Black Lives Matter

Diversity & Inclusion Update

As you know, we recently announced our commitment to taking concrete steps to foster a more inclusive campus culture, in which all members of our community feel welcomed and supported.

What we said then remains true today: Our actions will speak louder than our words. With that in mind, we have been working in recent weeks to follow through on our commitment.

View full update.

We Stand Together, and We Stand for One Another

In response to the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests and the history of racism in Louisiana and throughout the country, LSU is intensifying our ongoing work to foster a campus community that is not only inclusive but anti-racist. We will start by listening to and validating the experiences and perspectives of people of color and continue with self-education, fervent action, and transparent humility—until equitable responses to these issues are inherent in each of us.

Effective immediately, we are taking the following actions to address a platform of concerns that Black student leaders on campus have presented us:

  • Increase the ratio of minority professionals in every academic area.
  • Increase funding for minority programs and departments to positively affect the Black student experience.
  • Organize LSU resources specifically targeted towards minority students and workers dealing with mental health and trauma.
  • Address and correct issues of racism and discrimination on campus through the Student Code of Conduct and LSU Student Advocacy and Accountability.
  • Make timely statements condemning racism and injustice and implement policies clearly outlining the University’s standard of disapproval.
  • Include Black student representatives in University administration conversations that impact the student body.

View full message and plan details.

Roadmap to Diversity

The Office of Diversity’s 2020-22 Diversity & Inclusion Roadmap is divided into four subcategories that were the results of four separate subcommittees: campus climate, faculty, students, and staff. Each subcategories is comprised of a set of general recommendations. 

Student Platform

The Black Student Leaders' Platform contains six key areas that the LSU Black Student Leaders have addressed as priorities for the university.  

LSU Board of Supervisors Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion

  • Making inclusion a major part of strategic communications
  • Develop and Implement Annual Diversity Training
  • Increase community building opportunities for diverse students, faculty, and staff
  • Add section focused on diversity offerings to New Employee Orientation
  • Strengthen LSU’s existing position on diversity to reflect Anti-Racism

 

Dear LSU Community,

As you know, we recently announced our commitment to taking concrete steps to foster a more inclusive campus culture, in which all members of our community feel welcomed and supported.

What we said then remains true today: Our actions will speak louder than our words. With that in mind, we have been working in recent weeks to follow through on our commitment. Last week, members of our LSU administration, along with all of our college deans and a diverse group of students, faculty, staff, and alumni participated in a daylong Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity Leadership Retreat; one of several screenshots from our virtual retreat is included with this message.

In August 2019, we began creating our Diversity & Inclusion Roadmap 2020-2022 with a committee of faculty, staff, students and alumni. The roadmap was finalized in April, and nine breakout groups created at the retreat are now working on ways to bring the action items in the roadmap to fruition. In addition, they’re working to address the six key points of the Black Student Leaders’ Platform, as well as initiatives outlined in a recent message from LSU Board of Supervisor Chair Mary Werner and the LSU Board of Supervisors on their commitment to diversity and inclusion. You can find all these materials at lsu.edu/together.

This work will continue through the coming academic year, with a focus on identifying deliverables and implementing actions in a timely manner. I am confident this work will help strengthen our LSU Family, and create a more inclusive and equitable environment on our campus. I will keep you updated on our continued efforts on these important action items, and I look forward to working with you to build a brighter future for our great university.

Sincerely, 

Thomas C. Galligan, Jr.
LSU Interim President and Professor of Law

Dear LSU Family,

Last night, we held a summit with a fantastic group of Black student leaders that culminated a week of eye-opening conversations to determine concrete steps our university can take to address inequities on campus to become a more inclusive and diverse culture. We have listened, and now it’s time for LSU to prove its commitment.

The actions we’re outlining today will not immediately solve every issue we need to address. Thus, we have committed to ongoing conversations so that we continue to make progress. As we move forward, mistakes will surely be made. However, if we continue to work together in a spirit of collaboration, we are confident our mistakes will lead to continued forward progress.

