Penn State University’s Much-Hyped Center for Racial Justice Goes to Dust

Penn State University launched its big idea to create the Center for Racial Justice, two years after proposing it as an effort to advance diversification efforts and “challenge segregation.” racial segregation”.

In one Press Release Fourth, the university said it would “strengthen” its existing diversity, equity and inclusion programs rather than start a new project.

“There is one remarkable thing [diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging] scholarship and practice is being conducted by current faculty, staff, and students throughout the University, and we remain committed to continuing to build upon the foundation of academic programming and research on racism and racial prejudice at Penn State,” university president Neeli Bendapudi said in the release. “I have determined that increasing support for existing efforts by those who know Penn State best will have a stronger impact than investing in a new business venture, and so we will not pursue efforts to establish a Center for Racial Justice.”

According to the press release, Bendapudi decided to abandon the center after speaking with the university community and understanding that the school already had organizations focused on racial equity.

“There is so much potential at Penn State for us to expand, connect, and invest in the work of faculty professionals and existing networks in ways that enhance our impact and stand as an institution.” in this academic field,” Bendapudi is quoted as saying. .

In particular, the university said it wanted to focus its resources on the school Center for Education and Civil Rightswhich focuses on equity in education; Rock Ethics Institute, a research center covering a variety of issues; and the Center for Africana Studies, which teaches on the heritage of the African Diaspora Community. (In a phone call to the Africana Research Center, the manager told The Daily Beast she was unaware of the university’s altered diversity plan.)

Initial proposal for Racist Justice Center announced after anti-racism protests rocked the country afterward George Floyddied in the summer of 2020.

“After the senseless tragedies of the past year, we have seen clearly the ongoing challenges of racism, prejudice and public safety that persist in our nation. ,” then Penn State President Eric J. Barron said in a statement Statement February 2021. “Serious recognition of the work to be done across the country has prompted calls for urgent action. While we have made great strides in creating a more diverse and welcoming University community, we know that additional efforts are needed. “

Plans for the center were released in November 2021. In a press release, the university announced it would be “dedicated to research and scholarship on racism and racial prejudice.”

By March 2022, Penn State began looking for a founding director to lead the program and said that the center will partner with the school’s Institute of Social Sciences “to enable researchers to draw from the expertise in Penn State’s interdisciplinary institutes and engage in collaboration between many faculties and disciplines.”

However, it all went up in smoke on Wednesday. Now, the university plans to appoint an advisor to lead the diversity initiative which is not new but is said to have improved in November.

“While Penn State does not pursue development efforts [the Center for Racial Justice]We remain deeply committed to continuing to build upon the foundation of academic research and programming on racism and racial prejudice at Penn State,” said Senior Director of Strategic Communications at Penn State. Penn State, Lisa Powers told The Daily Beast on Thursday.

Powers added that it was not an easy decision for the administration, but it eventually realized “that increasing support for [diversity] efforts — including programs, initiatives, and research — will be more impactful in transforming [diversity] in Penn State than investing in a new business. “

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