Franklin College shares new plan for diversity and inclusion
'This is a mission to be shared by the entire community,' Prather writes in email to students
By Morgan Bryant
Franklin College President Kerry Prather announced Friday a new, comprehensive plan for promoting equity and inclusion on campus after meeting with Black leaders in recent months.
In an email to students, Prather said discussions for the plan began when he and Dean of Students Andrew Jones met with Black Student Union last spring. It was there the union voiced a need for campus wide efforts at every level to make Franklin College a safe and encouraging learning environment for Black students.
These conversations continued through the summer, which saw renewed conversations around racial justice after several Black men and women were killed in encounters with police. Their deaths sparked protests around the country and new demands for police reform.
The new plan at Franklin College draws on help from several actors on campus, with Prather noting it would be “unfair and unwise” for the existing Center for Diversity and Inclusion and its limited staff to shoulder all the responsibility.
“This is a mission to be shared by the entire community if Franklin College is to become the institution we all want it to be and our Black students deserve,” Prather said.
Prather and members of the president’s cabinet collaborated to compile a list of objectives available for students to view and consider when holding the college to account for how it addresses equity and inclusion. Each of these objectives are available on the college’s website.
The page breaks down the plan into eight categories: Office of the President, PCDI, Student Development, Academic Affairs, Development and Alumni Engagement, Business and Finance, Enrollment, and Athletics.
Included on the page with an outline for changes being made this academic year are resources for students to educate themselves on how to be a better ally and friend to the Black community as well as resources on how to actively be antiracist.
Prather noted that the list is intended to change as new issues come to light and will continue to be guided by the students it affects. He said an advisory group of Black students as well as the President’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion will have monthly meetings to discuss progress and any changes that need to be made.
“Franklin College will indeed be the very special institution we describe with justifiable pride only when it is so for every single member of the campus community,” Prather said.
Beyond campus, Prather said Black students also need to feel safe in the surrounding area of Franklin. Mayor Steve Barnett is partnering with the college to make that possible, Prather said.
An ad is set to run in the local newspaper, The Daily Journal, on Aug. 29. The ad pledges open ears for minority populations in Franklin as well as a dedication to acting in their interest in the community. The ad is signed by Prather, Barnett and Franklin Community Schools Superintendent Dr. David Clendening.