Wilson looks ahead, plans for increased inclusion and diversity

By Daily Illini Staff Report

Wilson outlines initiatives promoting diversity and inclusion.

Rather than the traditional holiday greeting mass email, Interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson sent out a list of initiatives Monday afternoon addressing recent issues of the racism and discrimination that she recognized are a “part of daily life” for some students on campus.

Wilson referred to campus vigils and several recent rallies in the Massmail. A Black Solidarity Rally held last month made national news when just hours after the rally, an Illini White Student Union Facebook page was formedSO. University administration have since released statements condemning the page but have faced criticism from some groups on campus, arguing the University could be more active and vocal against racism at Illinois.

Wilson detailed several parts of the current efforts she is taking, with the help of several committees including Menah Pratt-Clarke, associate provost for diversity.

Additionally, the University has committed $4.9 million to the construction of a new facility for the Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center in 2018. She also mentioned “increased undergraduate scholarship support,” although a specific number of scholarships or total amount of money allocated to fund them was not noted.SO

Several aspects of the plan include training on diversity and inclusion that will now be required including a diversity training for all employees to serve on search committees for new hires.

Wilson said she will continue to meet with student leaders involved with #BeingBlackAtIllinois to address problems contributing to racism on campus.SO

Professor named Presidential Fellow to focus on inclusiveness, equity

Professor James D. Anderson has been chosen as a new Presidential Fellow to focus on issues of inclusiveness and equity at the University. Anderson has worked as a professor in Education.

President Timothy Killeen announced the appointment Monday morning via MassmailSO. Anderson will serve in the position for the next 12 months.

As the Presidential Fellow, Anderson will serve as a liaison between the Office of the President and all three University campuses. He will assist in the creation and development of new initiatives aimed at eliminating racial inequity and discrimination.

His appointment comes in the wake of an Illini White Student Union Facebook page formed online in response to a Black Solidarity rally held on Nov. 18SO. The Central Black Student Union and the Black Students for Revolution have planned several solidarity events since the creation of the Facebook page and the University administration’s subsequent responses condemning the page.

Members of the Black Students for Revolution were critical of the University’s response to the formation of the page as well as other issues they felt perpetuated the subjugation of black people on campus.

The initiative aims to “tap into the deep talent pool of U of I faculty and provide an opportunity for individual faculty members to work part-time for one year on critical strategic initiatives and projects,” according to Killeen’s Massmail.

Anderson was also recently appointed as an advisor to the athletic board. In the position Anderson will provide both academic and non-academic advice to Interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson and the Athletic Board.SO

Christophe Pierre, vice president for Academic Affairs, will be consulting with Anderson in his new role, according to the massmail.SO

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