UA diversity group wants more diversity on Strategic Planning Council

UA diversity group wants more diversity on Strategic Planning Council

TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - Members of "We Are Done", a University of Alabama student group want a more inclusive and diverse campus, and a good starting point includes changing or adding to a Strategic Planning Council formed by UA President Stuart Bell that met Wednesday to address those issues.

Members of We Are Done created a petition to convince Bell to add more diversity to that Strategic Planning Council.

They say they were spurred into action by seeing changes students at the University of Missouri achieved when faced with these same issues.
These students say they've grown concerned that issues involving racism, homophobia and others aren't being adequately addressed at the University of Alabama.

"This movement is important to me because I've had a number of unfortunate experiences of both racism and homophobia on campus at the University, Senior AJ James said. "I'm certainly not the only one to have these experiences. The University as a whole has an obligation to start addressing some of these issues."

We Are Done hoped talking about these problems and being more visible on campus would convince the administration to take them more seriously.

"I think everyone has united and every step has been important and gained support," Alexandra Smith.said. "And a lot of referencing other places in the country and watching other places in the country and watching other people, make major changes has made all the difference."

Linda Bonnin, UA Vice President for Strategic Communications, provided this statement to WBRC:

"In October, we announced we would develop a new strategic plan for the University that lays out a comprehensive vision for our future. The Strategic Planning Council will facilitate the efforts to create this overarching plan - equity and inclusion being parts of that larger plan. We are all committed to the same goal: to ensure The University of Alabama is a welcoming and inclusive campus for everyone. To that end, the Council has been charged with making sure diversity is a key component of the comprehensive strategic plan. In the course of its work, the Strategic Planning Council will consult with others, internal and external to the campus, who have valuable insights to share. We expect their work to be completed by spring, so the Council will be moving both thoughtfully and quickly."

We Are Done would like to see a full-time diversity officer or diversity center come out the Strategic Planning Council.

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