George Mason seeks to become ‘national beacon’ for ‘anti-racism’ with ‘Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation' czar

George Mason University announced several measures that aim to address issues regarding race relations.

The university announced that it will be hire an Executive Director of "Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation."

Virginia’s George Mason University has announced a number of race relations initiatives, including hiring an Executive Director for the “Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Campus Center,” and appointing “Equity Advisors” in each academic department.

George Mason University President Gregory Washington announced several initiatives aimed at dealing with issues in race relations in the wake of months of protests and civil unrest after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis while in police custody. These initiatives fall under a broader, newly established “Task Force on Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence.”  

The task force will help identify “where systems, practices, and traditions of racial bias exist at George Mason University” so that the university “may eradicate them.” It will also “keep racial injustices from regenerating” by creating “intentional systems and standards of anti-racism.”

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“I want George Mason University to emerge from this exercise as a local, regional, and national beacon for the advancement of anti-racism, reconciliation, and healing,” Washington wrote.

Some measures proposed are relatively noncontroversial, like promises to grow GMU’s “K-12 and community college partnerships by 50 percent, and become a true partner in the development of our region” and plans to improve oversight over campus police.  

Some echo more extreme policy goals of the Black Lives Matter movement. One of these is a call to “convene the University Naming Committee to evaluate names of university buildings and memorials.”  This comes as around the United States, rioters have torn down and defaced statues not only of Confederate generals and slaveholders, but U.S. presidents, Catholic saints, and abolitionists.

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Among these announcements was the promise that George Mason’s administration will find an Executive Director for the “Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Campus Center.”  The university announced in February its plans to open the center.

The center is part of a larger “Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Centers” initiative of the Association of American Colleges and Universities.  

If the center at George Mason is operated as AACU’s website indicates, it focuses on “community-based healing activities” and “policy designs that seek to change collective community narratives.” It has not yet been indicated what the Executive Director for Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation’s job description looks like, or how they will be compensated.

Campus Reform reached out to George Mason University for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Leo_Thuman