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Paxson, Locke memo addresses anti-Black racism and lack of representation in admissions

Memo highlights shift in the Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan to Phase II, continued work of the University’s Task Force on Anti-Black Racism

Metro Section Editor
Wednesday, September 23, 2020

A Sept. 18 memo by President Christina Paxson P’19 and Provost Richard Locke P’18 notes that representation of HUGs among undergraduate students has remained stagnant while recruitment of faculty and graduate students from historically underrepresented groups has risen.

Both addressing anti-Black racism and furthering diversity and inclusion initiatives at the University were centered in a Sept. 18 memo written by President Christina Paxson P ’19 and Provost Richard Locke P’18 in response to the Diversity and Inclusion Oversight Board’s 2020 annual report released in May. 

Initiatives highlighted included shifting the Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan towards Phase II, which will “assess which of the goals of the DIAP require more concerted attention in the coming years and establish strategies for making progress on those goals,” according to the memo.

The DIAP report noted a rise at the University in the recruitment of faculty and graduate students from historically underrepresented groups, while representation of HUGs among undergraduate students remained stagnant. In response to this, the memo emphasized the necessity of improving admissions for candidates from HUGs in both the undergraduate college and the Warren Alpert Medical School.

Specifically, Paxson and Locke have asked the “Office of College Admission to develop an internal strategy and plan to attract and recruit a more diverse undergraduate student body, with a focus on increasing applications and yields for African American/Black students.” The plan is set to be reviewed by the oversight board for feedback by the end of the fall semester.

The memo urged the oversight board to closely follow the work of the University’s Task Force on Anti-Black Racism, which is co-chaired by Associate Professor Andre Willis and Vice President of Institutional Equity and Diversity Shontay Delalue. The creation of the Task Force was announced in a June 15 letter from Paxson, Locke and Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Barbara Chernow discussing the actions Brown would take to “address racial injustice.” 

The DIOB was also encouraged to engage with the panel series “Race &” in America, which aims to apply the “expertise of Brown scholars to investigate the origins, history and enduring contemporary effects of racism in America.” Forthcoming in the series is “Race & Public Health in America,” to be hosted on Oct. 7 by the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America and the Office of the Provost.

The presidential memo, originally sent Sept. 18 and shared in Today@Brown on Sept. 23, came in response to a May 5 memo published by the DIOB, who published their annual report in May. The intervening time, Paxson and Locke wrote, constituted “a summer of devastating racial violence.”

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  1. The school needs to be transparent and publish the SAT scores and GPA’s of White, Black, Asian, and Hispanic students and see who is really being discriminated against, and who is walking in. Admitting students on the tone of their skin is just insane.

    • Should publish aggregates (means and ranges) for everyone – gender, athletes (by sport), legacies, children of the rich and famous, public schools, private schools, etc. Let’s see the numbers and start from there.

  2. Diversity at the surface level only, not in perspective – a bubble in multiple ways.

    “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”

    • History is history, right or wrong, we cannot and should not change it. We need to study it and learn from it. ” Blackwashing” history will not help anyone.

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