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Racial Justice Task Force

Bentley Campus

Racial Justice Task Force

About the Task Force

The Racial Justice Task Force was created in the wake of the Black Lives Matter Protests stemming from the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. The Task Force was charged with creating recommendations for Bentley University to implement to create a more equitable, anti-racist campus.

In the Spring of 2021, the Racial Justice Task Force released their final discovery document. We encourage you to engage with the document, and to continue your commitment to making Bentley an anti-racist community.

Racial Justice Task Force Discovery Document

The Racial Justice Task Force shared the results of Bentley's collective change process and the resources we hope will guide the path forward to racial justice and equity at Bentley. Included in the release were three main deliverables from the work of the Task Force over the past several months: the Discovery Document, the Racial Equity Tool Kit, and the Inclusive Excellence Dashboard, all of which will support our efforts in creating lasting systemic improvements. 

Read the Discovery Document

students walking across campus

Past Updates

Week of July 27
  • Both the larger Task Force and Core Committee held their first meetings.
  • Committees are being formed, and initial meetings will be held next week.
  • The date has been set for our first Q&A session with the Task Force: August 10, 4-5 pm.
  • The next meeting of the full Task Force has been scheduled for August 12.
Week of August 10
  • Katie Penn '96, RJTF co-chair, was named Bentley's first official Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer and member of the President's Cabinet. More details on her appointment can be found online.
  • The Bentley Board of Trustees unanimously voted to create a new standing committee of the board on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
  • The Cabinet announced its first set of strategic initiatives that will guide our next steps on racial justice at Bentley. Those initiatives are explained in greater detail here.
  • The first official communication from the Task Force was sent, providing updates on the structure and approach, communication, and upcoming events.
Week of August 17
  • Co-Chairs, Katie Penn and Donna Maria Blancero, held the first community Q&A session.
  • Following that was the second meeting of the 100-person Racial Justice Task Force.
  • All four committees have held their initial meetings and work is underway.
Week of August 24
  • Planning for community engagement events are underway, and registration will be posted soon.
  • Task Force meetings have been scheduled through the end of the fall semester.
  • The Assessment committee began collecting data from a variety of offices on campus, and are underway in reviewing models for external dashboards.
  • The Toolkit committee is exploring resources and frameworks that will enable us to examine Bentley's systems.
Week of August 31
  • The Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Division of Human Resources announced their partnership to support our shared commitment to inclusive excellence by embedding it in our performance conversations. 
  • The Task Force launched the Racial Healing Practice Challenge.
  • Committees continued to meet and develop plans for the fall semester.
Week of September 7
  • Black at Bentley released their list of demands, which the Cabinet is currently reviewing.
  • Registration is underway for the Racial Healing Practice Challenge.
  • The second campus update was sent to the Bentley community.
  • Expanded the content posted to the Racial Justice Task Force website in an effort to achieve our goal of transparency across the community.
Week of September 14
  • Launched the first theme for the Racial Healing Practice Challenge. There are over 250 participants across the community.
  • Announced the first, in a semester long series of events, Fireside Chat, hosted by the Task Force, Valente Center for Arts & Sciences, and the Bentley Trading Room. The Fireside Chat will be hosted via Zoom on September 29 and will feature a 20-minute address from Nick Noel, Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company, followed by a 20-minute conversation with Dr. Jahangir Sultan and an open Q&A to close the program.
Week of October 1
  • Launched the second theme for the Racial Healing Practice Challenge. There are over 250 participants across the community.
  • Announced a second event hosted by the Valente Center for Arts & Sciences and the Department of English and Media Studies. The event is titled: Conversation with Anne Rawls and Waverly Duck on Tacit Racism: a Clear and Present Danger, and will take place on Tuesday, October 13, from 2 - 3:30 p.m. Register for the event here.
  • Announced the first event of a community dialogue series titled "Big Questions for Bentley" hosted by the Racial Justice Task Force. These programs will bring together students, alumni, faculty and staff to openly and bravely examine and uncover the ways in which race is discussed and enacted in our community. The first event will take place on October 21, and you can register here.
Week of October 8
Week of October 15
  • Launched the third theme for the Racial Healing Practice Challenge.
  • Hosted the next full Racial Justice Task Force meeting.
  • Prepared to host the first "Big Questions for Bentley" event within the community dialogue series. The first event will be held on Wednesday, October 21.
  • Began a draft for the Racial Justice Tool Kit.
  • Began conversations with the Assessment committee about how to best host and communicate the equity data dashboard.
  • Continued to promote events happening Beyond the Task Force including faculty departments reviewing curriculum and pedagogy, and Community Conversations hosted by SGA and other student groups.
Week of October 22
  • Concluded the third theme for the Racial Healing Practice Challenge.
  • Hosted the first "Big Questions" event. We will be hosting two more events in the series next month. Register here.
  • Began to discuss with the Core Team how we will form recommendations for the community at the end of the semester.
  • Continued to promote events happening Beyond the Task Force including the Rainbow Lunch and events in line with the Office of Sustainability's fall trimester theme: Environmental Racism. 
Week of October 29
  • Prepared for two events happening in early November: Big Questions #2 and Let's Talk About Environmental Justice with Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr.
  • Continued to promote events happening Beyond the Task Force including the Department of Global Studies' conversation with Dr. Khalilah L. Brown-Dean from Quinnipiac University, in which they discussed "Race and the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election".
Week of November 5
  • Sent the fourth campus update to the Bentley community.
  • Hosted the second Big Questions event. The final event in the series will occur Monday, November 16. Register here.
  • Concluded the fourth and final theme in the Racial Healing Practice Challenge.
  • Entered the final phase of our work together as a Task Force: Framing for the Future.
Week of November 20
  • Sent the fifth campus update to the Bentley community.
  • Hosted the third and final Big Questions event.
  • Concluded the Racial Healing Practice Challenge with a community Reflection Event.
  • Continued to work towards the final phase of our work together as a Task Force: Framing for the Future.

