“Together We Will Make a Difference”
First Meeting of Racial Justice Task Force Outlines Plan for Equity
More than 100 faculty, staff, current students and alumni gathered online for the first meeting of Bentley’s new Racial Justice Task Force.
Co-chaired by Provost Donna Maria Blancero and Katie Lampley ‘96, the university’s first-ever chief diversity and inclusion officer, the task force was formed in June and charged with identifying and investigating practices at Bentley that sustain systemic racism.
“This is an important moment in the history of our university,” Blancero wrote in an email announcing the group’s formation. “Only by working together can we begin to heal the wounds of racism in our community and continue to transform the culture of Bentley into one that fully embraces and celebrates our Black and Brown students, alumni, faculty and staff.”
Members of the community who wanted to join the task force were asked to complete an online form. All who responded — more than 100 faculty, staff, students and alumni — were invited to serve. “We were heartened by the outpouring of interest and support,” Lampley says, noting that task force members “bring a wealth of knowledge, experience and perspective that will enrich our discussions and ultimately lead to more robust recommendations.”
An Effort to End Systemic Racism at Bentley
Task force members met for virtual kickoff sessions hosted by Blancero and Lampley on July 16 and 17. The co-chairs outlined the task force’s overarching goal — to identify and recommend changes to address systemic racial barriers to access, opportunity, treatment and advancement of students, faculty and staff. They also set out the task force's anticipated timeline.
Blancero and Lampley envision three major and concurrent phases for the group through December:
Phase One: Restoration and Education
Allowing space to acknowledge and process the impact of the current racial trauma in our society and educating ourselves and the community in preparation for the work to come.
Phase Two: Listening and Contextualizing
Engaging in active and shared inquiry into the sources of inequality on our campus through listening sessions with communities most impacted by racial inequality, as well as quantitative data gathering across all divisions.
Phase Three: Framing for the Future
Developing mechanisms to sustain the commitment to addressing racial inequality by identifying key areas for investment, developing a scorecard to monitor progress, and creating a toolkit to equip community members with a framework for equity-based decision making.
To ensure the effectiveness of the task force, the co-chairs announced the formation of a 15-member core team and four smaller committees — Assessment, Communications, Community Engagement and Racial Equity Tool Kit — tasked with engaging the broader community.
Join the Racial Justice Task Force for a Q&A Session on Aug. 10
“This is an opportunity for us to look at ourselves with a critical lens,” Blancero says. “We as a Bentley community can do better. And we must do better.”
“Being a predominantly white institution, it’s not enough for us to simply be allies of our Black and Brown students,” says Bobby Olejarczyk ‘23, an Economics-Finance major and Communications committee team lead. “Instead, we need to speak up when we hear even the slightest micro-aggression, initiate conversations that are difficult and uncomfortable, and advocate for equality in all aspects of life and learning at Bentley.”
Lampley notes that achieving true equity will require the commitment of the entire community. “The task force is only one mechanism for addressing systemic racism in our community,” she says. “For real, lasting change to occur, we must all actively work to identify any inequity that exists in the areas we influence and then take steps to address them. Together we can — and will — make a difference.”