UOregon announces new $11 million anti-racist center

The University of Oregon is the latest school to create an anti-racism center, which will research “racial disparities in the United States.”

The center will receive at least $11 million in funding.

The University of Oregon is the latest major postsecondary institution to launch an anti-racist research center.

In a letter to the campus community on October 9, University of Oregon Provost Patrick Phillips said that “combating systemic racism in society is a moral imperative, one for which universities must be leaders, not observers.” Accordingly, he announced that the school would create “a new research and policy center on racial disparities and resilience,” which will seek to address “racial disparities in the United States.”

The university will provide the center with at least $3 million from the UO President’s Fund for Excellence, which the school said was “made possible by a $50 million anonymous gift,” as well as another $8 million from each of the schools and colleges.

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Included in this funding is the creation of 12 new faculty lines, as well as up to six additional positions that will be reserved for faculty members from departments with historically underrepresented faculty.

“We take on this commitment and make this investment, despite any other institutional challenges that might seem to get in our way, because we are dedicated to transformational change,” said Phillips. He also explained that the new center “will be the primary focus of resources normally allocated to new faculty hiring for the coming year.”

In addition to the new center, the University of Oregon announced new minors in the field of “Black Studies” and “Latinx Studies.” Phillips encouraged students who are not Black or Latino to “study and understand the complex history and ongoing impacts and contributions of race and cultural heritage within our country” — an emphasis that must be “integrated across the university curriculum.”

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“In the end, a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion by itself is not sufficient,” wrote Phillips. “The times demand that we find our way forward to become actively anti-racist, to move beyond the comfort of regular institutional processes geared toward addressing diversity issues and, in particular, to no longer tolerate a glacial pace of progress.”

Campus Reform reached out to the University of Oregon for comment and will update this article accordingly.

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