View Event Recordings

Read Community Reflections

All updates sent to the community are also posted on our website.

The creation of the Racial Justice Task Force proves our continued commitment to making Bentley a better, anti-racist university.

Learn more about our goals, approach, phases, and definitions of key terms that will define our work moving forward.

Racial Justice Task Force Co-Chairs

katie Penn
Katie Penn
Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer

Bentley Magazine featured a conversation with the task force co-chairs.

Racial Justice Task Force Core Team

Matthew Banks - Staff 

Tasia Kearse - Staff 

Bobby Olejarczyk - Student 
Clifton Chow - Staff  Erin Kelley - Staff  Victor Pacheco - Alumni
Suzanne Dove - Staff  Noah Kilgerman - Alumni Kiana Pierre-Louis - Faculty 
Otgo Erhemjamts - Faculty  Anjela Maravilla - Student  Lindsay Rauch - Staff 
Myriam Imessaoudene - Student Michael McCorvey - Staff   

Task Force Members

More than 100 faculty, staff, students, and alumni have agreed to take part in moving this effort forward. We know that together, the group brings a wealth of knowledge, experience, and perspective that will enrich discussions and ultimately lead to more robust recommendations for the future of our community.

The group has been divided into four committees in order to appropriately address our top priorities:

  1. Assessment
  2. Community Engagement
  3. Communications
  4. Racial Equity Tool Kit

The Task Force eagerly seeks anonymous feedback from the entire community.

Our Goal

The goal of the RJTF is to identify and recommend changes to address systemic racial barriers to access, opportunity, treatment and advancement of students, faculty, and staff. This will be executed in learning and professional development to allow full participation and to achieve equitable outcomes for all racial groups across every level of the University. ​

Recommendations will be aimed at disrupting existing patterns of racial inequity by replacing systemic discriminatory practices with equity-based decision making. ​

Our Approach

Three Phases of Our Work Together

Restoration and Education

Allowing space to acknowledge and process the impact of the current racial trauma in our society.​

Educating ourselves and the community in preparation for the work to come.

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. 

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 with a framework for equity-based decision making.

