Big Ten Announces Members Of Anti-Hate & Anti-Racism Coalition, Voter Registration Initiative

Update, June 15: The Big Ten announced its members of the Anti-Hate and Anti-Racism coalition Monday afternoon.

Nine student-athletes, coaches, and administrators were selected to represent Penn State on the coalition. Among them were vice president for intercollegiate athletics Sandy Barbour, head football coach James Franklin, head women’s basketball coach Carolyn Kieger, and men’s basketball star Myles Dread, among others.

Along with an announcement of representatives, the conference also shared Monday its creation of the Big Ten Conference Voter Registration Initiative. The announcement explained that monthly educational programming will begin in July and continue through election day on November 3, 2020.

“This programming will be designed to inform and educate student-athletes on the importance of civic engagement and how to register to vote and submit a ballot, in person or absentee,” the announcement read.

The committee will partner with Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law to “develop educational programming, create outreach tools, foster open and honest dialogue with law enforcement and collaborate with other established civic platforms.”

The Big Ten’s full announcement can be read here. A full roster of representatives from all 14 universities in the conference can be found here.

Original Story: Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren issued a statement Monday night regarding the death of George Floyd and several other unarmed black citizens over the past few months.

Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed while in police custody on May 25 in Minneapolis. His death has sparked rallies and protests throughout the nation, including one in State College this past Sunday.

Warren explained his connection to Minnesota in his letter, as he and his family “lived full-time in the Minneapolis area for over 15 years” before they moved to Chicago when he became the Big Ten’s commissioner in June 2019. Before joining the conference, Warren worked in the Minnesota Vikings’ front office and became the team’s Chief Operating Officer in 2015.

Warren, who is the first African-American commissioner of a Power-Five conference, went on to explain how he and his family have personally had experience with a deep racial divide in the United States today.

“As a Black man, I pray every day for the health and safety of my wife and children, especially during interactions with law enforcement,” Warren wrote. “We continue to see inequality and deep divide regarding how members of the Black community are treated compared to the rest of society and too often, the results have been horrific and senseless. Such racism and inequality are pervasive, not just endemic in law enforcement.”

The Big Ten commissioner added that meaningful change will only occur if the nation as a whole is “united, resilient and determined to create difficult, uncomfortable dialogue and take significant tangible action.”

With this in mind, Warren explained that he will create the Big Ten Conference Anti-Hate and Anti-Racism Coalition. He hopes to create strong relationships between already-existing diversity councils at different universities. Warren invites “student-athletes, coaches, athletic directors, chancellors, presidents, and others” to join him in creating a dialogue through the coalition.

“We must listen to our young people. Our children and future generations deserve better. We are either part of the problem or part of the solution. The Big Ten Conference will be part of the solution as we actively and constructively combat racism and hate in our country,” Warren wrote.

Along with the creation of this coalition, Warren and his wife, Greta, will help develop it by making an initial gift of $100,000 from the Warren Family Foundation to the National Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights based in Washington, D.C.

“I will continue to pray, lead and take action to eliminate racism and hate in our country,” Warren added.

Several notable Penn Staters have also used their platforms to help foster some positive change, including President Eric Barron, vice president for intercollegiate athletics Sandy Barbour, and head football coach James Franklin.

Warren’s full statement can be read here.

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a senior majoring in digital and print journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, Peaky Blinders, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email [email protected]

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