ALLIANCE, OH- On November 17, 2022, The American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) announced the University of Mount Union as one of 14 universities in the United States and one of two in Ohio to host a Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) Campus Center.
Dawn Adams, director of international student services in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion stated that the process to have a TRHT campus center began at an Initiative Steering Committee faculty meeting led by Dr. Michelle Collins-Sibley in 2021. To mitigate racism and expand diversity on campus while providing racial healing, Adams and Ron Holden, assistant dean and director of diversity and inclusion worked with a committee made up of Dr. Kristine Still, founding dean of the College of Applied and Social Sciences, Dr. Shehla Arif, associate professor of mechanical engineering, Mark Black, chief diversity officer, Caitlin Clark, director of enrollment services, Dr. Aaron Howell, assistant professor of sociology, Kim Stanley from the Alliance Community Domestic Shelter and Christian Ball from the Stark County’s Prosecuter’s Office.
“When we attended the AAC&U institution, everyone that was working on an action plan for their university met virtually Monday through Friday,” said Adams. “It was interesting that in each breakout session, the topic of race or racism was never brought up.”
Adams explained that instead of speaking about racism, members at the institution agreed that communication is vital in intercultural conversations and discussed ways that the campus centers could bring people together. Because the campus center is not a physical space, but a framework, everyone who is involved in this project works together to determine what is best for Mount Union’s students and the Alliance community.
“I believe that having a TRHT Campus Center at Mount Union is important because it will tell the true story of Mount Union,” said Adams. “Mount Union was created to welcome everyone, so this campus center will let people know that racial issues affect everybody.”
“We’re thrilled to partner with this new cohort of host institutions,” said AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella. “We look forward to supporting their vital efforts to promote racial equity and healing on their campuses, in their communities and through the fast-growing network of TRHT Campus Centers around the country.”
Learn more about diversity and inclusion at Mount Union at https://www.mountunion.edu/diversity-and-inclusion.