In the News

Anti-Racism Statement passed by Manchester University Board of Trustees

The following email was sent by President Dave McFadden to Manchester University students, faculty and staff the morning of Wednesday, Oct. 20:

Dear Students and Colleagues,

Manchester has a longstanding commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion – but, for a variety of reasons, our progress hasn’t matched our commitment.

We can – and must – do better.

In 2020, our Board of Trustees identified diversity, equity and inclusion as one of its five strategic imperatives, and created a permanent board committee specifically to focus on these issues. This past weekend, the trustees unanimously passed an Anti-Racism Statement, which renews the University’s commitment to stand against racism and the systems that perpetuate injustice and inequity (the statement follows this email and is attached). 

This statement gives added weight and urgency to the work ahead. It promises real action and dismantling of any systems that stand in our way.

In addition to discussing and passing this statement, the board also heard from a panel of undergraduate students about their personal experiences at Manchester. 

All of us need to hear and understand the experiences of colleagues and students who are marginalized at Manchester and in our country, in order to become a fully welcoming and inclusive community. We must acknowledge missteps of the past, and the unconscious biases built into our institutional policies and practices. We need to focus on equity – not just equality – in order to address unbalanced systems and barriers. 

Fixing institutional racism means being willing to tear down existing systems at Manchester, and creating new processes that truly live up to this responsibility. Unquestionably, this work will be difficult – but it is also necessary. 

Our trustees are enthused and committed to doing this hard work, and their determination aligns with other diversity, equity and inclusion efforts the University has undertaken in recent months, including creation of the President’s Diversity and Inclusion Council and its collaboration with the Office of Academic Affairs and the Office of Multicultural Affairs to develop a University-wide Strategic Diversity Plan. We’re also providing colleague education and training, and increasing our awareness through VIAs, discussion groups, book clubs and films. On the academic side, we are focusing on “inclusive excellence” to create an environment that not only welcomes students of various backgrounds, but also enriches the collective learning experience. 

Some may ask why we didn’t do this sooner, and with good reason. These values have been part of the ethos of Manchester for many years but, to date, our efforts and systems simply haven’t produced sufficient transformation. By issuing this Anti-Racism Statement, our board is challenging us to act decisively, adding new weight and urgency to our work.

Thank you to the trustees on the board’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee – co-chairs Madalyn Metzger ’99 and Mark Rosenbury ’69, who developed the statement; and Jim Colon ’74, Chris Craig ’82, Ding-Jo Currie ’75 and Lily Qi ’91 – as well as trustees Jeff Carter and Cheryl Green ’82 for their contributions.

In the weeks and months ahead, students and colleagues will have opportunities to be part of building momentum for real change. Without it, we cannot discover our best selves as individuals or as a community. 

Dave McFadden ’82

Anti-Racism Statement
Board of Trustees

Adopted Oct. 15, 2021

The Manchester University Board of Trustees stands against racism and systems that perpetuate racial injustice, and we commit to standing against all forms of racism, discrimination, bias, privilege, abusive power, supremacy and racial/ethnic hierarchy.

In living out our mission to respect the infinite worth of every person and graduate individuals of ability and conviction who will make a positive impact on the world, it is our responsibility to recognize, understand and dismantle all the ways systemic racism and oppression impacts under-represented, underserved and marginalized students, faculty and staff. To fulfill this responsibility, we will ensure that all inequitable and unjust systems, policies, practices and institutional norms identified are replaced by those designed to cultivate a more diverse, equitable and inclusive Manchester University community.

Manchester University has long valued and respected racial, ethnic, cultural and religious differences. But, we acknowledge our missteps and complicity along our journey. More work is needed to confront inequalities and we unequivocally embrace the institutional change necessary to make the world a more just and inclusive place, as we build peace amid strife, and model lives of agape (selfless love), tikkun olam (repairing a broken world) and salam (peace).

We commit that our diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism work will be open, transparent and accountable. We will listen and learn from each other. We will hear and amplify the voices of those who have been marginalized. And we will create opportunities to generate individual and institutional transformation.

It is our responsibility to work together with intentionality and clarity and to advance true progress for the Manchester University community and our world. This work will not be easy or quick, but it is imperative for our future. We invite all who are part of our institution to join us in this call, so that – together – we are better able to improve the human condition.