Racism in the United States remains a persistent and urgent problem, stunting opportunity for children and families and cutting lives distressingly short.
This summer we asked Valerie Harrison, Senior Advisor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, to oversee an effort to identify new ways our university can build on its long-standing effort to combat racism on our campus, in our city and in society at large, and to provide better pathways to opportunity for children in our local community.
Based on that effort, we are announcing more than $1 million in new funding that Temple University will spend this year to support anti-racism education and programming. The following are highlights of our ongoing effort.
- Reinvesting in anti-racism education
Temple is an international leader in anti-racism education as home to the prestigious department of Africology and African American Studies, the first department in the United States to offer a doctoral program in the field more than 30 years ago. Today, department Chair, Dr. Molefi K. Asante, our faculty and our doctoral graduates are recognized internationally, including alumnus Ibram X. Kendi, author of the 2019 New York Times Best Seller, How to Be an Antiracist. We have provided funding to hire four additional full-time faculty members and provide much-needed support for scholarship, research and education.
- Creating the Center for Anti-Racism Research
Led by the Department of Africology and African American Studies, this university-wide center will be a resource for impactful evidence-based and solutions-focused research. As the focal point of the university’s research in this area, the center will be a home for collaboration among scholars from across Temple and other universities.
- Investing in a bridge program for North Philadelphia youth
We will develop at Temple a new pipeline of academic enrichment for students in the Philadelphia School District and summer bridge program for students who live in our neighboring North Philadelphia zip codes. This pipeline will include scholarships and other resources to smooth the path from local schools to higher education and meaningful careers.
- Investing in campus-wide anti-racism training and core curriculum changes
We are committed to teaching our students, staff and faculty about racism and ways to combat it in their daily lives. All staff and faculty will be encouraged to complete a new anti-racism training program. Core curriculum for students currently includes a racial diversity course, which we will seek to modify to more directly address issues of racism. All schools and colleges will be asked to review curricula to determine if their programs are adequately preparing students to be proficient in an increasingly diverse world.
- Bringing the gold standard to Temple Campus Police
Former President Barack Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing Final Report is considered the gold standard for modern policing and was produced under the direction of former Commissioner of Philadelphia Police Charles H. Ramsey. We are completing a comprehensive evaluation of Temple campus police policies and practices to ensure that they are consistent with these standards.
- Prioritizing recruitment and retention of faculty and employees of color
The university will enhance its efforts to recruit a more diverse faculty and staff, particularly for those areas with high minority availability but low representation.
- Building upon our existing assets and programs
Temple has significant and long-standing assets and programs designed to dismantle barriers to equal access to education, employment and health care, including but not limited to the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, Advocacy and Leadership (IDEAL), the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection, the Pan-African Studies Community Education Program (PASCEP), the Lenfest North Philadelphia Workforce Initiative, and Temple Health. We will invest additional resources to build awareness of these programs, grow participation and make fundraising for anti-racism work an institutional priority to allow us to extend our current reach.
- Coordinating engagement
The university’s racial equity work includes policies and actions in every part of the university. We applaud the efforts of faculty, staff and students in individual schools, colleges and administrative units who have been engaged in this critical work for decades, for those who are enhancing existing programs and those who are creating new ones. The university will continue to support these efforts.
We are thrilled to share these new initiatives and look forward to the important progress we’ll make this year and beyond. Working together, we know that the Temple community can make a difference in the fight against racism for generations to come.
Richard M. Englert
JoAnne A. Epps
Executive Vice President and Provost
Kevin G. Clark
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer