Thrasher to form new FSU task force on racial equality

Florida State University
Florida State University(WCTV)
Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 11:42 AM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Florida State University President John Thrasher is forming a new task force on anti-racism and racial equality for the upcoming school year.

Thrasher made the announcement in a letter to the university community posted online Monday morning.

The Special Presidential Task Force on Anti-Racism and Racial Equality “will be charged with exploring the university’s historical connections to race and ethnicity, identifying racial/ethnic disparities on campus and implementing initiatives in support of the diversity and inclusion goal in the University’s strategic plan,” according to Thrasher’s letter.

Thrasher says the decision comes after several weeks of listening to people in the FSU family who’ve experienced oppression and racism.

“I am convinced that through continuing dialogue and innovative solutions, we will achieve an even better and stronger Florida State University,” Thrasher wrote.

His letter lists several other steps the university will take to recognize racial injustices and implement structural change:

  • Town Hall meetings with student organizations, faculty and staff, and alumni, including identity and affinity groups representing Black and LatinX members of the campus community
  • A review of the report from the President’s Advisory Panel on University Namings and the development of a plan for assessment and implementation
  • Creation of an educational outreach program about FSU’s history and relationship with the Seminole Tribe of Florida
  • The Division of Student Affairs will launch the Student Equity and Inclusion Office, a resource office focused on further educating, training, and implementing programs and services aimed at fostering a more inclusive student experience.
  • Implementation of mandatory diversity and inclusion training for all students, faculty and staff to commence Fall semester 2020
  • Intensifying efforts to recruit, support and retain students, faculty and staff from underrepresented groups.
  • Partnering with FSUPD to administer anti-bias training to officers and establish a Community Relations liaison within the force.

Florida State has wrestled with its history surrounding racial issues in recent years. In 2018, the university removed a statue of founder Francis Eppes, a slave owner. The statue, which had a prominent place near Westcott Fountain, was later re-located on Mina Jo Powell Green. In recent weeks, some students have called for it to be completely removed from campus.

There are also calls to rename Eppes Hall, along with the law school, named for former Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice B.K. Roberts. Roberts denied admission of a black man to the University of Florida College of Law.

And a former FSU football player is calling for renaming of FSU’s Doak Campbell stadium.

Campbell lead the school as president from 1941 to 1957, transforming it from a college for women to a co-ed university. Critics say Campbell supported segregation. His family says he was not a segregationist.

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