President Turner Shares University Response for Racial Equality at SMU

Exactly one month after the Black Unity Forum (BUF) submitted their action plan, combating lack of representation, opportunity and inclusion for Black members of the SMU community, President Turner presented the University’s response in an email yesterday evening.

In his email, Turner noted that “addressing racism experienced by our Black community is not just the right thing to do, it is a teachable moment that delivers on the promise of SMU’s education.”

Additionally, Turner stressed that University’s action plan will not just help the Black community, but all underrepresented minorities on campus.

The plan is the product of several meetings with various Black organizations on campus, including the Association of Black Students, the Black Law Students Association, the Black Faculty and Staff Association and the Black Alumni of SMU Board. These organizations make up the BUF.

The BUF’s original plan had 34 separate demands. The University’s action plan presents the status of each demand; an overview of the implementation strategy and/or proposed procedural adjustments; and the timeline for achieving progress that varies between long term and “effective immediately.”

The Association of Black Students submitted their own list of demands to the administration back in June.

“If you look at the original demand that ABS submitted, five out of 14 were touched on in the response,” Association of Black Students President Lexxi Clinton said.

Parts of the ABS demands such as Greek life, the Personal Responsibility and Wellness course, the separation of the Cultural Intelligence Initiative Advisory board and prioritization systems for campus events, were not addressed in the University’s plan.

“They are trying to reinvent the wheel,” Clinton said. “When not only did we give them concrete suggestions, but there’s already underfunded programs in place to achieve some of the goals they mention.”

Turner closed his email by acknowledging that the community’s collaborative work moving forward will make SMU a better place.

“I look forward to our future together,” Turner said.