Northwestern provides updates on commitments to social justice, discusses future plans

Jacob Fulton, Summer Editor

A year after Northwestern released its commitments to social justice in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, University President Morton Schapiro gave an update on NU’s progress in a Wednesday message to the community. 

The University’s ten commitments, which were announced in June 2020, included plans to increase diversity in NU’s community and support for marginalized staff, review the role of policing in community safety and allocate funding for racial equity in Evanston and Chicago. 

In the Wednesday email, Schapiro said there will be an increase in underrepresented community members next year, as the Class of 2025 has historic levels of Black, Latinx, Indigenous and first-generation representation. Additionally, the renovation of the Black House is nearly complete, according to the email. 

This upcoming fall, University faculty and staff leaders will participate in an anti-racism education program called “The Next 250.” After senior leadership took steps to increase their own understanding of anti-racism in Fall 2020, the program was developed to train 250 University employees. 

In the 2021-22 academic year, NU will also implement a program through the Office of Equity to bring restorative justice to campus, and plans to launch a digital anti-racism training series for all students, faculty and staff in Spring 2022. 

The University also recently announced its Diverse Candidate Slates policy, which went into effect on June 14, as well as changes to caregiving support from the Office for Human Resources, both of which will affect staff experiences. In Evanston, NU announced the recipients of its Racial Equity and Community Partnership grants earlier this month.

The complaint process for campus safety services also changed this year, moving from the Department of Safety and Security to University Compliance. A promised community safety review is slated to be released by June 30.

Looking ahead, NU said it will continue to evaluate ways to implement anti-racism across the University and further the commitments it made last June. 

“A change in culture — especially in a diverse, dynamic community such as ours — requires both urgent action and patience,” the email said. “Systematic change does not happen overnight, but it can and must happen.”

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Twitter: @jacobnfulton

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