Capilouto names project leaders, next steps in UK diversity initiatives

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Students in masks on UK campus. Photo by Mark Cornelison | UKphoto

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ/UK Public Affairs) The next stage of the University of Kentucky’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative was announced Thursday in an email to the UK community by President Eli Capilouto, including project leaders. The message is below.

Dear Campus Community,

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Earlier this semester, we embarked on a campus-wide effort around diversity, equity and inclusion.

We know it is vital work that will not be completed in a semester or academic year. Changing culture is the work of a lifetime and the project of an entire campus.

The steps I’m announcing today reflect that commitment—a commitment hundreds of members of our community have made to creating a more just, inclusive and accepting campus.

Reflecting the comprehensive nature of our work, we have identified six broad workstreams—for faculty and staff; students; culture, policies and programming; facilities and finances; research; and community outreach—that will oversee the work of 17 project teams. Those distinct efforts range from expanding professional development opportunities, to creating a diversity and inclusivity master plan.

Today, I am gratified to have the opportunity to name the project leads who will, in their work, cultivate an anti-racist culture with assistance and support from their teams, the respective workgroups and executive sponsors.

You can find a complete listing of the project leads underneath each workstream and each project’s formal charge here.

Now that the leadership of these initiatives have been formed, we will launch a number of efforts, including:

  • The workstreams and project teams will work in the coming weeks to address cultural change at this institution and facilitate a deeper understanding of anti-racism work across the enterprise by developing specific action plans for each of their project areas.
  • We will continue to provide email updates for each project as well as updates on our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion website that the university will be launching soon to serve as a central hub for these efforts.
  • Throughout Phase I, and as the project teams delve further into their respective areas, the workstreams will identify what our next initiatives and project teams should look like in Phase II. Individuals who nominated themselves or a colleague to participate in this work will have the opportunity to become involved or continue their efforts throughout the various phases.

The commitment of so many people across the campus underscores both the importance of the work and the sense of urgency we bring to it. We have made tremendous progress in recent years. We have the most diverse campus in our history, and our efforts to graduate and help students succeed have received national recognition.

Awards and honors, though, only reflect part of the story.

We have much work to do in becoming an institution that does more than speak out against racism and injustice but is actually anti-racist and inclusive in everything we do.

That is our task. That is our commitment. That is who we must be and what we must do.

Eli Capilouto

President