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University appears stalled on its creation of an ‘Anti-Racism Institute’

Has not stopped university president from talking about it in her bio

Shippensburg University appears to be stalled on the creation of its Anti-Racism Institute eight months after it first announced the new program.

The public university in Pennsylvania first announced the institute in September 2020 and at the time the university told The College Fix that it would circle back with further information on the budget and metrics.

Megan Silverstrim, a spokesperson for the university, told The Fix at the time that “the work is just beginning on developing the institute” and information such as budgets “will be made public and I can reach back out with you to share them.”

The College Fix has not received any response to multiple requests for comments sent in the past two months nor has a review of the university’s website and news releases yielded any further information.

The Fix asked Jamonn Campbell, one of the directors of the institute, for an update on the project.

Campbell said he would share the questions with the media team. The College Fix asked for the budget for the institute and what it planned to accomplish in the upcoming fall semester.

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The Fix reached out to the Shippensburg media team them if there were any new updates for the upcoming Fall semester, but did not receive a response to two separate requests sent in the past two months.

None of the other directors responded to emailed requests for comment on the institute’s plans.

Alison Dagnes, Diane Jefferson and Stephanie Jirard did not respond to media inquiries. Neither did Laurie Carter, the president of the university.

The College Fix reviewed media releases for Shippensburg but only found two references to the institute beyond coverage of the initial announcement.

One is from a February Black History Month message from Carter where she highlighted the formation of the anti-racism center as an example of the university’s work to combat racism.

Another one is from a March announcement about an International Women’s Day seminar that included Carter. Her bio said that she helped develop “new programming including a State-wide Black Male Symposium and an Anti-Racism Institute.”

University president boasted about work on project

Carter, who is leaving Shippensburg for the same job at Lawrence University, highlighted her role in creating the anti-racism center as an accomplishment in an email to the university community, according to campus paper The Slate.

The private university in Wisconsin talked about Carter’s work on racial issues in its announcement, including that the new president “created an Anti-Racism Institute to foster racial understanding.”

The College Fix reached out to Lawrence University’s listed general media relations email on May 17 for information about Carter’s role at the institute and what she shared with university officials about it.

However, the Wisconsin university declined to answer questions from The Fix.

“Nothing to share here at Lawrence,” Ed Berthiaume, a spokesperson for the school, told The Fix via email. “Any insights/updates would need to come from Shippensburg.”

MORE: Anti-racism movements make it harder to root out real racism: op-ed

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About the Author
Jessica Custodio -- State University of New York-Duchess