The sunrise over Heritage Hall.

Racial Justice Advisory Committee

Our campus and nation have been galvanized by the tragic deaths of George Floyd and too many others. Students, faculty, staff and alumni have said enough is enough and that we must not only address abuses in policing, but root out the plague of racial hierarchy that has permeated our broader society and institutions leading to longstanding disparities in health, education, income and myriad other social and economic indicators. 

The time has come for us to build inclusive and equitable systems and structures. In 2020, we find ourselves at a point when we must reckon with our past and present to build a future in which we all thrive. James Baldwin stated, “Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” This statement is as timely, though it was made in 1962. 

Western Michigan University alone will not change the ills of our nation, but we can and will address those ills as they exist on our campus, and together we will be a force for positive change in our society. The issues we are confronting are neither new, nor will they be easily or quickly overcome. WMU, however, is committed to beginning the process of change and to seeing it through. Our campus community expects us to begin taking significant action to address these issues. 

As part of our strategy we are forming a Racial Justice Advisory Committee, which will work to identify issues we need to address, prioritize those issues and identify actions that we can take to create change. This committee will advise President Montgomery and his cabinet in effectively addressing the systemic racism and racial inequities on our campus.

Purpose

The Racial Justice Advisor Committee (RJAC) consists of representation from the Board of Trustees, the office of the president, vice presidents, deans, faculty, staff, students and alumni, to ensure that we have collective investment in the future of our campus. The RJAC will: 

  • Identify evidence of systemic racism and racial inequities. 
  • Identify actions that everyone can take to address the issues, as well as creating a culture of change. 
  • Make recommendations for prioritizing issues and actions for the respective areas of campus. 
  • Identify how to connect research, teaching and student engagement capabilities in efforts to promote inclusion and racial justice on WMU’s campus and in the community. 
  • Monitor the progress of the recommendations to create accountability. 
  • Provide an opportunity for a broader group of participants to shape change at WMU. 

RJAC subcommittees will make recommendations for specific areas of campus. The initial subcommittees topics are: 

  • Training and education for faculty to create equitable and inclusive learning spaces. 
  • Training and education for staff to create equitable and inclusive work environments. 
  • Training and education for students to create an equitable and inclusive campus culture. 
  • Review of policies and practices that foster racial inequities. 
  • Recruiting, supporting and retaining faculty and staff of color. 
  • Recruiting, supporting and retaining students of color. 
  • Creating programs of study that foster, promote and include equity and inclusion of diverse perspectives and ways of knowing. 
  • Creating a review process of policing practices. 
  • Identifying means to report bias incidents. 
  • Developing review and responses for past and future naming of buildings, spaces and awards to align with institutional values. 

The RJAC may identify the need for additional subcommittees to build a more inclusive and equitable campus in regards to race and ethnicity.

 

Commitment

The Racial Justice Advisory Committee will meet at least four times per year. 

Each subcommittee should meet at least twice per month. 

The RJAC members will determine its schedule and processes for moving recommendations to the President and his cabinet. 

Senior-level administrators serving on the committee will not chair subcommittees or serve on any subcommittee that addresses issues that fall within their areas of official oversight. 

The Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion will not chair the committee or any subcommittee, but will provide the RJAC with administrative support. 

Subcommittee chairs will be selected from among the respective participant complement, with the exception as stated above The RJAC will present recommendations to the President every quarters. Subcommittee contributions to these reports will be rotated throughout the year, with three subcommittees contributing each quarter. This structure will allow for the campus to have a continuous flow of action items to addressing systemic racism and inequities.

 

Committee Members

Dr. Candy McCorkle, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Dr. Carla R. Adkison-Johnson, Professor, Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

Grant K. Allers, Police Officer, Public Safety

Dr. Diane K. Anderson, Vice President, Student Affairs

Leslie Barajas, Student and Member of Latino Student Alliance, School of Social Work

Kate Bates, Associate Director, Leadership and Volunteer Services

Dr. Jennifer P. Bott, Provost and Vice President, Academic Affairs

Jeffrey S. Breneman, Vice President, Government Relations

Dr. Christine A. Byrd-Jacobs, Dean and Professor, Graduate College

Adriana Cardoso Reyes, Assistant Director of Institutional Accreditation and Planning, Institutional Effectiveness

Danae J. Carter, Student, Department of Psychology

William Chheu, Web Developer Senior, Office of Marketing and Strategic Communications

Soongmin Chow, Associate Director of International Admissions and Services, Haenicke Institute for Global Education

Dr. Ron A. Cisler, Dean and Professor, Health and Human Services

Deirdre Elizabeth Courtney, Doctoral Graduate Assistant, Interdisciplinary Studies

Tony O. Dennis, Director of Graduate Student Recruitment and Retention, Graduate College

Edward Eckel, Librarian and Associate Professor, University Libraries

Hardy Figueroa, Director of Alumni Relations, University Advancement

Jayne Fraley-Burgett, Director, Disability Services for Students

Sherrie Fuller, Coordinator of Diversity Education, Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Tiana L. Gee, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, University Advancement

Amanda M. Geer, Copywriter, Extended University Programs

Aaron Michael Goodall-Davis, Student, EUP University Studies

Dr. Angel L. Gullon-Rivera, Associate Professor, Family and Consumer Sciences

Dr. Robert L. Harrison, Associate Professor, Department of Marketing

Victoria A. Hastings, Police Officer, Public Safety

Michelle E. Hruska, Senior Executive Assistant, Office of the President

Dr. Yvonne D. Jackson, Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Therapy

Shashanta James, Director, Student Financial Aid

Dr. Terri Goss Kinzy, Vice President, Research and Innovation

Allegra Bliss Kistler Ellis, Advising Graduate Assistant, Social Work

Dr. Mariam Konate, Associate Professor, Gender and Women’s Studies

Marilyn Kritzman, Faculty Specialist and Faculty Senate President, School of Communication

Monica R. Liggins-Abrams, Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives, Office of the Provost

Kenneth B. Martin, Licensed Social Worker, Sindecuse Health Center

Dr. Dini Metro-Roland, Professor, Educational Foundations, Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies

Dr. Mustafa K. Mirzeler, Professor, Department of English

Craig Morris, Graduate Student and GSA President, Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

David J. Paul, Chair and Faculty Specialist, Department of Philosophy 

Vernon Payne, Associate Vice President, Student Affairs

Marcy L. Peake, Director of Diversity and Community Outreach Initiatives, Family and Consumer Sciences

Ashley AnnMaree Purry, Financial Services Specialist, Student Financial Aid

Dominic Donald Reaume, Student and member of Asian Pacific American Student Association, School of Music

Renee V. Wallace, Alumna, Doers Consulting Alliance LLC

Dr. Maria V Roche-Dean, Assistant Professor, Bronson School of Nursing

Dalia Aidaelda Sanchez, Student and WSA Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, Institute of Environment and Sustainability

Joelle J. Sanders, Student, Black Student Union Director of Public Relations and Co-Chair of Social Media, Education and Human Development 

Dr. Kahler B. Schuemann, Chief of Staff and Secretary to the Board of Trustees, Office of the President

Keanah Smith, Associate Athletic Director, WMU Athletics

Bryan K. Sutton, President of AFSCME Local 1668, Facilities Management

Arnold S. Taylor, Director of Support Services, Information Technology

Wendy Vander Meulen, Director, Logistical Services

Adam Wall, Assistant Director of Compliance, Institutional Equity

Laura C. Weber, Risk Analyst, Business Services

LaTonja M. Wilson, Student Progress Specialist, College of Aviation

Dr. Evelyn B. Winfield-Thomas, Executive Director, Institutional Equity