University Leadership Announces Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiatives

Sept. 10, 2020

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,

Back in June, in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, we promised you that the university’s leadership team would spend the summer listening and enhancing our knowledge about issues of racism, diversity, equity and inclusion, and then come to you with an action plan for UNH.

We are following up on that promise. Members of the President’s Leadership Council took advantage of an extensive list of books, videos and podcasts, as well as a number of social media accounts, and a variety of reports created by UNH task forces over the past few years. We particularly focused on the final report of the Presidential Task Force on Campus Climate (April 2018), which includes as an appendix a list of student demands (and the university’s response) from 2017. We also spoke directly to Black students, faculty, staff and alumni to learn more about their experiences at the university. We were all moved by what we learned, and are acutely aware that, despite the progress made by those who have come before us, much work remains to be done.

Our work culminated in an all-day retreat in August, at which we shared what we had learned and considered actions we could take. We were guided by the following aspiration for the future of UNH, which was in turn informed by the core operating principles from the 2018 report:

“UNH will have a more diverse faculty, staff and student body. We will have an inclusive and welcoming environment for all, but especially for people of color, who have not always felt welcome. We will prepare all students to function effectively in diverse settings, at UNH and beyond. As a research university, the scope of our research will include issues of racism, diversity and inclusion. Our leadership teams will proactively address diversity and inclusion and communicate progress regularly.”

How will we pursue this aspiration? The UNH community has been clear that we must take action, and that is our intent. We took each sentence in the above statement and identified a set of specific initiatives for each that will move us forward. In identifying these initiatives, we considered the need for immediate action and the need to be successful in whatever we take on.

Here are the initiatives. For each of these initiatives, we will identify who is responsible, the time frame for accomplishment and metrics for assessing our performance. We recognize the good work that is already occurring on more micro-levels across various campus departments, so these initiatives are intended to address broader concerns.

If you have comments or questions, please reach out to us at presidents.office@unh.edu. 

In addition, we will hold three town hall Zoom meetings, one each geared toward faculty, staff and students. Anyone who cannot make their meeting is welcome to attend one of the other sessions. This will give everyone the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback.

Staff: Monday, Sept. 21, 5-6:30 p.m.
https://unh.zoom.us/j/91767225726
or +1 646 876 9923 Webinar ID: 917 6722 5726

Faculty: Wednesday, Sept. 23, 4-5:30 p.m.
https://unh.zoom.us/j/91838979786
or +1 646 876 9923 Webinar ID: 918 3897 9786

Students: Wednesday, Sept. 30, 6:30-8 p.m.
https://unh.zoom.us/j/98872448179
or +1 646 876 9923 Webinar ID: 988 7244 8179

We look forward to talking with you at the town meetings. If you are not able to join us, a recording of each session will be available on the Community, Equity and Diversity website.

James W. Dean Jr.
President

Nadine Petty
Associate Vice President for Community, Equity, and Diversity