A Statement From the President: Announcing the Creation of a Presidential Task Force on Equity, Diversity and Social Justice MacKenzie Riley Young | June 18, 2020

Dear Thomas College community: 

Two weeks ago, I wrote to you about the importance and necessity of finding our voice and addressing systemic racism in our society. I promised that in finding our voice, the College would also act. We understand that just being aware is not enough and that silence is not an option. 

That is why I am announcing the creation of the Presidential Task Force on Equity, Diversity and Social Justice. I am honored to also announce the appointment of co-chairs to this task force, both of whom are highly-respected professors and activists: Dr. Richard Biffle and Professor Judith Hansen-Childers. 
Both Rich and Judy have been teaching, studying, and leading in this area for many years, and I have faith in their knowledge of, passion for, and commitment to making real change in our approach to fully addressing issues of diversity and social justice at Thomas College.  

The purpose of this task force is to organize an effort that has long-term systemic involvement in this conversation surrounding equity, diversity and social justice with the following five goals in mind: 

  • To empower everyone in our community with knowledge and understanding, and to nurture a commitment to diversity and social justice across disciplines for students, staff and faculty by creating a culture that allows for that, 
  • To create and support educational programs on diversity and social justice through dialogues, reading circles, symposiums, and guest lecturers, 
  • To build a more diverse community 
  • To develop curriculum and co-curricular activities related to diversity and social justice, and  
  • To provide support and resources for diversity and social justice efforts across campus 

Thomas College’s mission is to prepare our students for success in their personal and professional lives and for leadership and service in their communities. To truly realize our mission, our community needs access to learning about these topics and to be able to use their voices and deeds to promote inclusion and diversity in all parts of their lives. 

The next step in this initiative is to identify Task Force members from a broad representation of stakeholders. Members will be empowered to identify plans of action for creating a culture and community at Thomas College that is inclusive, compassionate, and passionate about equity, diversity, and social justice.   

This is a long-term and ongoing project that will lead into the academic school year. There is much work to be done, but together we will embrace the challenge. 

Thank you for your partnership and understanding while we all find our voice. 
With deep respect, 
Laurie G. Lachance