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College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Anti-racism, Social Justice, and Equity: The College of Liberal Arts is Committed!

Kirsten Dellinger (left) and Valeria Ross (right)

Kirsten Dellinger (left), PhD, Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, and Valeria Ross, MS, Program Manager for Diversity and Inclusion

We write to you in the midst of a reckoning with racism that has galvanized the nation—and the College of Liberal Arts—to create a more equitable and racially just world. As the largest academic unit at the flagship public institution in Mississippi, we feel a tremendous responsibility to lead efforts that will ensure that Black Lives Matter on our campus. Dean Cohen demonstrated his dedication and commitment to this work with the creation of the leadership positions solely dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion (which we currently hold). His recent letter to the CLA community following the murder of George Floyd is a call to action for systematic and ongoing change in the College.

“10 in 3” CLA Equity Plan

  1. Implement systematic and sustained equity training and education at all levels
  2. Conduct Comprehensive Equity Program Reviews
  3. Create website that supports equity-minded work
  4. Establish a student committee to work on diversity, equity, and inclusion
  5. Support and highlight work of student-centered advising staff
  6. Conduct regular meetings with CLA staff from underrepresented and marginalized groups
  7. Highlight and reward faculty expertise on racism, antiracism, and social justice
  8. Support more leadership opportunities for faculty from underrepresented and marginalized groups
  9. Recruit and hire more Black faculty
  10. Clarify mechanisms for bias reporting and ensure effective follow through

The College of Liberal Arts has experts in many fields who study racism and anti-racism, who can help us understand the historical, cultural, symbolic, scientific, and social scientific implications of racial inequality and paths to equity. So what better place to begin an analysis of the actions that are necessary to transform the College, as a workplace and space of higher learning? As we turn a critical lens on ourselves, we need to ask what equity and anti-racism actually look like in our policies and practices? In our classrooms? In our research labs? In our departments? And in our town and state?
Taking into account conversations with faculty, staff, and students as well as years of previous reports and taskforce suggestions, we have created the “10 in 3” Equity Plan for the College—10 major equity issues that we will work diligently to “move forward” in 3 years.
The time for change is now. We will need your support and help to fully implement the 10 in 3 plan to achieve the goal of a stronger, more inclusive College. We are excited and privileged to be doing this work. We hope you will join us! Contact libarts@olemiss.edu.