x
Breaking News
More () »

Cleveland's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Cleveland, Oh | WKYC.com

Kent State University President releases anti-racism action plan following on-campus March for Unity

President Todd Diacon joined several student groups for March for Unity on campus Monday.

KENT, Ohio — Kent State University President Todd Diacon announced Monday, action steps the school will be taking to combat racial inequality and safety among the Black community on campus.

The announcement was made via email to the student body, faculty and staff following a March for Unity on campus sponsored by the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and supported by the Black United Students (BUS) group. 

President Diacon joined the march in support of the school's students of color after "vile and hurtful" messages were left on Kent's famous on-campus rock just a few weeks ago.

"Today's march and the two other marches last week in support of the value of Black lives, represent the very essence of the Kent State spirit and the values this university holds dear: exercising our right to free speech and claiming loudly and clearly that hate has no home here," the email reads. "Be assured that Kent State is taking action. We have worked in partnership with BUS to develop action steps to combat racial inequality and ensure the safety of our Black community," the note continues. 

Among a list of 10 action steps, anti-bias training for faculty, staff and students is included. A few other steps being taken are increasing lighting around the Rock, installation of security cameras, promoting and enlisting the support of BUS to enhance the recruitment and retention of students and exploring off-campus and on-campus police relationships.

President Diacon's full email can be found below:

Dear Kent State University Students, Faculty and Staff,

Today I had the meaningful opportunity to take part in the March for Unity sponsored by the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and supported by the Black United Students (BUS) on our Kent Campus.

Today's march and the two other marches last week in support of the value of Black lives, represent the very essence of the Kent State spirit and the values this university holds dear: exercising our right to free speech and claiming loudly and clearly that hate has no home here.

The dual public health crises of racism and COVID-19 have created challenging times for our students, faculty and staff of color, and particularly for our Black students, faculty and staff. To this end, BUS continues to provide leadership at Kent State, and the advocacy of its members has helped to make Kent State a better institution. The organization’s willingness to work with the university, to share concerns and to draw our attention to areas that need improvement has provided invaluable assistance as Kent State carves a new path to equality and justice.

Be assured that Kent State is taking action.

We have worked in partnership with BUS to develop action steps to combat racial inequality and ensure the safety of our Black community:

Action Steps

  1. Installation of security cameras
  2. Increase lighting around the Rock
  3. Hire more security aides and expand hours for student escort services, including providing these services during the day
  4. Promote and enlist the support of Black United Students to enhance the recruitment and retention of students
  5. Anti-bias training for faculty, staff and students
    1. Creating incentives for faculty through Center for Teaching and Learning focused cohorts (diversity focus)
    2. Requiring anti-bias workshops for all new Kent State employees
  6. Conduct a formal review of the Student Code of Conduct
  7. Implement policies and procedures for painting the Rock
  8. Explore the creation of a platform for notifying students, faculty and staff about hate speech/acts
  9. Create a platform/website for anti-racism statements, announcements and actions of the university
  10. Explore off-campus and on-campus police relationship

Learn more about the university's anti-racism work.

You have my pledge that we will continue to act until all people experience our university as a place that fosters diversity, equity and inclusion for all.

Sincerely,

Todd Diacon
President