Dear ASU Community:
In an email to the ASU community on Sept. 2, I announced 25 starting actions that we have committed to in the efforts to advance meaningful change in the fight for equality and social justice at ASU and beyond. I emphasize “starting” because we know that this work is not finite. It is evolving and will continue to do so. Central to its implementation is the establishment of a new Advisory Council on African American Affairs, which has already started the important work of convening constructive dialogue around the initiatives.
I am pleased to announce Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, vice president of ASU Cultural Affairs, and Jeffrey Wilson, professor in ASU’s Department of Economics, as the co-chairs of this new Council. I will be working alongside Colleen, Jeffrey and other members of the Council to develop, implement and evaluate the work that we have started in response to recent events that remind us that discrimination still exists and must be dismantled. Together we will draw from our shared knowledge and lived experiences to evaluate and develop all of the possible ways that we can overcome the systemic issues of racism and injustice.
The Council invites the interest and support of all members of the ASU community who are committed to ensuring the success and growth of Black faculty, staff and students. It is important to underscore that we are committed to the success and growth of all of our faculty, staff and students, but this particular moment in time calls for heightened focus on the Black community. In the months between now and July 2021, the Council will hold town hall meetings to address key areas of interest related to the initiatives. One of those meetings will include a deeper discussion about why we are embarking on this work now. A data committee will keep track of the progress we are making together, and a new website dedicated to our efforts will provide updates and serve as a connection hub for ideas and inquiries.
In focusing on the immediate issues and opportunities for Black faculty, staff and students, ASU earnestly accepts the inclusive institutional responsibilities laid bare in the ASU charter. We can do more and we will do more to acknowledge and dismantle the barriers of systemic racism in the ongoing design and evolution of the New American University.
I appreciate the voluntary collaboration and commitment of so many leaders within the ASU community as we accelerate our work in progress. I look forward to your ideas, your input and your initiatives. Let’s do this work together.
Michael M. Crow
Arizona State University