Thomas College Announces Members Named to its Presidential Task Force on Equity, Diversity and Social Justice MacKenzie Riley Young | August 7, 2020
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WATERVILLE, MAINE, August 2020 — Thomas College announces members named to its Presidential Task Force on Equity, Diversity and Social Justice, which was created in June. The creation of the task force by President Laurie G. Lachance was in response to the recent global outcry over the senseless killings of black community members and the call to meaningfully address systematic racism in our society.

The purpose of the Thomas College Presidential Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Social Justice is to deepen the College’s commitment to holistic learning experiences that develop a spirit of active engagement in fostering racial healing, combatting structural racism, and creating equitable opportunities for all members of our community. This requires a more profound knowledge and understanding of the social, political, economic, and psychological issues associated with racial injustice and racial inequality.

The co-chairs of the task force Dr. Richard Biffle and Professor Judith Hansen-Childers have named 35 members to the force including representatives from: administration and trustees, faculty, students, staff, and alumni. The members include the following:

President’s representatives: Ed Cervone, Bernie Ouellette, Brian Bernatchez, and Danielle Marquis;

Faculty representatives: Dr. Katie Rybakova, Dr. Steve Kahl, Professor Andrea Thebarge, Dr. Mark Marsolais, Dr. Rick Saucier, Dr. Alicia Wilcox, Dr. Dan Leland; Deputy Chief William Bonney, and Coach Deshon Gaither;

Student representatives: Ryley Velozo, Emma Hayden, Joel Matondo, LG Fleurine, Diane Mutoni, Kyle Greene, and Alexis Nestor;

Staff representatives: Camille McGadney, Jim Delorie, David Smith, Zahayra Razo, Crystal Leavitt, Stephen Reid, Michael Sales, Carol Jollotta, and Sergeant Paul Heath;

Alumni representatives: Mike Akanji, Flavia Oliveria, Lonnie Thompson, Alisha Baral, Sydni Collier, and Ntumba Mutombo.

“Recent events in the U.S. have presented us with an opportunity to critically reflect on the type of community and culture we want to develop and maintain here at Thomas College. Change is hard and focusing on Equity, Diversity, and Social Justice is a deeply personal experience that requires us to step out of our comfort zones whereby silence is not an option,” says task force co-chair Dr. Biffle. “Like the nation and global community voices, our Task Force members are advocates for human rights, civil rights and social justice, and who are committed to guiding the college’s fulfillment of its diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racist initiatives.”

The goals of the task force will be to review the college’s standing around campus equity, diversity and social justice and make recommendations based on findings. The task force members will be split into four working groups: establishment and support of educational programs; expansion of curriculum and co-curricular activities; identifying and delivering support materials and resources; and creating a more holistic campus learning environment.

This is a critical moment for Thomas College and local, state, national and global communities in which we exist.

About Thomas College: Thomas College has been preparing students for success in their personal and professional lives for over 125 years. Thomas College nurtures the unique potential within each student. Our Guaranteed Job Program, 3-year accelerated offerings in all undergraduate degrees (master’s in the fourth year), individualized advising, career counseling, and our Innovation Centers in Business and Education meet a student’s determination to succeed with the direction, confidence, and tools to realize the highest version of themselves. From the classroom to community activities, or on the athletics field with our 19 varsity sports, Thomas College provides a personalized experience that prepares you for the workplace of tomorrow. Data reported by the New York Times ranks Thomas in the top 13 percent of all higher education institutions in the U.S. for upward mobility of its graduates, and U.S. News & World Report ranks us #8 among colleges in the Northeast. For more information, visit or contact MacKenzie Riley Young at [email protected] or 207-859-1313. Find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.