In one of his first messages to the Emory community, President Fenves announced his commitment to ensuring that Emory becomes a more inclusive campus and outlined specific actions the university is taking to achieve that goal. Those actions include:
- Launching the Task Force on Untold Stories and Disenfranchised Populations
- Establishing a descendants endowment to provide two undergraduate student scholarships annually to students descended from enslaved peoples
- Launching the University Committee on Naming Honors
- Planning a conference on the legacy of slavery in higher education
- Presenting the prior demands of Black students
- Reviewing policing at Emory
- Renovations to affinity group spaces for students
- Implementing a new general education requirement on race and ethnicity
Advancement and Alumni Engagement (AAE) is equally committed to supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion within our division and the alumni community.
“We have a lot of hard work to do across this nation as we seek to dismantle racism and overcome injustice in all forms. While I believe in Emory’s motto that ‘The wise heart seeks knowledge,’ I also firmly believe that a wise heart seeks justice and equity.”
—Joshua R. Newton / Senior Vice President, Advancement and Alumni Engagement, Emory University
Over the past few years, AAE has made strides in fostering a more inclusive community for employees by creating:
- A divisional committee on community and diversity
- A director of organizational culture and effectiveness position with a direct link to the senior leadership team
- An employee-led task force focused on improving internal culture
- Employee resource groups to build community and acknowledge shared identity
- A cultural development requirement for each employee
In partnership with the Emory Alumni Board (EAB), we are taking similar steps to build a more inclusive alumni community as well.
Marché Simpson / Director of Diversity and Inclusion for Advancement and Alumni Engagement
In April 2020, Marché Simpson became the first director of diversity and inclusion for Emory’s alumni community. She manages the Atlanta identity Networks and works closely with campus partners like the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Undergraduate Admissions, the Emory Career Center, and the Belonging and Community Justice Working Group.
Marché aims to build awareness and inspire action through relationships and programs (see “Get Involved”).
“This work is important. I have the opportunity to use my seat at the table to provide a voice for people who aren’t in the room. I believe that everyone deserves our best, no matter what they look like, who they love, or who they pray to. I choose to believe we will be in a much better place in the future if each of us does our individual part in taking action against injustice, inequality, and inequity.”
—Marché Simpson / Director of Diversity and Inclusion
The Emory Alumni Board is making improvements to ensure that membership better represents the alumni community and their practices support diversity, equity, and inclusion.
“It is important that the Emory Alumni Board lead by example to ensure that our board accurately reflects the diversity of our alumni base, provides an environment of fairness, and supports inclusion across all of our efforts. My goal is to set the foundation for the Emory Alumni Board to be more deliberate and thoughtful around diversity, equity and inclusion into the future.”
—Steve Greenfield 04EVMBA / President, Emory Alumni Board
EAB Nominating and Governance Committee
Members of this committee will assess and guide the board’s efforts to be inclusive and to attract diverse members by considering questions like:
- What does diversity on the EAB look like?
- How is the EAB providing a sense of belonging and inclusiveness once diversity is established?
- Should JEDI training be required for all EAB members?
Alumni Leadership Task Force
Chaired by EAB President Steve Greenfield 04EVMBA, this task force will include representatives from school and unit alumni boards. Members will be required to deepen their understanding of the meaning and importance of JEDI by attending training sessions and workshops.
The task force’s goals include:
- Increasing diversity—including race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, physical ability, military/veteran status, and geography—to reflect the alumni represented by the boards
- Elevating inclusivity in planning and programming
- Developing standards and measurements needed to reach goals
DEI Alumni Committee
Chaired by EAB President-Elect Munir Meghjani 08Ox 10C, this committee will serve as one of the seven subcommunities that make up the DEI Strategic Planning Committee led by Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Carol E. Henderson. Committee members will focus on climate and culture, professional development and education awareness, and accountability.
“The alumni voice has been and will remain important in the fight for justice at Emory University. The work of our alumni body is an example of what can be achieved when education is not just focused on the classroom but also interwoven with the diversity of life experiences and views of the people around you. As we move forward to better understand the role of JEDI at Emory, the voices of alumni will be pivotal to assessing, guiding, and implementing the work yet to come.”
—Munir Meghjani 08Ox 10C / President-Elect, Emory Alumni Board
We’ll provide additional information and progress updates throughout the year. In the meantime, there are a number of ways that you can join us in this important work.
Participate in our foundational program series, Emory Community Conversations. Centered on dimensions of identity, including race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and religion, this series is for anyone seeking to understand identity and its connection to racial justice, social justice, and human rights. Events will be held the first Tuesday of every month, and the next one is available on December 1, 2020.
Representation matters. Sign up for Emory Connects and use the identity tags to ensure a diverse support system for the Emory community.
Now a part of Emory Community Conversations, Civic Dinners are an opportunity to engage in small group discussions with members of the Emory community.
Visit the DEI section of the Emory Collective for articles, videos, and upcoming and recent events related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Consider making a gift to support diversity and inclusion programs and initiatives at Emory University.