Today's Update: Monday, June 15

June 15, 2020

Dear Student Life Team, 

Throughout my career, and really my life, I have been dedicated to advancing work in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion and racial justice. That may be one of the reasons that a career in Student Affairs attracted me, because as a field of practice, it inherently stands for providing a supportive environment for all students and staff members.  

However, in light of ongoing instances of racial injustice and the murder of Black and Brown individuals who also hold intersecting identities across the nation, and the important ensuing dialogue and calls for change, it is not enough to merely be supportive.  

We must come together and reaffirm our commitments, identify critical elements of change and create a plan for action that will illuminate our dedication to diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) and racial justice. To help us focus, advance this work and ensure a broad-based approach, Student Life will launch a Commitment and Action Planning Team. 

I have asked two Student Life team members, Sorority and Fraternity Life director, Dr. Kim Monteaux De Freitas, and Multicultural Center executive director, Dr. Todd Suddeth, to so-chair this effort. I am very pleased that both have enthusiastically agreed. 

Here is an outline of the work to be done.  


The Student Life Commitment and Action Planning Team will explore our current DEI offerings, benchmark best practices at other institutions, identify gaps in our programs/services/support and make specific and actionable recommendations for change. Most important, the team will develop a bold, solutions-focused and data-driven commitment statement that will inspire and guide our DEI work now and into the future.  

Elements of exploration should include, but not be limited to: 

  • Competency conversations/education 

  • Leadership around a diversity, equity and inclusion plan  

  • Creation of deliberate Courageous Conversations to ensure we are listening to our student and staff needs 

  • Leveraging our Communities of Practice (COP) model to advance DEI concepts 

  • Actions and support for our underrepresented and minoritized and marginalized staff (support systems, spaces for connection to help with recruitment and retention) 

  • Actions and support for our underrepresented and minoritized and marginalized students (support systems, spaces for connection to help with recruitment and retention, opportunities for ongoing, formal and informal dialog) 


If you would like to be a part of this effort, feel free to reach out to Drs. Suddeth and Monteaux De Freitas ( and by 5 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, June 16, to let them know of your interest. Please include a short description of why you are interested and if you have your supervisor’s support for your participation over the next few weeks. We are looking for approximately six team members. 

Deliverables and Timeline 

This team will provide 5 – 6 commitment and action items, by no later than July 3, 2020, that can be accomplished within the next 6 – 12 months. I’ll share their recommendations in one of my Updates for you to review and provide feedback.  

Together, we are Scarlet and Great. I know this initiative will produce meaningful results that will make us all proud.