The UNC System’s Racial Equity Task Force began work last June to examine racial inequities in North Carolina’s public higher education system and arrive at an actionable path forward to build a culture of inclusion across the institutions.
Members of the task force included representation from the Board of Governors, students, faculty and staff throughout the UNC System. Members met regularly to examine data, consult with diversity and inclusion professionals, students, faculty and staff from the 17 institutions and ultimately, adopt recommendations and action steps.
In its final report, the Racial Equity Task Force adopted six recommendations and 28 action steps that it considers essential to advancing the goal of achieving racial equity within the UNC System. The task force also conducted a system-wide survey last fall and hosted a number of virtual town halls which, together, garnered participation from more than 20,000 people across the system.
The Racial Equity Task Force recommendations pertain to the following categories:
- Diversity and Equity Staffing to Support Inclusion and Belonging
- Representation and Retention at All Levels of the University
- Data and Accountability
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Education
- Programs and Activities in Support of Racial Equity and Inclusion
- Campus Policing
The recommendations call for the establishment of an executive position that reports directly to the president to implement the recommendations of the task force and oversee future equity and inclusion initiatives.
The UNC System aims to examine and improve recruitment, hiring, promotion and retention policies and practices to build a racially diverse and equitable university system. Notably, the sixth recommendation calls for the building upon of training, procedures and data collection practices that effectively support and promote racial equity in campus policing; additionally, the strengthening of partnerships with other campus departments to facilitate alternative and/or shared responses to certain crises is also recommended. Each recommendation has action steps to aid in its implementation.
The recommendations and action steps are a much needed step towards racial equity in our state’s public higher education system; however, the task force acknowledges that this work and examination must be ongoing. The UNC System must continue examining where inequities exist and look into how the legacy of race and racism in the state’s public higher education system impacts the experiences of those in it.
- More information regarding the six recommendations and their associated action steps can be found at on the UNC System Racial Equity Task Force website.
Jenna Nabors (she/her) is a fourth-year student majoring in communication with minors in international studies, journalism and English and a Park Scholar. Share your thoughts about this article on Twitter at @NCStateOIED.