SIU President to discuss systemic racism in virtual town hall

Updated: Jun. 29, 2020 at 5:59 AM CDT
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CARBONDALE, Ill. (KFVS) - Amid the unrest around the country, SIU System President Dr. Dan Mahony is speaking out and addressing issues of injustice, equity, and systemic racism within the SIU System.

Mahony released his presidential message, titled Conversation of Understanding and Next Steps, last week.

“What we’re looking to do here at SIU is make real changes in how we do our business,” Mahony said.

Earlier in June, Mahony received an award recognizing commitment to diversity. The Charles Whitcomb Service Award is given by the Minority Opportunities Athletic Association (MOAA) which acknowledges individuals who foster diversity and inclusion within the intercollegiate athletics community.

Back in March, Mahony began his presidency by signing the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion Pledge, which is the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Mahony said it is not new to him in having conversations about race.

“This is not a new thing, this is a new place,” he said referencing his experiences in leadership at his former universities like Winthrop University.

As SIU’s new system President, he said he is ready to take action in combating systemic racism and supporting diversity and inclusion within the universities.

Mahony said the school will look at their policies, practices, and procedures to make real change going forward.

He said he hopes the change will stick with the students even after graduation.

“Are we adequately preparing them to live in diverse world," Mahony questioned. "Are we educating them about the facts about systemic racism and what impact it’s had over time so they have historical and current understanding that’s involved there.”

His goal is to create a culture of accountability.

He said his aspirations going forward are two-fold.

“One is that we make changes that lead to really measurable and noticeable results. That we are a different place 10 years from now that we are today," he said. "But my second goal is that what we do is successful enough that other people start to copy what we do. That we have an impact on everyone higher education, everyone in Illinois area, that we became a model for others.”

Mahony will start the “conversation” with a virtual town hall on Monday, June 29th from 5-7 p.m.

It is open to students, alumni and the community.

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