with a program at Perkins Stadium, where students and administrators spoke on the themes of unity and community, on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. (UW-Whitewater photo/Craig Schreiner)

UW-WHITEWATER PHOTO/CRAIG SCHREINER

From left, Greg Cook, interim chancellor of UW-Whitewater, Rahenya Anderson, a sociology major and president of the Black Student Union, and members of Whitewater Student Government affirm unity as Kenny Yarbrough, right, assistant vice chancellor of equity, diversity and inclusion, concludes his remarks. On behalf of BSU, Anderson presented Cook with a working list of actions to better the experiences of students of color on campus. The UW-Whitewater 2020 Unity Walk for Black Lives Matter culminated with a program at Perkins Stadium, where students and administrators spoke on the themes of unity and community, on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. (UW-Whitewater photo/Craig Schreiner)

Dauntae Green, Lifestyle Editor

In response to a year filled with race-related events throughout the country and in Wisconsin, the Chancellor’s Cabinet has been hard at work addressing racial issues on campus to improve conditions through social justice.

The cabinet created an initiative grid that shows how the university community is working toward solving these racial problems through agency, advocacy, action and accountability solutions. The Division of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Support Programs (EDI); Intercollegiate Athletics; Academic Affairs; Administrative Affairs; Institutional Advancement; and Student Affairs all play a part in implementing various initiatives over the coming years. Requests made by the Black Student Union (BSU) and Whitewater Student Government (WSG) were important components for setting goals of the plan. 

“It’s the chancellor’s challenge for all of the division leads to think about ways in their areas that they could address racial and social justice.  We looked at it internally to see what we could do at Whitewater, and what we concluded is what everyone submitted in their action plan. We had a couple of cabinet meetings over it. Now you see the finished product so each one of the divisions is now working on what they said that they would work on,” Associate Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Support Programs Kenny Yarbrough said.

Those initiatives include both short-term and long-term goals with a wide range in scope. Some ongoing initiatives will be to close the achievement gap and to re-evaluate the curriculum of diversity courses. Others have already been completed like the creation of a rotating display of multicultural books in libraries at UW-Whitewater and the Rock campus. Readings on Race, Racism and Resistance can be found at https://libguides.uww.edu/pinterest/race.

Some initiatives may never really be seen by the public. For example, UW-W Foundation will conduct a review  to find potential investments in companies that do not support social justice, and in Intercollegiate Athletics a portion of eligibility meetings will be set aside for the athletics diversity and inclusion designee. Yarbrough is taking the lead with his new division to ensure the social justice initiatives are implemented both in public view and behind the scenes.

“I am tasked with monitoring what the other divisions are doing, as well as executing the initiatives that I personally would do under the EDI umbrella. So everybody has to report all of their work to me. And then I would monitor it and update the website monthly to show and demonstrate to the campus community the progress that’s being made,” said Yarbrough.

The Chancellor’s Cabinet and the EDI have a dedicated process when working together with the divisions on racial and social justice issues. They use the tactics of agency, advocacy, action, and accountability as guides for their strategy. 

“I think it’s something that we have to take a bold stand on. You know, when you think about the history of racism, the pillars over our country, they kind of go hand in hand over the last 400 years. I think working for a institution of higher education, it’s our responsibility to not only do our jobs but, tackle important topics like diversity, equity and inclusion. I think it’s definitely vital that all of us have a voice, take a stand in what we believe, and attempt to make some solid change for a lot of our social injustices that have taken place for a long time,” said Interim Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Ryan Callahan.

To learn more about the social justice initiatives taking place across campus visit https://www.uww.edu/division-of-equity-diversity-inclusion-and-support-programs/social-justice and contact Dr. Yarbrough through email  at [email protected]

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