Steering committees established to address priorities following black student experience report

Erica Snow and Catherine Kim

The University announced three steering committees to enhance the black student experience on campus in an email sent to students by administrators on Wednesday.

The email was sent by vice president for student affairs Patricia Telles-Irvin, University Provost Daniel Linzer and associate provost and chief diversity officer Jabbar Bennett. The three steering committees were created to address three priorities outlined by University leaders from the 2016 report on the black student experience at Northwestern, the email said.

The priorities — which include increasing the number of black students, faculty and staff; creating an “academic support hub” on campus and listening to black students — will each have its own steering committee, the email said.

“Northwestern is committed to improving the experience of our Black students and all marginalized student communities at the University,” the email said.

Bennett chairs the committee that aims to increase the number of black students, faculty and staff, while assistant vice president for student engagement Kelly Schaefer chairs the committee that aims to listen to black students, according to the email.

The committee to create an academic hub will work with an original group of faculty and staff who are tasked with the creation of a University-wide academic resource center, the email said. This committee will be liaised by associate provost for undergraduate education Ron Braeutigam.

Each committee will include student representatives. Associated Student Government chief of staff Lars Benson said ASG will likely create an application in Fall Quarter to find the representatives.

The Weinberg junior added that the representatives do not have to be involved in ASG to be chosen for a steering committee. He said by students having “facetime” with administrators, they can more effectively make their demands known.

“What ASG really is trying to be about is elevating voices that have spoken and who have not been listened to,” Benson said. “We definitely want to look for people who feel as if the administration has not listened to them in the past and then would understand the frustration and the anger that I think a lot of this committee is structured to kind of ease.”

Jonah Dylan contributed reporting.

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