Effective immediately, we are taking the following actions to address a platform of concerns that Black student leaders on campus have presented us:

Increase the ratio of minority professionals in every academic area.

To achieve this in the short-term, we will increase and energize our existing Opportunity Hire initiative through the Office of Diversity. In the mid-term, we will deploy block hires as outlined in the University’s Roadmap to Diversity & Inclusion, and in the long-term we will develop a stronger pipeline to recruit students of color into academic careers and expand academic mentorship and retention.

Increase funding for minority programs and departments to positively affect the Black student experience.

In the short term, we have identified fundraising opportunities to support the African American Cultural Center— please consider giving at http://give.lsufoundation.org/aacc. In the mid-term, we’ll study the type of activities and programming that contribute most directly to Black student recruitment, retention, and engagement. And in the long-term, LSU will work to build seed funding and a development pipeline for these activities and programming.

Organize LSU resources specifically targeted towards minority students and workers dealing with mental health and trauma.

In the short-term, we’ll engage with students to explore building a mental health hotline or other forms of more immediate access to mental health. In the long-term we will work to increase the presence of Black and minority medical professionals on campus.

Address and correct issues of racism and discrimination on campus through the Student Code of Conduct and LSU Student Advocacy and Accountability.

In the short-term, we will explore new ways to bolster our Student Code of Conduct by adding specific language regarding diversity, racism and prejudice. In the mid-term, we’ll make the adjudication process more transparent through open communications. And in the long-term, we’ll conduct a policy audit to ensure that inclusion, diversity and anti-racism are appropriately embedded.

Make timely statements condemning racism and injustice and implement policies clearly outlining the University’s standard of disapproval.

LSU will publicly express condemnation of racism and racist behavior and continuing to investigate every instance of racism reported to us, pursuing the appropriate action through our Code of Conduct and any other policy or code available to us.

Include Black student representatives in University administration conversations that impact the student body.

In the short-term, the administration will continue to meet often with Black student leaders. These meetings will occur at least on a quarterly basis and more often as needed. We also commit to including diverse representation on executive searches and to providing diversity training for all search committees. 

We are also taking the following steps to further ensure that our campus community is inclusive and welcoming to all. We commit to: 

  1. Making inclusion a major part of university communications;
  2. Developing and implementing improved annual diversity training;
  3. Increasing community building opportunities for diverse students, faculty, and staff;
  4. Adding diversity offerings to New Employee Orientation; and
  5. Strengthening LSU’s position on diversity to reflect anti-racism.

Additionally, at the LSU Board of Supervisors meeting on June 19 we will consider a motion to remove the name Troy H. Middleton from LSU’s library. The library is a place where our students of color should feel welcome and safe as they study, learn, and congregate with their peers. Building and place names should not be a reminder of a racist past, reminders that inhibit our students’ learning and their full inclusion on campus. Our history is stained with racism; we must eradicate the present impact of that sad past. We will also convene a committee to review and study other building names on campus to determine if they are symbols or monuments to racism.

Today is a new beginning of our work to foster an inclusive campus community welcoming to all. We have made incredible strides in recent years to increase and promote diversity at LSU, but there’s a lot more work to be done. The actions we’re announcing today will further our efforts, but they won’t be the end of them.

We appreciate the candor and commitment of our outstanding Black student leaders, and we thank them for their work to bring our great university into a new day. We will continue our conversations with Black student leaders, our Black Faculty and Staff Caucus, and other representatives of under-represented communities in our LSU Family. Together we will take actions to eliminate inequality, racism, and other barriers that any members of our LSU community face. Diversity and inclusion are fundamental to LSU's mission, and our university is committed to creating and maintaining a living and learning environment that not only embraces individual difference but thrives because of it.

Sincerely, 

Thomas C. Galligan, Jr.
LSU Interim President and Professor of Law

Mary L. Werner
LSU Board of Supervisors Chair

 

The tragic events that have transpired in recent weeks have further illuminated a spotlight on the racial divide that exists in our nation. Brutal and often senseless scenes have unfolded, highlighted by what was witnessed in Minneapolis last week. The cry for justice has been immediate and witnessed throughout the country. Louisiana State University stands with those who want a more just and humane society. We do so with civility, with compassion, and with a desire to seek understanding.

