In the summer of 2020, Creighton University participated in the Institute on Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT), hosted by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). At the institute, participating institutions worked to develop action plans for addressing racial inequalities and dismantling belief in the hierarchy of human value.
Creighton’s delegation, led by Christopher Whitt, PhD, vice provost for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, and Erika Dakin Kirby, PhD, professor of communication studies and A.F. Jacobson Chair in Communication, included:
- Charise Alexander Adams, Kingfisher Institute
- Kaliyah Meriwether, Graduate student
- Errik Ejike, Health Sciences Multicultural and Community Affairs (HS-MACA)
- Becky Nickerson, Creighton Intercultural Center
- Jacqueline Font, Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
- Ken Reed-Bouley, Schlegel Center for Service and Justice
- Janique Hayes, Office of IDI and Mission and Ministry
- Beth Samson, Campus Ministry
- Sade Kosoko-Lasaki, School of Medicine and HS-MACA
- Barry Thomas, Omaha Public Schools
- Samuel Lado, student
- Daniel Walsh, Academic Service-Learning
- Chris Rodgers, Community and Government Relations and Douglas County Commissioner
During the conference, Creighton’s team outlined several key goals for the University to pursue in advancing its anti-racist mission. The following recommendations, developed by the TRHT team, will serve as a cornerstone for a comprehensive anti-racism action plan currently in development by a group of students, faculty and staff led by the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion.
Examine everyday practices (systemic and individual, historical and ongoing) that reproduce and resist racism at Creighton and in the local community.
- Continue and expand purposeful conversations — including CSU town halls and Presidential Listening Sessions — with the Creighton community about individual and systemic racism.
- Provide opportunities for individuals to share stories of experiences and perceptions of race at Creighton.
- Provide transparency on race-related incidents at Creighton.
- Support Bias Education Support Team (BEST) in addressing incidents of racism at Creighton. (These incidents are typically reported through the Tell Someone platform, the Office of Equity and Inclusion, the Division of Student Life, etc.)
Promote University-wide trainings, dialogues and educational opportunities that seek truth, racial healing and transformation.
- Document and share current University trainings, dialogues and educational opportunities with the wider Creighton community.
- Train Creighton stakeholders to conduct and engage in conversations on truth, racial healing and transformation.
- Offer regular opportunities for racial healing and dialogue.
Provide professional development opportunities for administration, faculty and staff to engage in anti-racist work and reflect on the racial history of Creighton and the outside community.
- Incorporate education and reflection on race and inclusive excellence within existing professional development structures.
- Develop a sustainable structure for ongoing employee development in areas of care and inclusive excellence.
- Include material on the racial history and realities of Omaha and Creighton in new hire orientation program.
- Collaborate with the Inclusive Excellence Presidential Council to provide professional development offerings.
Coordinate continuing community conversations that explore difficult truths about racism in Omaha and seek racial healing and transformation.
- Bring together internal stakeholders to identify necessary resources and coordinate conversations about racism.
- Appoint a community liaison to work with external stakeholders and community groups on coordinating productive conversations about racism.
Institutionalize curriculum to incorporate racial justice dialogues into academic offerings.
- Audit curricular offerings to see where opportunities exist to engage in dialogues about race and racism.
- Train faculty and staff to engage with students about race and racism in and out of the classroom.
- Coordinate and engage a faculty core across disciplines to revisit their courses from critical race and critical whiteness perspectives.
- Audit academic resources as to the availability of materials on race and racism.