Chancellor Sartarelli Creates Renewal and Change Accountability Committee to Advance Diversity and Inclusion

Thursday, July 30, 2020

UNCW Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli has created an accountability committee to advance efforts to create a more diverse and inclusive campus.

The Chancellor’s Renewal and Change Accountability Committee will work with the university’s administration to develop strategies and propose solutions to address issues of diversity, equity, equality and inclusion. The committee held its first meeting on July 28.

“This is an opportunity to reaffirm the university’s commitment to an inclusive campus, where diverse voices are valued and respected,” said Sartarelli. “The Renewal and Change Accountability Committee is comprised of individuals whose experiences and expertise will help guide our efforts as we seek tangible change at UNCW. I look forward to working with the committee and the campus community to ensure that we live up to our values, stay focused, and make real progress.”

Chancellor Sartarelli also announced an initiative to raise $1 million for additional diversity scholarships and has made an initial contribution to kick off the effort. An initial investment of $200,000, including the gift from the Chancellor, has already been committed.

A list of needs related to diversity and equity were presented to the administration in June by leaders in Black student organizations, the African American Graduate Association and the Black Faculty and Staff Association. The administration is in the process of identifying short- and long-term actions to address the needs, including:

  • Implementing stronger diversity/inclusion education for all professional staff with anti-racism content and a robust explicit bias training for all search committees, hiring authorities and administration;
  • Hiring of Black faculty and staff;
  • Increasing access for historically disadvantaged and low-income students;
  • Supporting staffing in the three cultural centers appropriate to accommodate advances in programming; and
  • Expanding curricula to include more classes related to Black history and elevating the Africana Studies minor to a major.

The administration is committed to moving these and other related goals forward in a timely manner. The Renewal and Change Accountability Committee, which will meet quarterly, will play an important role in supporting and enhancing the university’s commitment to addressing these issues. The committee will use qualitative and quantitative evidence to prioritize change areas for the campus and will regularly review the institution's progress towards that change, said Donyell Roseboro, the university’s interim Chief Diversity Officer.

“I believe words must be coupled with action. Renewal and change represent hope while accountability reminds us that we must act to build trust and move forward,” Roseboro continued. “We need all three to create an inclusive environment while remembering the history that brought us to this point in time.”

Emmanuel Harris, professor and committee member, hopes the committee will be able to promote positive change, particularly as it relates to African Americans and people of color.

“Other committees, with what appeared to be similar intentions, have been formed in the past. Too often their results were woefully unsatisfactory or negligible,” he said. “This group needs to be more than window dressing or a marketing opportunity. We need the real, tangible ability to be heard, accounted for and acted upon by the upper administration.”

Christopher Neal, the Black Student Union president and member of the committee, said the formation of the Chancellor's Renewal and Change Accountability Committee is a step in the right direction in order to “hold all UNCW personnel accountable in creating change on campus to last for generations to come.”

“I hope that this is merely a first step of many,” he continued, “and that we are working to create a university where Black students will want to attend and are proud to say they graduated from this institution.”

UNCW Board of Trustees member and alumnus Maurice Smith applauded the chancellor’s decision to address diversity and seize the opportunity to achieve a more representative racial mix.

“As he so aptly reported to the Board of Trustees, the process begins with the recognition of where we stand today," Smith said. “A historical reflection revealed some unacceptable progress. It is clear to me that this work will require a commitment from the entire institution. I look forward to facing a future that is more diverse and inclusive.”

Smith is encouraged by the leadership he has seen from the chancellor, Faculty Senate, student leaders, AAGA members and the community to face this challenge head on. “While we may have different points of view about what tactics to deploy, we are aligned in our love for this university,” he said. “The affinity of the UNCW community binds us together to forge bold, transformative results. When history reflects on this moment in time, I believe we will be remembered for making the right decisions.”

The Renewal and Change Accountability Committee members are:

  • Linda Upperman Smith, former UNCW Board of Trustees member
  • Maurice Smith ’79, UNCW Board of Trustee member
  • Malcomb Coley ’86, ’89M
  • Ron Hamm ’90, first African American Graduate Association President, UNCW Board of Visitors
  • Ebony Bryant ’01, African American Graduate Association President
  • Stephania Bloodworth ’00, past African American Graduate Association President, UNCW Alumni Board of Directors
  • Christopher Neal ’21, 2020-21 Black Student Union President
  • Kirsten Reddick’21, 2020-21 Black Student Union Vice President
  • Emmanuel Harris, Professor and Black Faculty and Staff Association co-chair
  • Keryn Vickers, Black Faculty and Staff Association co-chair and Interim Coordinator, University College
  • Patrick Boykin ’94, ’12M
  • Donyell Roseboro, Professor and Interim Chief Diversity Officer

Those interested in supporting UNCW’s diversity initiatives can explore opportunities here.

-- Venita Jenkins