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University Equity and Inclusion

Fall Diversity Update - New Programming and Initiatives

October 13, 2021

Dear Rutgers Community, 

With the semester in full swing, I want to provide you with an update on university programming and initiatives this fall that support our aspiration of being a beloved community. 

Despite our ambitions, our learning and work environments are not immune to hate and cowardly acts of bias. Our response, in word and action, aims to affirm the value of each member of our community and reject hateful actions and rhetoric. To support this goal, we have launched a universitywide bias prevention campaign called Speak Up!, designed as a call to action for all members of the Rutgers community to respond when they observe bigotry and to be vigilant about disrupting personally held biases. All are invited to attend an interactive Speak Up! webinar, co-hosted with the Southern Poverty Law Center, on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. It will review strategies for responding in the moment to everyday prejudice, bias, and stereotypes. Follow this link to register.  

Ongoing growth in respect and understanding of difference among our university community is critical to the success of our pursuit of inclusive excellence. To that end, University Equity and Inclusion has created a new podcast called Holding Space, a show that makes room for conversations that explore topics of diversity, equity, and inclusion. I was pleased to help launch the first episode, titled “Defining the Work.” Each month, we will release a new episode featuring guests from across the university. Click here to listen.  

Finally, diversity strategic planning was the process through which we assessed where we were and defined what we would commit to do to move forward. Each Chancellor-led unit has charted a purposeful path that reflects the unique needs of their community. We are all moving in the same direction, toward the same goal, but recognize how we go about it will be different. Remember to take your campus survey and share feedback on the draft goals. Do more, however, than share your thoughts; imagine creative ways to move our community forward. 

Through the universitywide IDEA Innovation Grant Program, we are investing in grassroots efforts to encourage understanding and learning, enable relationship building across difference, and offer new ways to promote equity and diversity to achieve our goal of an inclusive academy. Don’t delay, the deadline to apply is this Friday, October 15, 2021. 

Institutionally, we have aligned our efforts in service of inclusive excellence – the purposeful integration of diversity and inclusion into the pursuit of excellence. To be successful, to spur the deep cultural change we need, this cannot be an institutional project alone. We need you! Look for and take advantage of every opportunity to build an inclusive community, and together we will demonstrate the collaborative power of individuals to make institutional change. 


Enobong (Anna) Branch  

Senior Vice President for Equity and Professor