What You Can Expect

As a group, we intend to keep the community informed as to the work we are doing, insights we have uncovered, and action plans for the future. On this website you will find:

  • Updates from our Four Committees
  • Educational Resources
  • Upcoming Events
  • Relevant Data
  • Stories from Community Members
  • Opportunities for Feedback

Beyond the Task Force

We are proud to see efforts initiated across campus to address systemic racism beyond the work of the Task Force. See examples below highlighting additional campus activity that is occurring organically at the department level.

Residential Center Releases Racial Justice Action Plan

Bentley's Residential Center released their Racial Justice Action Plan on September 12.

Read their Plan

Membership with the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity

Bentley is now an institutional member of the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity (NCFDD). Despite the name, this center offers an array of resources for both faculty and staff. With our institutional membership, all faculty, staff, postdocs, and doctoral students at Bentley now have access to the following resources: weekly Monday Motivator, monthly webinars with guest experts, access to multi-week courses, access to Dissertation Success Curriculum for doctoral students, private discussion forum for peer-mentoring, problem-solving, and moderated writing challenge, monthly accountability buddy matches, access to 14-day writing challenges, and access to the Member Library that includes past webinar materials, referrals, and readings.

Columnas Honors Program Newsletter

The Student Honors Council published a special summer edition of Columnas “to respond to the current protests, educate individuals on the Black Lives Matter movement, discuss diversity at Bentley, examine Bentley’s response to the protests and BLM and provide an outlet for students of color on campus so they can continue to have their voices heard.” To that end, the Chief Editors Asimina Morris (’21) and Alyssa Kastner (’20) invited students of color to write about their experiences and feelings about the current situation the United States is experiencing. 

Read the special edition


Cabinet's Strategic Initiatives

Led by members of the President's Cabinet, the university is working to enact 18 strategic initiatives to overturn policies, practices and structures that enable systemic racism on our campus. From developing new inclusive pedagogical strategies for the classroom to analyzing the diversity of our university suppliers and to creating implicit bias training for our police officers, these initiatives include proposals from every division of the university. 

Click below to read updates on their progress.

Read the initiatives


The Office of Diversity and Inclusion supports the university's commitment to develop goals and programs that will transform the culture of Bentley.

Reflective Exercise: The Language of Equity and Justice

An important part of our work is to encourage conversations about racial justice to perpetuate across campus. As the Task Force continues to uncover and address issues of systemic racism on campus, we invite you and your peers to read Language of Appeasement and engage in the following exercise:

diversity inclusion slide


Reflect on the following questions:

  • ​What stands out to you about this framing? ​

  • What language do you think is most common in discussions about change at Bentley? Can you think of any examples?

What did you discover about our approach or language in your conversations?

The first meeting of the Racial Justice Task Force outlines plan for equity

 Laurie Moynihan
A quote from Martin Luther King, Jr., ”The time is always right to do what is right.”, is always top of my mind. It’s just so simple. So when the opportunity came up to join the task force that was my time to do what was right. I am thankful to have the opportunity to learn more about the issues, to learn how to do my part in “righting” those issues, and, most importantly to me, to teach my children to understand and to be part of the solution going forward.
Laurie Moynihan
Sr. Administrative Assistant, Office of the President




dr ibram x kendi

According to Dr. Ibram X Kendi, "The opposite of racist isn't 'not racist.' It is 'antiracist.' What's the difference? One endorses either the idea of racial hierarchy as a racist or racial equality as an antiracist. One either believes problems are rooted in groups of people, as a racist or locates the roots of problems in power and policies, as an antiracist. One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an antiracist. There is no in-between safe space of 'not racist."

Suggested Reading

Archived Suggested Reading

Data Points

In an effort to be transparent with our community, this section will be regularly updated with new data points that we've uncovered through our assessments. Furthermore, the data we find will inform our work and expose where Bentley can, and will, make improvements.

Explore below data that reports Bentley's current racial profile.

Learn More 

We invite your suggestions related to combating systemic racism on our campus.

We want your ideas. We need your ideas.