Charge for Racial Equity & Inclusion

Our Charge

Grand Valley State University acknowledges the hurt, anger, fear, and distrust that many of our Black faculty, staff, students, and administrators must feel following the reprehensible killing of George Floyd and the ongoing racial and social injustice that exists in our society.

We also acknowledge that the well-being of our entire community rests on fulfilling the elemental promise that every member of our campus community is welcomed, supported, respected, and valued. As an institution that educates the next generation of leaders, we will fail them, our communities, and ourselves if we do not act when we know that more than words are expected of us.

Learn. Understand. Act. Lead. The following are some of the ways Grand Valley will realize those standards against which we must be measured.


Message from President Philomena V. Mantella

We must elevate the voices and experiences of our Black faculty, staff, and students.

We must listen carefully, valuing each member of our community.

We must fulfill our goals for inclusion and equity.

We must all deepen our understanding and knowledge through education.

We must then use this knowledge as the basis for understanding and addressing institutional and systemic racism and oppression to make meaningful change.


Phase 4/Ongoing: Introducing the Inclusion and Equity Accountability and Activation Team (2022-2023)

The Network of Advisors (NOA) members have been at work since summer 2020 to advance GVSU’s 15-point charge for racial equity. A second phase of work resulted in the adoption of eight high-level recommendations, including the creation of implementation and action plan development teams to further work to build a culture of educational equity. In Phase 3, six implementation teams were formed to focus on: (1) employee mentoring; (2) inclusive recruitment and hiring; (3) faculty pipeline development; (4) employee climate check-ins and exit interview enhancements; (5) understanding and recognizing employee contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion; and, (6) diversity, equity, and inclusion professional development for administrative and academic leadership. The implementation team leaders have been meeting over the summer and formulated over 40 recommendations for implementation.

Advancement of work initiated by the network and broader advisory/coordination efforts for inclusion and equity strategies will now be provided by the Inclusion and Equity Activation and Accountability Team. The team includes leads from each division, other units, and shared governance representatives from across the university and will be coordinated by the Division of Inclusion and Equity. We look forward to working with colleagues across the university to advance this important next phase of our commitment to inclusion and equity, and welcome engagement and feedback from all members of the community. It will take each and every one of us to continue to create a culture of educational equity where all can thrive at GVSU. While the charge and cadence of meetings will be co-created by the members of the team, the team is expected to:

  • Advise the Division of Inclusion and Equity and president on matters related to DEI-AB
  • Review and consider university strategy, metrics, and planning related to DEI-AB
  • Review and provide insight on division, college, and unit progress for advancing DEI-AB metrics
  • Support division and college/unit committees, including providing space for shared learning or effective practices
  • Advise on action steps in response to DEI-AB related reports and recommendations, including the climate survey, affirmative action planning, and others
  • Support campus messaging related to DEI-AB
  • Support a DEI-AB training and development for employees.

View Implementation Team Recommendations

View the IEAA Leadership Team Directory

Phase 3: Implementation Teams (June 2022)

  1. Expand Curriculum on Systemic Racism
  2. Faculty Mentoring
  3. Staff Mentoring
  4. Inclusive Recruitment & Hiring (including cluster hiring)
  5. Faculty & Staff Pipeline Development
  6. Employee Climate Check-ins & Exit Interviews
  7. Understanding & Recognizing Faculty & Staff Contributions to DEI
  8. First-Year Experience Program/Course(s)
  9. DEI Professional Development for Administrative & Academic Leadership
  10. Promotional Pathways for Staff

Phase 2: Recommendations & Ongoing Actions (Winter 2022)

In Winter 2022, the Network of Advisors issued recommendations to the Senior Leadership Team as part of Phase Two of their work. Ten high-level recommendations were endorsed. Progress is continued to be tracked here.

Refocus & Repositioning (April 2021)

While several of the 15-point plan charges have been completed or are underway, the Network of Advisors has provided feedback that a restructuring of the work should be part of our next phase, including a refinement, and in some areas, expansion of the original charges. Phase 2 will focus on four Commitment Areas, with each Commitment Area overseen by one or more executive officers and led by teams and sub-teams comprised of subject-matter experts. Each team has been asked to:

  1. As it is helpful, inventory and capture other university efforts for coordination within area.
  2. Identify 3-5 recommendations within the area by June 30, 2021, which may include:
    • Identify problems and/or opportunities and feasible solutions.
    • Draft recommendations that advance problems and/or opportunities.
    • Draft proposals for prototypes or initiatives (these can be brief and high-level or can be done in the next phase of work or assigned to specific offices as part of recommendations).
    • Rank proposals in priority order, associate a timetable, and identify resourcing needed.
  3. Review and refine initial high-level goal(s) for each area; further develop goal(s), establish benchmark, metrics, and timeline (yearly or twice-yearly to Summer 2025). These can be high-level or detailed and offer areas for consideration.

Later in summer 2021, the Network will identify additional commitment areas and/or continue further work in these areas.


2020 15-Point Charge


Anti-Racism Resources

Educate Yourself About Anti-Racism & White Privilege

Educate Yourself About History

      Videos & Training

      More to Read:

      • Between the World and Me  - Ta-Nehisi Coates
      • White Fragility  - Robin diangelo
      • Sister Outsider  - Audre Lorde 
      • How to be an Antiracist  - Ibram X. Kendi 
      • The Fire Next Time  - James Baldwin 
      • Just Mercy : A Story of Justice and Redemption  - Bryan Stevenson 
      • A Taste of Power: A Black Woman’s Story  - Elaine brown 
      • Policing the Planet  - Jordan T. Camp, Christian Heatherton
      • So You Want to Talk about Race  - Ijeoma Oluo 
      • The Hate U Give  - Angie Johnson (young adult fiction) 
      • Restorative Yoga for Ethnic and Race-based Stress and Trauma  by Dr. Gail Parker
      • Healing Racial Trauma: The Road to Resilience  by Sheila Wise Rowe

      More to Watch: 

      • Just Mercy Destin Daniel Cretton  (free on Youtube for the month of June!)
      • 13th  - Ava Duvernay
      • When They See Us  - Ava Duvernay 
      • The Black Power Mixtape  - Gõran Olsson 
      • The Black Panthers  - Stanley Nelson 
      • The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson  - David France 
      • If Beale Street Could Talk  - Barry Jenkins 
      • The Hate U Give  - George Tillman Jr 

      More to Listen:


      The Laker Familia student network at GVSU.
      A Native American Pow Wow held by NAAC at GVSU.
      GVSU students at the Black Excellence Orientation.


      GVSU faculty, students, and alums working on a community project.
      GVSU students talking out in front of Student Services.
      A GVSU student at graduation.


      Page last modified November 22, 2022