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Welcome to James Madison University’s Task Force on Racial Equity website.  The Task Force spent the past two academic years (from 2020-22) providing comprehensive feedback and recommendations related to issues of racial equity for the University.  This website highlights that important work, and will help us to track progress on these recommendations to provide accountability and transparency for our community.  We hope you will take time to review the work of the Task Force and the 53 recommendations that were submitted during the past two years. Vice President Malika Carter-Hoyt’s team will continually provide updates on progress over the course of the 2022-2023 academic year.  As you review this information, please know that we all recognize that this work continues and that JMU still has much work to do to create an inclusive community for everyone.

When we created this task force, I wanted it to model and reflect the values and principles we were discussing.  As is so often the case in higher education, we could have established another small committee and asked them to write and submit a report.  That report may or may not have sat on a shelf, waiting for other people to review and act on it.  This work was meant to be transformative, however, so I knew we needed a different approach to ensure that it could have a significant impact on our people as well as on our policies and processes.

The point was for this effort to be action-oriented and truly inclusive.  For these reasons, the process mattered to me almost as much as the ultimate recommendations that came out of this group.  If we were to go about this work in the right way, I believed that we needed to have all of the different constituencies of JMU represented.  That meant not just our on-campus populations of students, faculty and staff, but also alumni, community members, and parents.  Accordingly, we had many different voices at the table representing the rich diversity of our university community.  The breadth and depth of this group meant that the process would undoubtedly be more ambitious, time-consuming, messy and complicated than other types of task forces, but it also gave this large group the strength and capability to provide truly transformative change in the knowledge, perceptions, and attitudes of our people and our institution as a whole. 

Finally, I want to recognize the Task Force co-chairs, Leadership Council, Working Group co-chairs and members.  The needle of change and engagement would not have been moved or elevated without their sustained effort, time, and development of recommendations to make real and lasting change at JMU.  Their work has added another critical step in our institutional progress, even as we all recognize that we still have much more work to do.  Let’s continue to make JMU better for everyone, and to be especially mindful of the need to be welcoming and inclusive with regard to individuals who come from backgrounds that have been historically disadvantaged or underrepresented in our midst.  Together we can and will build an even stronger, richer, and more excellent educational environment.

Jonathan R. Alger
President, James Madison University
August 2022

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