Kennesaw State’s Presidential Commission on Race and Ethnic Diversity held a meeting on Thursday, October 15, to discuss the future of the commission in relation to the Presidential Task Force on Race.
The meeting featured Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Sylvia Carrey Butler of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, who is chairing the task force. Carey-Butler used the opportunity to clarify some confusion surrounding the task force.
“I know there is a great deal of concern as it pertains to the task force on race, and there isn’t some clarity about things,” Carey-Butler said. “I first want to say, that there has never been, on my part, an intention to leave CORED’s work that has been done since your conception out of the recommendations that are going to be a part of the first part of the work coming out of the [Presidential Task Force on Race].”
The task force will have three parts, which would directly involve someone from CORED on the implementation and accountability committee, Carey-Butler said. The process of looking across campus to convene the next iteration of the committee to ensure that recommendations that are made and accepted will begin in December.
“We have not yet begun to develop a list of individuals who will be on the accountability [committee],” Carey-Butler said. “What I can tell you is just as we have faculty, staff and students on the task force, we will have faculty staff and students on the accountability team.”
Two African-American scholars were asked to be a part of the Presidential Task Force on Race, but both declined, Carey-Butler said. The names of the scholars were not given.
Questions concerning Presidential Task Force Subcommittees were also brought up, after which Carey-Butler expanded on the purposes of the subcommittees. This includes the Curriculum, Faculty, Policies and Procedures, Staff, and Student Life Subcommittees, according to the ODI-PTFR website.
The subcommittees analyze what policies and procedures impact or prohibit addressing issues of race on campus, the hiring and retention of faculty of color as well as utilizing their expertise, what might be missing from curriculums, the experiences of students on campus and the experiences of staff on campus, said Carey-Butler.
The SGA Anti-Racism Resolution was brought up during the meeting, as Carey-Butler believed the resolution to be connected to CORED. However, the resolution was not created in conjunction with or presented to CORED, and would be presented to CORED during the meeting, Student Government Association Director of Diversity and Inclusion Dasia Jones said.
In reference to the resolution, Carey-Butler requested from SGA a list of the mentioned 50 faculty, staff, students and antiracist allies that have demonstrated a commitment to racial and ethnic dialogue on campus.
Concerns surrounding a lack of communication between the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and CORED were also addressed during the meeting.
“What I [could have] handled better, what the campus [could have] handled better, is more information about the difference between CORED and the task force,” Carey Butler said. “I will take ownership of that. I just had no conversation at all about any concerns, and I was taken aback that at 4:30 last Wednesday, a resolution was going to pass before the SGA. There was no communication.”
Carey-Butler stated that she was not aware the resolution had not been presented to CORED as of the meeting.