North Central College’s Athletic Department released a statement July 1 on its plans to become more diverse and inclusive. In light of racial unrest around the country, in addition to a recent first-person account from a Black former North Central student-athlete documenting her experience on campus, the college is taking steps to address the issue.
Our Black student athletes highlighted the fundamental truths of racism and racial inequities in our country, and we made them feel unsupported and isolated. Additionally, the feedback we received on social media, emails and other communication further informed us that we were complacent about the climate experienced by our Black student athletes. Each of us in the Athletics Department is truly sorry. Our Black student athletes deserved much better from us, and we now have a distinct responsibility to do the work required to create authentic change.
North Central Athletic Department’s Plan
The statement originated from the desk of Martin Sauer, North Central’s Vice President for Enrollment Management and Athletics. Along with Jim Miller, Athletic Director, Sue Kane, Associate Athletic Director, and James Kluckhohn, Assistant Athletic Director, Sauer outlined the initiative North Central will be making.
We are creating an Athletics Diversity Council, consisting of students, coaches, staff, alumni, and faculty that will help provide guidance and perspective along with establishing goals and benchmarks to mark our collective progress. Additionally, the Athletics Diversity Council will work closely with the College’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force. We will announce the ADC membership and charge no later than August 10.
The ADC, in conjunction with the DEI Task Force and the Office of Multicultural Affairs, will help plan and host forums on racism in society and athletics to provide a deeper understanding of Black history and experiences in our culture, and to engage student athletes, coaches, and administrators in meaningful dialogue. The Athletics Department and I welcome the opportunity to host these forums. We will announce a schedule for the fall semester no later than September 1.
We are making a commitment to further diversifying our staff to include more Black coaches, assistant coaches and other athletics staff. In doing so, we will seek guidance from the ADC and the DEI Task Force to identify and change systemic barriers in our recruitment and hiring practices, and we will train our search committees on preventing implicit bias in the hiring process.
Our Athletics Department, including student athletes, coaches, staff, and administrators, will participate in extensive anti-racism and allyship training. We are committed to this training as a department, and will share more details later this summer.
Please look for our new “Be the Change” social-media campaign this fall, which aims to give our student athletes, as well as coaches, administrators, staff members, and teams, the opportunity to share their own commitment to being anti-racist.
President Troy Hammond’s Message
In addition to the initiatives listed above, North Central President Troy Hammond has written a message on the College’s website with a link to an open form, which allows the campus community to anonymously submit their feedback on the issue.
Kevin Jackman reporting for Naperville News 17
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