During the summer, President Anderson made a commitment to the Trinity community in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion. As part of this promise, the University established and amplified mechanisms for “bias incident” reporting that will allow allegations to be voiced and University processes to be activated.
“To truly be a community committed to the highest levels of academic and professional excellence in teaching, learning, service, and personal integrity, Trinity must be willing to engage in critical self-evaluation and be open to listening and learning from inside and outside our community” says Trinity President Danny Anderson.
In furtherance of this commitment, Trinity has heard and takes seriously the concerns raised by students, staff, faculty, and alumni regarding allegations of racial bias at the University. In addition to other efforts underway, the University has retained Scott Schneider and Paige Duggins-Clay of Husch Blackwell LLP to conduct an independent legal review of racial climate concerns around personnel-related matters.
This independent review will guide Trinity in understanding what is working well, what can be improved, and perhaps even imagine different ways of approaching personnel issues. Over the next few weeks, the reviewers from Husch Blackwell will meet with several community members, including students, faculty, staff, and alumni with the goal to provide space for impacted individuals to share their experiences.
The Husch Blackwell team will examine and identify opportunities for the University to improve how we respond to, communicate about, and—most importantly—prevent and eliminate bias, discrimination, and related issues.
The University’s official practice is not to comment on personnel decisions or speak publicly about specific complaints. This practice makes it hard to communicate when there are campus questions about such decisions. However, this practice is fundamental for respecting the individual’s confidentiality and ensuring that employees have an opportunity to seek redress through established processes without fear that Trinity will publicly share information about them or use a public forum to silence them. When a complaint is received, it is immediately handled according to our established complaint processes, which include reaching out to identified complainants to provide support resources, information, and options they may choose to pursue. Similarly, the existence and outcome of complaints are treated confidentially. Thus, silence does not mean agreement or acceptance of any content in an allegation. It simply stands for the ethical respect extended to any complainant who wishes to engage in protected activity.
The University believes in transparency and, in addition to recommendations from the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, will share recommended actions from the Husch Blackwell report while maintaining confidentiality, including about individual concerns and personnel actions.