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TTU Racial Diversity Task Force To Make Report

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
TTU Racial Diversity Task Force To Make Report

Tennessee Tech’s racial diversity task force will present a first set of ideas to Tech President Phil Oldham this week.

Interim Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Robert Owens II said the task force is looking at diversity and inclusion on campus thoughtfully and strategically.

“One or two big bucket items that we could push forward this semester something that we could tangibly say, ‘hey, we’re doing this right now,’ Dr. Owens said. “So we’ve got that initial plan ready to deliver to the president.”

Owens said Oldham made it clear he wants immediate action on diversity and inclusion efforts.

“I think that’s one of the most important things in a situation like this is that your president is serious about the issue,” Owens said. “First of all, sees it, is serious about making the change and then is bold enough to put people in places to facilitate that process.”

The task force is made up of students, faculty, and alumni. Owens said the overarching message on campus is about opening up dialogue and having uncomfortable conversations about racial inequality as well as reducing issues students of color feel at TTU.

“We’ve got to mitigate racial tensions, micro-aggression that students of color do feel on our campus,” Dr. Owens said. “Some people would say, ‘well hey, it’s a great place, it’s great for everybody, students of color sometimes would beg to differ.”

Owens said Tennessee Tech is the least diverse public university in Tennessee. He said that can hinder students’ transition into the workforce.

“If we get a little bit more diversity on our campus that’s going to benefit everybody, that benefits majority students as well,” Owens said. “Who may find themselves working in a space when they graduate, working with people of color, working in a different country.”


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