Yellow Robe Joins UNL Anti-Racism Effort

Updated: Mar 30

August 7, 2020 University of Nebraska-Lincoln News Article

Image courtesy of Greg Nathan / University Communications

A new voice has joined the leaders providing guidance into the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s journey toward addressing anti-racism and racial equity.

The group, announced in a July 7 message from Chancellor Ronnie Green, has expanded to include Colette M. Yellow Robe, a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe and academic retention specialist for TRIO Programs.

The journey, launched in a June 5 message from Green, is part of the university’s continued pursuit of racial justice and aligned with the national call for an end to systematic racism. It is being led by Green with guidance provided by co-leaders whose research, creative activity and engagement are focused in areas related to racial equity. The co-leaders are supported by Marco Barker, vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion, and his staff in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

These efforts will be informed by the Council on Inclusive Excellence and Diversity, diversity commissions, and departments, offices and centers that scholarship and projects address intersections of race, identity and culture.

Along with Yellow Robe, other members of the co-leader group are:

  • Lory J. Dance, associate professor of sociology and ethnic studies;

  • Kwame Dawes, Chancellor’s Professor of English, Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner;

  • Anna W. Shavers, Cline Williams Professor of Citizenship Law and associate dean for diversity and inclusion;

  • Kara Mitchell Viesca, associate professor of teaching, learning, and teacher education; and

  • Sergio C. Wals, associate professor of political science and ethnic studies.

The co-leaders are reviewing a series of action steps identified by Green and identifying models to approach the work. The action steps outlined by Green include:

  • Examine how our current core curriculum addresses diversity with a keen focus on race, privilege, and power.

  • Develop a clearer and more transparent process for addressing climate issues that may impede an individual’s participation in our UNL community based on their identity.

  • Establish co-director faculty leadership roles in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to work with the Office of Academic Affairs and academic colleges on faculty diversity recruitment, retention, and development. This will work in concert with staff recruitment and retention efforts.

  • As suggested by those who participated in our CEO Action sessions, initiate a culture of self-reflection and learning through a Chancellor’s reading program focused on race and identity each academic semester, beginning with the upcoming fall 2020 term.

  • Commit to studying and addressing systemic issues and institutional policies. This will include developing a process to review the honorific naming of buildings and structures on our campus, as well as our approaches to community policing and UNLPD relationships as committed to by University Police Chief Hassan Ramzah.

  • Hold our University leadership team at the Chancellor’s Cabinet and Expanded Deans Council level accountable for developing anti-racist and inclusive excellence strategies.

“These actions are the first steps of what I anticipate as multiple steps in addressing racial equity in our institution and the many concerns expressed by members of our campus community,” Green said. “We have more work to do, and are committed to that work. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion will support me in monitoring and tracking our progress with these and future efforts.”

Learn more about diversity and inclusion at Nebraska.

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