10 Colleges, Universities Selected as First Sites for ‘Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Campus Centers’
by Rachel Frommer, Washington Free Beacon, August 21, 2017
Ten universities and colleges have been selected as the first sites for "Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Campus Centers," a new program of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) "designed to … break down racial hierarchies and create a positive narrative about race in the community."
Each institution will receive an initial $30,000, through a $520,000 grant from the Newman's Own Foundation and $399,763 from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
The AAC&U created the program to "unearth and jettison the deeply held, and often unconscious, beliefs created by racism—the main one being the belief in a ‘hierarchy of human value.'"
"This absurd belief, which has fueled racism and conscious and unconscious bias throughout American culture, is the perception of inferiority or superiority based on race, physical characteristics, or place of origin," according to the program description.
The institutions selected for the centers are Austin Community College, Brown University, Duke University, Hamline University, Millsaps College, Rutgers University, Spelman College, The Citadel, University of Hawaii, and University of Maryland-Baltimore County (UMBC).
At Brown, the first initiative will grow a pilot project for "students who identify as black"—launched during February 2017's Black History Month—into a weekly dinner discussion "about issues of identity, race, gender, colorism, classism, dynamics within communities of color," according to a press release.
A similar "conversation group for Muslim women on campus" will be created as well, wrote the university.
Hamline, in Minnesota, announced that the center's "planning committee will work to develop practice spaces focused on creating new narratives and new relationships while naming and honoring the ongoing pain and trauma wrought by belief in racial hierarchy, structural racism, and white privilege."
The program has been in the works since 2016, but AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella and administrators from the selected universities referred to the events earlier this month in Charlottesville, Va., as proof for the need for the centers.
A meeting of representatives from each of the centers will take place next month, and a "Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Institute" will be held in January 2018. The schools will also participate in developing a "guidebook" for the creation of future centers.