Update on Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Task Force

April 8, 2021

Dear Trojan Community,

Last June, we announced a series of actions to advance our efforts at fostering excellence, diversity, access, and a sense of belonging and inclusion across our campuses. Thousands of you have participated in these efforts, and with your input, we have either completed or made substantial progress on all of the action items.

Today, we want to update you on two of them:

•    USC Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (REDI) Task Force

The REDI task force grew out of an effort that was launched at USC in 2015 but revitalized last year. An outstanding group of students, faculty, and staff was charged with looking across our campuses, analyzing both our strengths and shortcomings, and delivering recommendations to build excellence by enhancing racial diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The REDI task force has now delivered its final report. Their recommendations touch on nearly every corner of the Trojan community, including recruitment and retention, programs and curriculum, research and evaluation, culture and values, and resources for support of these initiatives. Some recommendations can be implemented quickly, some are already in process, and others will require additional evaluation.

We want to thank the members of the REDI task force for their work, with a special acknowledgement of Senior Vice President of Human Resources Felicia A. Washington and Dr. Manuel Pastor, Distinguished Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at Dornsife, for co-chairing this effort.

Input on the report is welcome via this online form. We will share your feedback with deans, administrators, and our new Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer, Christopher Manning – creating and hiring this position was one of our action items – who will work collaboratively on an implementation strategy.

•    Renaming the Center for International and Public Affairs

A new committee of students, faculty, and staff has begun meeting to consider a process for re-naming the Center for International and Public Affairs, formerly named for Rufus von KleinSmid. The committee is co-chaired by Dr. Paula Cannon, Distinguished Professor of Molecular Microbiology & Immunology at Keck, and Vice President for Student Affairs Winston Crisp. We are excited to see the group’s work as they seek, with your input, to name the building for a member of our community whom we all can celebrate.

We will have more progress to share later this semester. In the coming weeks, we will launch an unconscious bias training program to help educate the community about how to recognize and prevent implicit bias. In addition, we plan soon to broadly release recommendations from the Community Advisory Board for the Department of Public Safety.

Sincerely yours,

Carol L. Folt, President

Charles F. Zukoski, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs