INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (October 15, 2020)—In keeping with its founding values and ongoing efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), Butler University is establishing a Hub for Black Affairs and Community Engagement in partnership with Professor of Political Science Dr. Terri Jett as Faculty Director.
This is one of many DEI initiatives, and one in which the University is allocating notable financial resources, that are being implemented as part of Butler’s broader commitment to create an intentionally diverse, equitable, and inclusive learning and working environment. Such actions, which include commencing the search to add two positions in the Efroymson Diversity Center and establishing a DEI Innovation Fund, will provide additional meaningful resources to our campus community.
Consisting of the components outlined below, the Hub will serve as an institutional command center to address systemic racism and Black oppression, with its work beginning this academic year.
- An Advisory Group will be established, consisting of faculty members, staff, students, and representatives of the Black Alumni Association and local community to help determine the priorities of the Hub and be responsive to the administration in efforts to address the experiences of Black Butler faculty, staff, and students. This group will also establish ongoing communication and collaboration with, advocacy for, and institutional support of our Black Student Union and other Black students who are not a part of this student organization.
- Black Faculty and Staff Affinity groups will be established to support Black faculty and staff to increase retention and professional development of Black faculty and staff. This includes mentorship across ranks and disciplines, resources to support professional development, and wellness support.
- Black Student Support—Ongoing communication and advocacy for support of the Black Student Union and other Black students who are not directly associated with the BSU will be provided. This will be coordinated through both the Black Faculty and Staff Affinity groups, as well as the Black Alumni Association.
- Visiting Black Intellectuals will be invited to be in-residence to conduct workshops, trainings, and seminars. This will present a significant opportunity for Black students, and others, to learn from and interact with important role models.
- Faculty Collaborative Fellows will be experts in the fields of diversity, social justice, and institutional racism. Collaborative Fellows will conduct presentations of their research in relation to social justice and diversity, as well as be available to connect with and mentor students.
- As a longer-term goal, a Hub Location will be identified on campus as a designated space for ongoing activities such as workshops, discussions with Visiting Black Intellectuals, trainings, and wellness activities.
As Faculty Director, Dr. Jett will be focusing on the lives and experiences of the Black community at Butler and creating opportunities for engagement with the greater Black Indianapolis community. She will also serve as Senior Advisor to the President in this capacity.
Statement from Butler President James M. Danko
“Our renewed commitment to our founder’s mission has taken on an even greater sense of urgency this year to ensure all students, faculty, and staff are welcome, respected, and flourishing. Butler University has a moral and historic imperative to be a leader in addressing issues of racism and social injustices in higher education.
“I am extremely pleased that Dr. Terri Jett agreed to lead our Hub for Black Affairs and Community Engagement, which is an important step in our endeavors. Terri’s passion for Butler and wealth of experience involving diversity, equity, and inclusivity will serve as a great benefit to our institution. I look forward to her continued leadership and contributions as our University embarks on a momentous time in our history.”
Statement from Dr. Terri Jett
“In my new role as Faculty Director of the Butler University Hub for Black Affairs and Community Engagement and Senior Advisor to the President, I will coordinate and address the belonging and connection of our Black faculty, staff, students, and alumni in a manner that moves us to bring Ovid Butler’s prophetic vision into present day. The Hub is anchored in the abolitionist roots of Butler University and will elevate and center the disparate Black intellectual voice and experience that has often been marginalized and yet is critical for the institution to be at the forefront of our heightened awareness and shifting responsibilities considering what we are experiencing and witnessing.”
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