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Chancellor Drale invites campus community to join new race and ethnicity committees, announces new campus-wide book discussion

Chancellor Drale
UA Little Rock Chancellor Christina Drale. Photo by Ben Krain.

As part of the new diversity initiatives beginning this fall at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Chancellor Christina Drale is seeking members of the UA Little Rock community to join two new committees focused on race and ethnicity issues.

The Racial Barriers Committee, recommended by the Student Government Association, will review policies and processes for potential unintended racial barriers and field complaints, concerns, and suggestions from students concerning race and ethnicity issues. The committee will report to the chancellor and may also recommend new policies and procedures intended to promote equity and fairness.

The committee will be made of 18 members, including three undergraduate and three graduate students, four faculty members, four staff members, two administrators, a member of the Diversity Council, and the dean of students.

Faculty and staff may also join the Chancellor’s Race and Ethnicity Advisory Committee. This group will meet with Chancellor Drale twice a month to continue the conversation about race and ethnicity and to identify areas for continuous improvement.

Those who are interested in joining either committee may fill out this online interest form by Sept. 11.

The second diversity initiative involves the launch of the first campus-wide book discussion on the topic of race and ethnicity. Those who would like to join may fill out this online form. The first 100 people who sign up will receive a free copy of the book.

The UA Little Rock community and the Diversity Council were asked to provide recommendations on books for the new discussion group. After careful consideration, “So You Want To Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo has been selected as the first book for the new Campus Read Discussion Group.

Members of the campus community are also encouraged to form additional reading groups for the other top book selections: “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” by Isabel Wilkerson and “How to Be an Antiracist” by Ibram Kendi.

Those who are interested in reading more books on race and ethnicity can view a list of all the books recommended by students, faculty, staff, and the Diversity Council.

The new committees and Campus Read Discussion Group were formed in response to feedback from students and employees during two open forums in July that centered on issues related to race and ethnicity. The initiatives will improve diversity, inclusion, and student retention at UA Little Rock.

Follow-up open forums will be held for students from 5-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9, and for faculty and staff from 3-4:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10.