UT Martin announces initiatives for diversity, inclusion on campus

UT Martin announces initiatives for diversity, inclusion on campus
UT Martin's chancellor unveiled a plan to address racial justice and diversity issues ahead of the 2020-2021 academic year. (Source: KFVS)

MARTIN, Tenn. (KFVS) - The Chancellor of University of Tennessee Martin has announced plans to address racial justice and diversity issues ahead of the 2020-2021 academic year.

In his campus webpage, Chancellor Dr. Keith Carver said he has had several conversations the past few weeks with members of the university community to confront racism and hatred head-on.

Dr. Carver believes the conversations have been productive and have developed into a plan for the upcoming school year.

The plan includes opportunities to be offered to participate in multiple conversations, external training and programming centered on the cultural climate across UT Martin.

The following are initiatives Dr. Carver said are in the process for the 2020-2021 academic year:

  • Hire a Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer:  This new, full-time position is a recommendation made earlier this year by the Strategic Plan Goal 3 Implementation Task Force. This leadership position will serve as an adviser for UT Martin in the areas of inclusion and cultural awareness. The officer will directly report to the chancellor and assist senior leadership with all matters related to our diversity initiatives.
  • Create a Diversity Statement and Develop a Diversity Strategic Plan: The Strategic Plan Goal 3 Implementation Task Force has submitted a statement to the cabinet for vetting. The task force’s current work is focused on the establishment of a comprehensive and clearly articulated university-wide diversity plan. This process will involve faculty, staff and students across the university and provide measurables for accountability.
  • Academic Affairs:
    • Review Proposals for New Courses on Race and Diversity through the Faculty Senate
    • Increase Faculty Diversity
  • Student Affairs:
    • Continue Captain’s Courageous Conversations: Engage students in meaningful and challenging conversations around racial justice and other diversity issues.
    • Create a Bias Reporting Process: Process allowing students to notify the university of incidents of bias they witness on campus.
  • Recruit and Retain Diverse Faculty and Staff: Advertisements in publications, websites and distribution lists appeal to diverse populations. Recruitment through professional organizations and conference attendance provides additional opportunities. 
  • Enhance University Safety: The university is in the final stages of selecting a new Director of Public Safety. Additionally, installation of new security cameras all across campus are expected to be completed by the end of July. An additional 210 cameras will be installed to provide an increased monitoring of the university grounds.
  • Engage Our Community: Involve the City of Martin Town and Gown Association to strengthen relationships with partners and allies across Martin and Weakley County.

Dr. Carver expressed these measures will take everyone working together and to keep the lines of communication open.

“The lives of our Black students, faculty, staff and alumni matter, and we are doing everything we can to remain engaged in the fight against racism and hatred,” stated Dr. Carver.

Copyright 2020 KFVS. All rights reserved.