University News

Anti-Racism Task Force Established at WIU

March 22, 2022

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MACOMB/MOLINE, IL – When Guiyou Huang started his tenure as Western Illinois University's 12th president in January 2021, one of his core initiatives was to further the University's diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives and efforts.

Huang has created a new Anti-Racism Task Force (ARTF), composed of approximately 22 faculty, staff, students from both campuses, as well as community members. The task force recently held its first meeting, which included training presentations from Jessica C. Harris, vice chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, Jamie Ball, director of SIUE's Office of EOA/Title IX Coordination and Gertrude Pannirselvam, associate professor in the Department of Management and Marketing. The WIU Task Force's first objective will be to identify anti-racism initiatives and advise/support the creation of the University's Diversity Plan.

"I shared in my DEI update letter last month that I am greatly appreciative to the individuals who accepted the nomination to be a part of this critical initiative. I was so pleased to get so many names from faculty, staff, and students who provided names and nominations," Huang said. "I'm excited to get updates and reports from this most important task force, and to begin putting plans into action."

WIU ARTF members include: Students - Devon Bradley, Jalen Carlos, Fiifi Godwyll, Ariahanna Hightower and Michelle Narvaez; Faculty - Rebekah Buchanan, Merrill Cole, Tracy Davis, Kishor Kapale, Jim LaPrad, Barry McCrary, Heather McIlvaine-Newsad, Lorette Oden and Macherie Placide; Staff - Rob Jeter, Tim Johnson, Ted Renner, Sterling Saddler, Darcie Shinberger and Derek Watts; and Community Members - Jerel Jones and Andrea Henderson.

In addition, the WIU Board of Trustees recently approved a new Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. A search will begin for a director of DEI, who will work in concert with the ARTF, Huang added.

ARTF initiatives will be available on the WIU website in the near future.

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