The physical distancing that resulted from our collective need to respond to the worldwide pandemic has not removed our social connectedness. We remain intricately linked one to another through our academic enterprise. Our common pursuit of knowledge can never exist in a vacuum. This is witnessed by our constant need to explore new concepts, new ideas, and new perspectives in an engaging and interactive learning community. This interactive community is one that is undergirded with increased diversity and inclusion.

We, the administrators and leaders of LSU, are firmly committed to the full respect of all members of our community. We will work to eliminate barriers that any members of our community experience. Ours is an inclusive community that is welcoming and supportive of all students, faculty, staff and guests. Diversity is fundamental to LSU's mission and the university is committed to creating and maintaining a living and learning environment that embraces individual difference.

As we navigate the intersection of this health pandemic and racial divide, we do so much like our championship football team did this past season. We do so as “One LSU, One Heartbeat!” As many of us celebrated that decorated season, we witnessed the rich diversity that was on the field and in the stands. We came together in our differences and were victorious. Once again, in this most difficult time, we stand together and we stand for one another. We must do so as we fully understand what Dr. King admonished, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Sincerely,

Thomas Galligan, Interim President 
Stacia Haynie, Executive Vice President & Provost 
Daniel Layzell, Executive Vice President for Finance & Administration/Chief Financial Officer 
Scott Woodward, LSU Athletics Director 
Winston G. DeCuir, Jr., Vice President of Legal Affairs and General Counsel 
William B. Richardson, LSU Agricultural Center Vice President for Agriculture and Dean 
Jim Sabourin, Vice President for Strategic Communications 
Jane Cassidy, Senior Vice Provost, Office of Academic Affairs 
Jose Aviles, Vice President, Enrollment Management 
Samuel Bentley, Vice President, Office of Research & Economic Development 
Matt Lee, Vice Provost, Academic Programs and Support Services, Office of Academic Affairs 
Dereck Rovaris, Sr., Vice Provost for Diversity, Chief Diversity Officer, Office of Diversity 
Jeremiah Shinn, Vice President, Division of Student Affairs 
Thomas Smith, Vice Provost and Associate Vice President, Office of Finance & Administration 
Alexandera Thackaberry, Vice President, LSU Online and Continuing Education 
Isiah Warner, Vice President for Strategic Initiatives 
Troy Blanchard, Dean, College of Humanities & Social Sciences 
Joel Baines, Dean, School of Veterinary Medicine 
Christopher D’Elia, Dean, College of the Coast & Environment 
Jonathan Earle, Dean, Roger Hadfield Ogden Honors College 
Martin Johnson, Dean, Manship School of Mass Communication 
Lee Ann Lockridge, Interim Dean, Paul M. Hebert Law Center 
Roland Mitchell, Dean, College of Human Science & Education 
Cynthia Peterson, Dean, College of Science 
Todd Queen, Dean, College of Music & Dramatic Arts 
Malcolm Richardson, Interim Dean, Graduate School 
Alkis Tsolakis, Dean, College of Art & Design 
Richard White, Dean, E. J. Ourso College of Business 
Stanley Wilder, Dean, LSU Libraries 
Mary Julia Wornat, Dean, College of Engineering 

In recent days, we have been made aware of derogatory and racist social media posts by current students, incoming freshman or other members of the campus community.

To be clear, we at LSU condemn hate and bigotry in any form, including racially incendiary remarks. As a state university, however, we are subject to constitutional limitation on our ability to take action in response to free speech. That means the freedoms that allow for the current meaningful and poignant protest also protect speech that we may find repulsive and offensive.

But just because people have the right to say something doesn’t mean they should. Racist statements are hateful, inflammatory and harmful to everyone. They only serve to tear down the bridges that the overwhelming majority of us in society want to build.

Although we can’t comment on individual complaints, let it be known that conduct by a member of the LSU community that is found in violation of our policies will be addressed. Let it also be known that LSU denounces racist speech. We stand together for equality and justice, and we condemn racism in any form.