Wayne State announced the creation of the Social Justice Action Committee that will drive cultural change, inclusion and equity at the university, President M. Roy Wilson said in a June 30 statement emailed campus wide. 

“The brutal injustice of George Floyd’s death at the hands of police has continued to galvanize people across the nation to demand real change to combat systemic racism,” Wilson said. “The demands extend beyond changes in police practices and apply to all aspects of society, including health care, educational reform and economic equity.”

The committee will examine policies, practices and procedures at WSU to identify bias that may affect “historically marginalized peoples” —recommending changes that could occur immediately and over time. 

Most SJAC members have been decided, consisting of administrators, community leaders, faculty, staff and students, according to Wilson. Membership on the committee was decided by expertise within their position, leaders in the WSU community and a racial, ethnic and gender balance. 

The SJAC will provide leadership for working groups, with Campus Climate and Intercultural Training and Education already in operation: 

  • Hiring and retention of diverse faculty.
  • Hiring and retention of diverse staff.
  • Student access and success.
  • Policing.
  • Intercultural education and training, i.e., the development of educational experiences/training around issues of implicit bias in hiring and retention, race and racism, and other issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).
  • Campus climate, which will continue to turn the results of the Campus Climate Study into substantive change.
  • University DEI initiatives, which will include university-wide projects, initiatives and other efforts that impact both the campus and larger community of which we are a part.

A final report from the SJAC will be presented to Wilson in November with “findings, recommendations, and action steps” for each working group, but action is intended to be taken before then as needed. 

“While there are individuals and units responsible for leading this work, the responsibility for creating a bias-free, inclusive and equitable institution rests with each of us,” Wilson said. 

An SJAC website will be available next week. 

Cover photo by Multimedia Editor Jonathan Deschaine. He can be reached at jonathan.deschaine@gmail.com.