SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Southern Illinois University (SIU) system is taking steps to establish itself as an anti-racist university system.
During virtual conversation WednesdaySystem chairman Dan Mahoney shared his goals for the university system.
âIt is not enough to oppose racism,â said Mahoney. “We must publicly announce, what we do today, that as an academic system we are anti-racist and we are actively working to develop and maintain policies, behaviors and systems that enhance racial equity and foster positive and lasting change for faculty, staff and students on our SIU campuses. â
The SIU School of Medicine and SIU School of Law have already declared themselves âanti-racistâ. Additionally, in 2020, the SIU Board of Directors approved a statement reflecting its commitment to anti-racism, diversity, equity and inclusion (ADEI) efforts.
According to the SIU system, over the past year the system has established an anti-racist task force focused on policies and procedures, training and metrics that strive to make SIU schools diverse, fair. and inclusive.
Dr Sheila Caldwell has been hired as ADEI’s System-Wide Vice President and Head of Diversity for the SIU System. Caldwell said she looks forward to the implementation of mandatory anti-racism and prejudice training for employees starting in fall 2022.
âOther initiatives will be announced in the coming weeks to strengthen our commitment to this fight against racism, knowing that we have not yet arrived. We work together to ensure that the people of the global majority can thrive in every corner of the SIU system and we are committed to reducing the injustices and prejudices created by racist ideas and policies, âCaldwell said.
The university system also plans to continue their virtual “Comprehension Conversations” throughout the year. The series offers SIU students, faculty, staff and the community the opportunity to share their experiences on topics related to diversity, inclusion and equity.
Mahoney acknowledged that there was still a long way to go to meet ADEI’s goals in schools and said the efforts were “a path to becoming an anti-racist system.”