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Western Michigan University introduces new initiatives to take action to advance racial justice

Western Michigan University Campus
Posted at 5:18 PM, Sep 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-23 17:18:25-04

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — A west Michigan university is taking action to advance racial justice on their campus and within the community.

Western Michigan University (WMU) announced two new initiatives aimed at dismantling systemic racism on their campus for students, faculty and staff.

"This idea is really building on something we have been working on on the campus for a long time," said the Western Michigan University President Dr. Edward Montgomery.

WMU introduced the two new initiatives, the first called the Mountaintop Initiatives: Continuing the Climb fund which invested $2 million out of their current fiscal year budget as a down payment to pursue social change.

"We realized we wanted to make a down payment for it. This is $2 million. It’s a good number of money. It by itself won’t solve the problem but it will get us started and keep us moving along the path," said Dr. Montgomery.

The second initiative introduced a Racial Justice Advisory Committee to identify issues of systemic racism and racial inequalities on the campus.

"The idea was let's get a broad representation of our campus to work together to start identifying things that we need to address and recommending ways in which we can address them," said the Western Michigan University Vice-President of Diversity and Inclusion Dr. Candy McCorkle.

While WMU realizes this isn't an issue that can be resolved overnight, they said they're up for the challenge to making theirs a more attractive campus.

"I think it is a challenge which is perfectly consistent with our values, our values of inclusion, our values that we want everyone to prosper free of hate and to reach their true potential," said Dr. Montgomery.

In addition, Western Michigan University had previously launched other initiatives including a police implicit bias training and a professional development institute building cultural competencies.