Southern Illinois University declares itself an 'anti-racist organization'

Southern Illinois University declared itself an “anti-racist organization.”

During a “Conversation of Understanding” hosted on Oct. 20, university officials discussed the tenets of anti-racism and how they apply to their institution. Sheila Caldwell, the school’s Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President for Antiracism, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, argued that “it’s not enough to just not be a racist, but to be an anti-racist” — a notion popularized by Boston University professor Ibram X. Kendi.

SIU System public affairs director John Charles told Campus Reform that Caldwell earns $243,000 per year.

At the end of the conversation, SIU System President Dan Mahony affirmed that the entire institution has adopted an “anti-racist” identity.

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“The SIU System will be an anti-racist university system an anti-racist university system, an anti-racist organization,” Mahony assured attendees. “That is our commitment, and I think that’s important to say what that means. It doesn’t mean we’re there. It doesn’t mean we’ve addressed all of the racist policies, curriculum issues... It means we’re committed to being on that anti-racism journey.”

SIU School of Medicine dubbed itself an “anti-racist institution” as early as 2019; SIU School of Law followed suit earlier this year.

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Caldwell told local news that more anti-racism initiatives are forthcoming. “We are working together to ensure people of the global majority can thrive in every corner of the SIU System and we are committed to reducing the injustices and harm that have been created by racist ideas and policies.”

Campus Reform reached out to the SIU System for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.