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Statements from President Crow

ASU's commitment to Black students, faculty and staff

September 02, 2020

To the ASU community:

On June 1, after the murder of George Floyd and as the Black Lives Matter protests refocused the nation’s attention on ending systemic racism and violence directed at Black people and communities of color, I reached out to voice ASU’s rejection of racism and discrimination and to reaffirm our university pledge to always pursue the highest levels of social inclusion and impact. Now, I am reaching out again, this time after the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

These incidents, and countless others, remind us that we have so much more to do to achieve our common aspiration for social justice in this country. They are also a reminder to turn a mirror on ourselves to identify our own missteps, inadequacies and deficiencies and to acknowledge our institutional responsibility to do more than we ever have before in the fight for equality and social justice.

In order to accelerate meaningful change here at ASU and to contribute to a national agenda for social justice, ASU is committing to the 25 actions listed below. These 25 actions are drawn from your ideas, your expertise, your creativity and your public commentary, and each and every one of them will be launched this year. They will be undertaken with the goal of enhancing diversity, growth and opportunity for Black undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff, while also expanding our academic offerings, community services and collaborative relationships to the benefit of all underrepresented groups and individuals at ASU.

I do know this list of actions will be inadequate by itself. I also want to acknowledge that many units across the university have already been hard at work at introspection and planning on how they will address racial injustice. What I want to firmly communicate to you today is that we will work harder, invest more and do more to ensure that Black students, faculty and staff — and other underrepresented groups and individuals — are provided an educational, work and living environment that is welcoming, supportive and empowering to their success, creativity and ability to achieve their personal, educational and professional goals all for the betterment of this university and our nation. 

As always, I welcome your thoughts about this initial agenda of activity. We will provide regular updates on the implementation of these action items. Thank you for being a member of a diverse and inclusive ASU community, and I look forward to working with you to advance these initiatives.

Michael M. Crow
Arizona State University


Arizona State University list of 25 actions to support

Black students, faculty and staff

1. ASU commits to supporting ASU law Professor Victoria Sahani’s proposal to undertake a historical study of race and discrimination at the university. She will be director of the Faculty Inclusion Research for System Transformation (FIRST) initiative.

2. ASU commits to the appointment of an Advisory Council on African American Affairs, comprised of faculty, staff and students to assist the president in ensuring the success of Black faculty and staff and the growth of students while also convening and engaging the Black community at ASU, locally and nationally on a variety of issues. The advisory council will be established and convened by its chairperson as soon as possible in September 2020.

3. ASU recommits to supporting the vice provost for inclusion and community engagement in the role of convening and engaging the university community through the Committee for Campus Inclusion in support of the university provost’s efforts to achieve these and other goals.

4. The chairperson of the Advisory Council on African American Affairs and the vice provost for inclusion and community engagement will convene a regular series of discussions about the implementation of this list of 25 actions and the continued development and advancement of new ideas that would facilitate the goals and activities reflected in these commitments.

5. ASU commits to establishing a multicultural space on campus and establishing and funding a working group to assess and begin design options for this space.

6. ASU commits to publishing an annual report on all key metrics to broadly share student enrollment and graduation data and to celebrate the successes, ideas and work of our Black students, faculty and staff.

7. ASU recommits to promoting student success and well-being among Black students and all students of color as ASU constantly pursues a student body that reflects the people and changing demographics of the state of Arizona. This includes, but is not limited to, realizing undifferentiated outcomes in student retention and graduation for Black students and other students. This work is articulated in our charter, mission and goals and will be accelerated with and through the mechanisms, activities and investments reflected in the first 25 actions identified here and in the work of the President's Advisory Council on Inclusion and Success .

8. ASU commits to investing in and providing enhanced service support to student organizations and their initiatives on behalf of Black students including, but not limited to, the African American Men of Arizona State University, Sankofa, STARS and the Black African Coalition.

9. ASU commits to hosting an annual spring recruitment fair for undergraduates of color into graduate programs across all disciplines with scholarship investments in acute areas of underrepresentation. 

10. ASU commits to establishing a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship Program funding a minimum of 30 postdoctoral fellowships from underrepresented communities over the next two years who will — presuming satisfactory performance — continue on after two years into a tenure-track position. This program will continue so that we are creating a long-term process to diversify the faculty of the university.

11. ASU commits to creating a new class of graduate fellowships (Community Fellows) for Black students and other students of color.

12. ASU commits to establishing graduate assistantships for underrepresented students to go to graduate school. ASU will support the addition of 50 new graduate assistantships over the next two to three years.

13. ASU commits to establishing a university-wide student entrepreneurship, career advising and student success initiative to inspire and assist Black students and all students of color to successfully pursue their visions for their future and to help provide pathways to the careers of their choice.

14. ASU commits to the training of all faculty and staff on all search committees to address issues such as systemic bias in identification of candidates and hiring.

15. ASU commits to more cluster hiring around leading faculty members from underrepresented groups to deepen our expertise and recruit more underrepresented faculty with a commitment to 10 positions this year and continuing in subsequent years.

16. ASU commits to advancing appointments and/or enhancing the role of academic centers in the advancement of the institution as both affirming of race and of advancing multicultural solidarity.

17. ASU commits to appointing a Black tenured faculty member to Barrett, The Honors College to serve as a resource to recruit and retain Black students in Barrett.

18. ASU commits to implementing the “To Be Welcoming” training for all continuing and new ASU employees and students.

19. ASU commits to implementing a program of service time for Black (and other) employees to serve as mentors to Black and other students at ASU. 

20. ASU commits to the establishment of a new Bachelor of Arts degree in Race, Culture and Democracy to be launched by the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences and The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (School of Social Transformation) with support from the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy.

21. ASU commits to the enhancement of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy as part of the Office of the Provost and under the leadership of Director Lois Brown, working under the direction of the vice provost for inclusion and community engagement. 

22. ASU has committed to the appointment of Ehsan Zaffar, senior adviser on civil rights and civil liberties at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, to launch and lead a multicollege interdisciplinary initiative to help reduce inequality in the United States. 

23. ASU has committed to providing funding to sustain the Community-Driven Archives initiative in the ASU Library in order to enhance the historical record of and the university’s and library’s engagement with underrepresented communities.

24. ASU commits to providing increased institutional support for the annual “A. Wade Smith Memorial Lecture on Race Relations.”

25. ASU commits to an ASU police force on which all officers have a baccalaureate degree or the opportunity to earn a baccalaureate degree if they do not have one. ASU also will develop additional racial sensitivity and other new training for ASU police officers and further supplement the ASU police force with enhanced services to meet the many needs of students, faculty, staff and the public who call upon the university for responses to emergencies and incidents of various kinds.