Published: June 24, 2021

Editor’s note: This is part of a monthly series of campus updates on diversity, equity and inclusion. This series will continue throughout the year.

Update on search for senior vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion

The search for the critical leadership role of senior vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion at CU Boulder is entering its final phase. The three finalists have met with the CU Boulder community and campus stakeholder groups. Chancellor Philip DiStefano’s goal is to announce the incoming senior vice chancellor this summer.

The senior vice chancellor will report to the chancellor and provide strategic direction, facilitation, engagement and assessment for campuswide diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives and programs in collaboration with other university leaders, the IDEA Council, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement (ODECE), and other campus and community stakeholders.

Celebrating and learning about Juneteenth, our nation’s newest federal holiday

Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the United States in 1865 and the freedom of Black Americans.

On June 17, 2021, President Joseph Biden signed a bill into law establishing June 19 or Juneteenth as the nation’s 12th federal holiday and the first since Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983.

Of the decision by Congress to approve the bill and the president’s signing of the new law, Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano said:

“With the stroke of a pen, President Biden gave Juneteenth its overdue recognition as a consequential moment in American history. The stain of slavery will never be erased from the story of our nation, but making Juneteenth a federal holiday allows all Americans to use June 19 as a day to reflect on the long road to emancipation and the brutal sacrifices it took to get there.”

“As an educator, the holiday provides further inspiration to me and to our campus to commit to anti-racism as a basic part of teaching future generations of the struggles faced by Black Americans and facilitating dialogue on campus and beyond about the hard work that remains to be done,” he added.

Supervisors are encouraged to enable faculty and staff to take time to engage and reflect on this part of U.S. history in the coming days and weeks. For some, this may mean participating in a virtual event, reading or podcast, or having a conversation with family and friends.

CU Boulder will work with the state of Colorado and the CU system to ensure this federal holiday is recognized.

Find more resources and information on Juneteenth.

IDEA Council in discussions on latest recommendations

The IDEA Council, the advisory body of students, faculty and staff tasked with prioritizing the recommendations of the Inclusion, Diversity and Excellence in Academics (IDEA) Plan continues its work this summer.

Among the recommendations from the plan taking shape is the establishment of faculty and staff affinity groups, which were announced last month. The council is also poised to discuss several new recommendations in the near term that address issues ranging from leadership accountability to faculty mentoring, to enhanced support and professional development for staff.

In the meantime, read more about the council’s work and the campus’s DEI efforts in this Boulder Daily Camera editorial.

CAAAS to offer teaching and research on the history, culture of people of African descent

CU Boulder now has a Center for African and African American Studies (CAAAS) to support teaching and research on the history and culture of people of African descent.

In an announcement last month, Provost Russell Moore said the center would provide a forum for cross-campus collaboration and spur scholarly engagement at CU Boulder and beyond.

Ethnic studies Professor Reiland Rabaka will serve as the director of CAAAS (pronounced “cause”), which will be housed within the Graduate School.

Among other benefits, Rabaka said the center would provide Black students, faculty and staff with a permanent space to build community and gain much-needed knowledge of the history, culture and ongoing struggles of people of African descent.

“In other words, the establishment of the Center for African and African American Studies means Black students and faculty will be able to feel a greater sense of belonging at CU Boulder,” Rabaka said.

Sustaining our practice of inclusion

Campus efforts and investments to address pressing and painful inequities at CU Boulder are only a beginning. Creating a culture of belonging will take each member of our community practicing sustained personal work to truly embrace and support diverse perspectives and identities in our community.

During the summer, Chancellor DiStefano and our campus leadership team urge every member of our community to join in learning more about diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism and to continuously work together to address these issues more actively and in ways that can help authentically transform our campus in the coming year.

A growing list of resources is available through the University Libraries.

Additional information, including links to the IDEA plan, is available via the ODECE website. You can also subscribe to the ODECE newsletter for regular updates on campus DEI programs, events and initiatives.

A wrap-up of the campus’s DEI efforts and progress during the past year is available online.