10 Universities Set To Create Campus Centers For Racial Healing And Transformation

August 22, 2017  |  

 Campus Centers For Racial Healing And Transformation

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Though national attention has turned from police shootings and campus uprisings to the removal of confederate statutes as of late, the need for students of color to have spaces on campus where they can address social inequities, organize, and educate one another still remains. Thankfully, the Association of American Colleges and Universities understands that need and, as such, has designated 10 universities and colleges as the first sites for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Campus Centers, created with the goal to break down racial hierarchies.

The 10 institutions where these centers will be created are Austin Community College, Brown University, Duke University, Hamline University, Millsaps College, Rutgers University, Spelman College, The Citadel, University of Hawaii, and University of Maryland-Baltimore County. Each school will receive an initial $30,000 in funding via a $520,000 grant from the Newman’s Own Foundation and $399,763 from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

“The TRHT enterprise responds to the ways racism has affected our ability to know, relate to, and value one another and helps us address our biggest challenges so that all children, families, and communities have opportunities to thrive,” Dr. Gail C. Christopher, senior advisor and vice president for TRHT at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation,” said in a news release. “College campuses offer a productive place to examine and confront the deeply held, and often unconscious, beliefs created by racism. The Kellogg Foundation is optimistic that AAC&U will bring together critical thinkers and our next generation of strategic leaders to help us all abandon the belief in a hierarchy of human value and transform our society for the future.”

Brown university has already laid out some of its plans, which include expanding upon a Spring 2017 pilot project in which students who identify as Black gathered for a weekly dinner to discuss matters of identity, race, gender, colorism, classism and more. Brown also plans to develop a conversation group for Muslim women on campus and create an “intimate setting in which students whose identities have multiple facets — as students, women, persons of color, Muslims, American or international — can talk through the complexities of their experiences and the dynamics of tradition and identity.”

At Duke, the TRHT will be led by Charmaine Royal, associate professor of African and African American Studies, biology and community and family medicine, and “will host research and engagement efforts between the Duke and Durham communities,” a news release stated. Edward Balleisen, vice provost for interdisciplinary studies, added that the center will combine social sciences with the arts and humanities, with Royal saying the empirical evidence housed in the center will be used to study human variation and related differences in beliefs and attitudes.

According to the Washington Free Beacon, representatives from each of the centers will meet together next month, and a “Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Institute” event will be held in January 2018. The schools will also help develop a guidebook for the creation of future centers.

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