Indiana Daily Student

IU Trustees discuss plan to improve diversity, inclusion in Friday meeting

<p>The newly renamed William Leon Garrett Fieldhouse is located at 1025 E. Seventh St. The building previously carried the name of segregationist Ora Wildermuth.</p>

The newly renamed William Leon Garrett Fieldhouse is located at 1025 E. Seventh St. The building previously carried the name of segregationist Ora Wildermuth.

The IU Board of Trustees approved new degrees, administration appointments and the renaming of the Intramural Center at its meeting Friday. Here are the highlights.

Diversity and inclusion

Trustee Quinn Buckner addressed the death of Chris Beaty, a former IU football player who was killed in the Indianapolis protests about two weeks ago. The board took a moment of silence to remember Beaty’s life. 

IU President Michael McRobbie read his President’s Report in which he addressed nationwide protests over George Floyd’s death and named five changes IU will make to increase diversity and inclusion.

“We must join together as a strong and vigorous educational community to be inclusive, supportive and welcoming to all,” McRobbie said.

African American and Hispanic communities have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, McRobbie said in his report. For this reason, IU will use $1 million to create the Pandemic Health Disparities Fund, which will provide public health programs for African American and Hispanic students' pandemic-related needs in the coming semester.

The Health Resources and Service Administration awarded the IU School of Medicine a grant to fund a program that will educate medical students about caring for disadvantaged communities.

IU faculty will have the opportunity to receive funding for racial equity and social justice research through the new Racial Justice Research Fund

McRobbie also said the university administration will reevaluate diversity policies relating to staff, students, faculty and the IU Police Department.

Lastly, the Board of Trustees approved renaming the Intramural Center. It is now called the William Leon Garrett Fieldhouse to honor William Leon Garrett, the first Black basketball player at IU and in the whole Big Ten. He started playing for IU in the late 1940s, a time when integrated sports teams were uncommon. The Intramural Center was named the Wildermuth Intramural Center after a former trustee, but the Board of Trustees removed the name in 2018 after reviewing Ora Wildermuth’s racist remarks in historical documents.

“Recent events in our country have demonstrated once again the awful weight that racial discrimination has placed on our citizens, and how that legacy can be perpetuated through those we choose to honor, in our public art, our icons, and the names we put on buildings,” McRobbie said.

IU will also review the names of other campus buildings and their namesakes’ history, McRobbie said.

New degrees

The board approved four new degrees. The Office of Online Education will offer the first three degrees, which are collaborative — a Bachelor of Science in data science at the IU Northwest campus, a Master of Arts for teachers in French at the IU-Purdue University Indianapolis and IU-East campuses and an educational specialist in educational leadership degree at the IU-East, IU-Kokomo and IU-Northwest campuses. The only fully online degree is the data science degree, according to an IU press release.

The board also approved a Master of Science in occupational therapy degree that will be offered at IU-South Bend.

Leadership appointments

Karen Ferguson Fuson, IU’s chief marketing officer and associate vice president for marketing and digital strategy, was approved as the new vice president for communications and marketing. She will begin in early July.

Rob Lowden, the executive associate dean and chief information officer for the IU School of Medicine, also received a new position. He will be the new vice president for information technology and chief information officer in early August.

Repair and rehabilitation plan

The board approved the Repair and Rehabilitation Plan for 2021, which uses students fees and state funds to repair elevators, utility systems, safety systems, roofing, outside building fixtures and more, according to the meeting agenda. It will also be used to update classrooms.

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