University Business October 2017 - 14

Beyond the News
Transforming campus culture
Racial healing centers emerge in Charlottesville's wake
Students and faculty at 10 colleges and
universities will work with surrounding
communities to improve race relations,
social justice and tolerance through newly
created campus Truth, Racial Healing &
Transformation centers.
The program, backed by $30,000
American Association of Colleges &
Universities grants, takes on greater importance in the wake of the protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, says Rob Pearigen,
president of Millsaps College in Jackson,
Mississippi, one of the selected campuses.
"We're in a time when there's a need
for honest and brave conversations around
these issues," Pearigen says. "And we want
to move from conversations to action-to
help, in a transformative way, in the lives
of students, faculty and staff, and in the
lives of our community."
Millsaps, in the mid-1960s, became
the first college in Mississippi to desegregate voluntarily, and it has admitted
women since its early years of operation
in the 1890s. The college plans to use the

Colleges and universities
(out of 125 applicants)
receiving Truth, Racial
Healing & Transformation
center grants
Austin Community College
Brown University
Duke University
Hamline University (Minn.)
Millsaps College (Miss.)
Rutgers University
Spelman College (Ga.)
The Citadel (S.C.)
University of Hawaii at Manoa
University of Maryland Baltimore
County

14 | October 2017

LIGHTING THE WAY-Millsaps College holds its "Fourth Night" ceremony for
new students. The Mississippi school, along with 10 other U.S. institutions,
has won a grant to create a Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation center.

grant to bolster community service work
that sends students to tutor in city schools
and help local artists develop business
plans. Millsaps will also add internships
and enhance other research programs
it offers as a member of the Shepherd
Higher Education Consortium on Poverty
(UBmag.me/shecp).
Spelman College, also a grant winner,
will expand its "Difficult Dialogue" series.
The initiative brings together students
from nearby Atlanta-area colleges to
discuss race, gender, class, politics and
identity, says Cynthia Spence, an associate
professor of sociology and director of Spelman's Social Justice Fellows program.
"We see this as a way to scale these
kinds of activities-to continue our intercollegiate relationships with undergrads,
and to also engage faculty and staff and
members of the community," Spence says.
That includes reaching out to the region's corporate sector-through Atlanta's
YWCA-to examine wider issues of social
justice and equity, such as how residents
and schools in some Atlanta neighborhoods are impacted by gentrification.
"Community partners will talk about
the experience of individuals who have

lived in communities that were racially
segregated or homogeneous but are now
on brink of change," Spence says.
The grant recipients will participate
in AACU's first Truth, Racial Healing &
Transformation Institute in January 2018,
as well as produce a guidebook that other
institutions can use to create their own
centers and initiatives. AACU hopes to
eventually help launch 150 racial healing
centers, President Lynn Pasquerella says.
"Often, when we think of these programs
in higher ed, we're the experts who are
going in to rescue the members of the
community," she says. "We're realizing we
have as much to learn from the community members as we have to contribute."
Hamline University in St. Paul,
Minnesota, will use its AACU grant to
build on the momentum of its "Summer
of Justice" discussion series that has examined African-American incarceration rates,
the school-to-prison pipeline and equity
in public education, Associate Provost Jill
Barclift says.
"We had no idea that Charlottesville
would happen," Barclift says. "But it puts
a finer point on the work associated with
this grant." -Matt Zalaznick
www.universitybusiness.com


http://www.UBmag.me/shecp http://www.universitybusiness.com

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