Board Of Trustees Forms Bias, Racism, & Community Safety Oversight Group

Penn State’s Board of Trustees is forming a new oversight group to help address bias, racism, and intolerance within the university’s community.

The committee will receive regular updates on Penn State’s newly formed Select Penn State Presidential Commission on Racism, Bias and Community Safety. The commission, which President Eric Barron announced earlier this month, will make recommendations to address “expected political and social unrest” on campus.

The Board of Trustees’ newly formed oversight group will hear regular updates from Barron’s commission as well as the university’s new initiatives to combat racism and bias across Penn State.

The oversight group will be chaired by Trustee Brandon Short and include eight other board members and university bigwigs. Over the next few months, they’ll receive briefings related to the aforementioned initiatives and “provide input and guidance” as well as updates to the full board.

“This is critical work and I am pleased to lead this effort on behalf of the Board of Trustees,” Short said. “I look forward to approaching this with complete focus as we review our work in this vital area, support the newly stated initiatives, and challenge ourselves to think and act differently.”

According to a news release, Penn State is committed to leading its community to “fight intolerance, model inclusivity and embrace the power of diversity and belonging.”

Earlier this month, Barron outlined several new steps and initiatives Penn State would take to address racism and bias within its community. These included mandatory bias training for all faculty, a reexamination of its Student Code of Conduct alongside student leaders, and the promotion of “educational and employment equity” for all.

“The Board of Trustees wishes to reiterate that racism in any form cannot be tolerated and that it is counterintuitive to the mission of higher education,” Board Chair Mark H. Dambly said. “We are proud to work with President Barron and Penn State administrators, faculty, staff and students to launch these important initiatives, which will enrich our campuses, bring greater accountability, and help us all advance diversity, equity and inclusion on Penn State campuses.”

The Board of Trustees’ next meeting will take place on Thursday, July 16 and Friday, July 17. Once the dates get closer, you can find streaming information and a full itinerary on its website.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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