We still won one three out of four of our requests. In our August 2020 letter we asked them to:
- Accelerate the implementation of Strategic Plan initiatives related to equity, diversity, and inclusion in terms of recruiting, culture, campus climate, and support.
The Board committed $225 Million to fund many of those initiatives, including need-blind admissions, internships for each student, and summer and pre-orientation experiences designed to foster inclusion and plug students in to campus from the outset.
- Immediately address problems of exclusion related to campus climate.
The Board committed to redesign diplomas to remove the images of the namesakes, to make the chapel a chapel again, to completely remove Lee from the chapel, and to stop celebrating Founders Day / Lee’s Birthday. This win cannot be overstated. It removes the very shrine of the lost cause.
Seven years ago, students were still being forced into meetings in a place named for Lee, where Lee was the “sacred” presence—he was the altar, with confederate battle flags hanging above him. How far we have come. University Chapel will soon be a space for quiet reflection.
Space Mountain is being removed from Confederate Disneyland.
The Board also committed to create a Board committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to give them a clear pathway for oversight.
Finally, they committed to “lead an examination of campus residential and social institutions to increase accessibility, inclusivity, and choice for all students.” That’s the Greek System, folks. They just don’t have the guts to say it out loud.
- Diversify the Board of Trustees.
The Board committed to expand representation of women and people of color.
The last new Board member was appointed in November 2019 and seated in February 2020. So these commitments came from THE SAME BOARD that in February 2020 refused to give its $200,000 customers alternate diplomas, and declared that “the Board’s decision regarding our diploma design is final.”
We accomplished all of this in less than one year!
Yes, there is much more to do. Yes, the whole Board needs to be turned over—not just the 22-Repudiating racism and regretting the University’s role in promoting Lost Cause myths are not the same as apologizing for lying and making amends. Lee still has to go. And he will. But, Lee’s days are numbered.