In June 2020, former IU President McRobbie announced the anti-racist agenda to the IU Board of Trustees. Spearheaded by Provost Professor Lemuel Watson, associate vice president for diversity, equity, and multicultural affairs, the plan completed the last of its four phases in April 2021.
Phase I centered around pre-planning and identifying the necessary components needed to remove systematic barriers and included conducting an inventory of all diversity, equity, and inclusion-related work across all units on each campus, identifying collaborators, and defining the ultimate outcomes. Phase II focused on data collection and identifying systemic obstacles within the IU system to make structural change. Phase III concentrated on developing strategic recommendations based on the data collected from the previous two segments, and Phase IV focused on reflection and creating systematic implementation plans for changes. In addition, the 360-Degree Student Equity Audit, an audit evaluating the policies and practices in place, was included in Phase III.
After completing these phases, Watson is excited about implementing new policies and changes across IU and its campuses. “Different campuses have different needs, successes, and responses based on where the campuses are,” he said. “I’ve had so many meetings with campus departments and units, and it’s amazing to see how so many people understand the importance of this work and agenda.”
The Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs annual report will publish the findings in the fall edition of the OVPDEMA annual report.
“We’re very proud of the work we’ve done,” Watson said. “One of the most positive things to come from this project is the sincere dialogue about working, educating, and framing those who want to be better. In addition, it’s exciting to witness individuals working to make their offices a more diverse and inclusive space.”
When looking towards the future, Watson is excited to see the agenda continue to spread to the various departments across IU and how they implement changes to ensure a fair and equitable environment for all.
Additionally, the information collected from the first four phases are available to view on the Anti-Racist Dashboard.
For a list of anti-racist and bias resources and examples of anti-racist tools and IU anti-racist work, please visit the anti-racist website.