Work groups formed to address issues for black students at UO

President Michael Schill and Vice President for Equity and Inclusion Yvette Alex-Assensoh have formed more than a dozen working groups to address each of the concerns raised by the Black Student Task Force, a group of concerned UO students.

The students provided a list of requests to the president and other university leaders in November following a rally on campus. The students’ activism is part of a larger racial justice movement occurring on college campuses nationwide.

The students’ requests focus on issues that include renaming campus buildings, increasing recruiting opportunities for black students and faculty, requiring multicultural courses and increasing services for black students on campus.

The administration will form 13 work groups that will review each request and provide recommendations to the administration on next steps. Schill asked Alex-Assensoh to lead the strategy and coordinate the university’s response.

Work has already begun to address the building renaming issue.

“The students have come to this administration with very clear concerns. Some we can address right away. Others will take more thought, resources and consideration. We look forward to appropriately consulting with others on campus to redress these issues,” Alex-Assensoh said. “The president has let the students know that their concerns are valid, we hear them and we are committed to taking swift, strategic and inclusive action.”

The 13 work groups will be led by members of the university’s senior leadership. Each group is instructed to engage appropriate campus and community members to help analyze issues and craft recommendations by Jan. 29.