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Temple devotes $1M-plus to create anti-racism center, hire more African American studies faculty

As racial conversations, protests and riots began erupting around the country, some colleges and universities decided to take their campus to new levels with conversations on race. Temple University joined the initiative and created an “Anti-Racism Education and Training” initiative.

The university will add four more faculty members to their Department of Africology and African American Studies in addition to creating a “Center for Anti-Racism Research,” according to a university news release.

The Philadelphia-based public university will invest more than $1 million into the efforts and more, officials state.

Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Harrison said in an email interview with The College Fix that Temple has worked to fight against racial inequality in the past, but recent events, including the Black Lives Matter protests, have caused campus leaders to want to take things further.

“The current moment provides us with an opportunity to amplify and accelerate our work,” Harrison said. “The inspiration for the initiative was the expressed intent of Temple’s leadership and the desire of its students, faculty, staff and alumni for Temple to be a leader in anti-racism education and practices.”

According to Harrison, when fighting racial inequality at Temple, the university focuses on three core issues: education, jobs and healthcare.

She said these values help get to the root of racism by looking at quality of life and poverty issues. In addition, they look for areas where educational opportunities are lacking as well as healthcare issues in those communities, she said.

When asked if the university stands with the Black Lives Matter movement or just African Americans as a whole, Harrison replied: “Temple stands against racism and racial injustice and supports racial equity.”

She said Temple’s main priority is education since it is a university, however, campus leaders wanted to take the opportunity to offer awareness to racial issues in the country.

“As an educational institution, Temple is naturally and primarily focused on education,” Harrison said. “In this season we have seen a desire and motivation from a broad range of people for a greater level of awareness — to move from a general awareness of racism to an understanding of how racism still operates in the lives of Black people today and then equipped with that knowledge to work on effective solutions. Our institutional diversity arm has responded to that need.”

According to an article in Temple Now, the university is seeing its largest class of African American and Latinx students to attend the school since Temple’s beginning, with more than 40 percent of students making up these groups.

Harrison said the Center for Anti-Racism Research will see collaboration with not just Temple faculty and staff.

“The Center for Anti-Racism Research will not offer courses or events,” Harrison said. “Rather, it will be the focal point of the university’s solutions-focused research in this area and home for collaboration among scholars both inside and outside of Temple. The faculty will work on designing the specific elements of the center.”

MORE: Penn State announces $1 million in antiracism research grants

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About the Author
Brittany Slaughter -- Liberty University