The consortium, consisting of four higher education institutions in the St. Petersburg area, wants to implement an action plan to dismantle racial hierarchies.
In an effort to develop a plan of action to break down racial hierarchies on college campuses, representatives from four universities in the St. Petersburg area, including the USF St. Pete campus, are forming a consortium to address racial differences.
USF St. Pete Campus Regional Chancellor Martin Tadlock said the goal of the consortium, which includes Eckerd College, Stetson University College of Law, and St. Petersburg College, is to give students and faculty a sense of the world Learning and understanding about recognizing racists to instill tendencies and support for People of Color.
“Our goal as a partner in this consortium is to ensure that all of our students, faculty and staff are able to understand the racial issues that exist in this community and to be anti-racist,” said Tadlock. “[Students will have] many opportunities to further your education through a variety of workshops and seminars and to get involved in the community. “
To make this plan a reality, a team of three representatives from each university will attend a four-day summer institute from June 22-25, which Tadlock says is sponsored by the American Association of Colleges and Universities.
The institute will develop an action plan to address these issues, as well as bring together teams from other universities to share ideas on different strategies to tackle racial inequality.
“The Summer Institute will give these task force representatives the opportunity to really decide what this consortium-based center will look like for St. Petersburg,” said Tadlock. “We will discuss what the goals will be, what the staff will need to move it forward and what the financial support will be to make it sustainable.”
According to Judith Scully, co-founder of the Stetson Social Justice Advocacy Certificate program and co-chair of the Florida Law, the Summer Institute also provides an opportunity for representatives to learn more about and use the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) framework School Consortium for Racial Justice.
The framework consists of five pillars, including narrative change, racial healing and relationship building, separation, law, and economics.
“We hope to achieve a strategic plan to incorporate these five pillars into our program,” said Scully. “We understand what the pillars are, so the question now arises: ‘What will we actually do as a university consortium in our first year, our third year and our fifth year?’ and ‘How are we going to build on this framework to truly make a change in the way community members, students, faculty, and administrators interact on race-related issues?’ ”
The consortium holds bi-weekly meetings to discuss initial plans for the TRHT Summer Institute and to develop strategies for participating in workshops and action plans to be developed later this year.
“We meet biweekly as leaders and go through updates and relevant updates to re-share what each of our institutions is working on, and for now we are focused on preparing for the TRHT Summer Institute,” said Tashika Griffith, provost for St. Petersburg College Downtown and Midtown Center said.
“We met last Friday to talk to our mentors about strategies, which we will choose, which workshops we will attend, so that we can share and conquer, so to speak, so that we can collect as much information from the institute as possible . “
Robbyn Hopewell, director of media and public relations at Eckerd College, said the TRHT framework will provide opportunities for activist students at Eckerd College as well as passionate students from the other universities involved.
“Students will be better equipped to tackle the issues that worry them because they understand the story, where they came from, and where things may go in the future,” said Hopewell.
One change the consortium wants to address on campus is the full creation and implementation of Racial Healing Circles, which are meetings, the gather a diverse group of people in a respectful environment that encourages participants to share their stories in order to empower one another.
“We’ve seen it on college campuses across the country where colored students talked about the isolation they feel on college campuses,” Hopewell said.
“So when we give them the opportunity, the space, the opportunity to express themselves and share their stories and then hear the stories of their classmates and colleagues, it creates that deeper connection and relationship that makes them more part of the community. “
Another option for students that the consortium is establishing at its sites is a scholarship program for students in the field of racial justice. The program will provide internship opportunities for students to gain experience in this field, Griffith said.
“We hope to speak to the students to find out what they want, what they want to see, what their needs are, and turn them into really meaningful events and programs,” she said.
Griffith said there are big plans for the consortium to advance the work of breaking down racial hierarchies. She said that they are satisfied with the work they have done so far and are working more deliberately with students, faculty, and the community to move projects forward.
“We’re definitely proud of the work we’ve done so far, but there is still so much to do,” said Griffith. “We encourage all students to get more involved in community partners by asking questions, sharing their stories, and genuinely playing an active role in transforming the future.”