Dean Bill Boulding sent the following message to the Fuqua community on June 15, 2020:
Dear Fuqua community,
As we grieve the traumatic events and confront the long history of racism in the US that have led to ongoing national protests, we can seize this moment to enact true, meaningful and deliberate change. We can collectively commit to leading the way in our industry, our community and in each of our lives in being anti-racist. We can make this the moment we begin dismantling systemic racism. Our community prides itself on decency. Now, more than ever, we need to let our decency shine through and fully hold ourselves accountable to living our values every day.
We must take a hard look at all dimensions of our work to make sure we are doing all we can for our community. As I have heard in conversations with so many, the painful truth is that systemic racism is not just an abstract societal problem to solve; it is an all too real problem in our own house. We need to start our work at home, because within the walls of Fuqua, we should serve as role models for our students and show them what an organization can look like when it lives its values. In addition, we have a responsibility to prepare them to be the future business leaders who will distinguish themselves through their decency as they move beyond our walls and continue the work of building a more fair, just society through the platform of business. We can, must, and will do better.
No one thing will fix what has been centuries in the making. There is no easy solution. Thus, we commit to combatting systemic racism on a number of fronts with the hope that these commitments reinforce one another:
- We commit to develop programs such that all members of our Fuqua community – students, alumni, faculty and staff – can better understand systemic racism, why it persists, and what we can do to help dismantle it.
- We commit to increase staff and budget focused on efforts to increase diversity and inclusion in our community in a variety of ways including student recruitment and school-wide programming.
- We commit to expand our efforts in outreach and partnerships with the Durham community, and Black and Latinx-owned businesses. For example, the Fuqua Volunteer Corps and the Fuqua Client Consulting Practicum are two efforts where we can surface projects to support these communities.
- We commit to expand outreach and partnerships with both educational institutions and professional organizations that serve the Black, Latinx, and Native American communities.
- We commit to work with the business school industry to identify best practices in promoting and ensuring racial equity, and to use our network to convene conversations about how our industry must change. Similarly, we will convene conversations with industry leaders, with a goal of establishing our intellectual leadership in how we understand and dismantle systemic racism.
- We commit to increase the number of cases with Black and other underrepresented protagonists taught in our courses.
- We commit to curating content in our curriculum that includes work on racism and inequality within businesses and organizations, taking advantage of deep, and growing, faculty expertise in these areas.
- We commit to ensuring content focusing specifically on issues of fairness, justice and race becomes a part of the core curriculum across all programs.
- We commit to ensuring our Management Communications course content across programs includes a focus on diversity and inclusion through the addition of a faculty member with expertise in this area.
- We commit to identifying electives where, with relevant content, we can better educate students on issues of racial inequity. For example, our Health Sector Management team is working on introducing content on health disparities into existing health sector courses.
- We commit to identifying additional elective courses that will help our students understand and confront systemic racism.
- We commit to asking our faculty to review course evaluations and assess whether there are additional measures that could provide diagnostic feedback and help us track progress around our goals to increase the diversity and inclusiveness of the curricular experience.
- We commit to creating additional co-curricular programming and opportunities focusing on fairness, justice and race. A Fuqua experience extends beyond the classroom, and with additional staff and financial resources, we can create more student opportunities for learning.
- We commit to having industry impact, and demonstrating our thought leadership, by creating an executive development program. Borrowing from Ashleigh Shelby Rosette’s recent LinkedIn Live talk, the working title of the program is “What Leaders Need to Know about Race in the U.S.” Ashleigh has agreed to work with our faculty experts to launch such a program in the coming year.
- We commit to efforts to increase the presence of underrepresented groups in our student community, on our advisory boards, our senior administrators, our faculty, and our vendor/supplier relationships.
- We commit to increasing the transparency of our student composition, reporting underrepresented minority percentages including the racial and ethnic breakdown.
- We commit to increasing the diversity of guest speakers brought in to enrich the student experience.
- We commit to the establishment of a Racial Equity Working Group, comprised of representatives from our faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Their charge will include the following.
- To develop specific goals by which Fuqua can accomplish the aforementioned Community, Curriculum, and Representation commitments.
- To develop metrics, which will form the basis for our scorecard by which we can hold ourselves accountable as an institution to assess progress on the above goals and any additional recommendations established by the Racial Equity Working Group.
- To measure Fuqua’s progress on the established standards identified in the scorecard and present the results to the Fuqua community annually.
In terms of timing, we will announce the members of the working group next Monday, June 22. Their first report will be due to me on Monday, September 7th. I will then update the community with more specific information about our plans in the coming academic year.
We need time to get this right. We need to enact meaningful and sustainable change and must have substance in our promises. There is no quick fix, no one thing, which will truly dismantle systemic racism. Rather, just as systemic racism is a consequence of a multitude of interwoven structures and beliefs, so, too, must we create a system of activities to combat this insidious foe.
In bringing the specifics of these commitments to life, we will engage with our stakeholders. There is an enormous amount of interest and expertise to tap into, and we need to create buy in. To make these changes requires my commitment, which you all have, but to ensure lasting and effective change requires more. We, the Fuqua community, must embrace this opportunity to change. Over time, many have asked the following two questions: If not now, when? If not us, who? Make no mistake; the answers to these questions are clear. The time is now and we must act.
We will hold ourselves accountable to work with urgency and intention in seizing this opportunity for positive change. We will dedicate the considerable resources and talent in the Fuqua community to changing the world for the better and doing our part in moving the needle to end systemic racism.
As you may be aware, this coming Friday is Juneteenth, the day that commemorates when the federal orders were read in Galveston Texas that all slaves were free…almost two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation. As an opportunity to discuss the commitments we are making, on that day I will host a conversation with Owen May and Derek Penn, two individuals who have done more to build and nurture the Black community at Fuqua than any others in our history. They have agreed to be a part of the change process as we move forward, and I look forward to having the two of them join us for a community conversation on race at Fuqua - past, present and future. I will share event details shortly.
With optimism for a better future,