Texas Christian University’s recently announced initiative to study the university’s historical connection to racism, slavery and the Confederacy has been officially named the Race and Reconciliation Initiative (RRI).
Teresa Abi-Nader Dahlberg, provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, appointed Frederick Gooding Jr., Ph.D., associate professor of African American Studies in the John V. Roach Honors College, chair of the initiative, the university said in a news release.
The initiative was commissioned by Chancellor Victor J. Boschini Jr. and Board of Trustees Chair Mark L. Johnson and has the unanimous support of TCU’s board.
“This scholarly journey into our past will both enlighten and provide extensive institutional knowledge from which to build our preferred future of a more diverse and welcoming campus,” said Dahlberg. “We will hear, learn and discover the more nuanced and perhaps complicated aspects of our history that might not have been frequently shared or even acknowledged.”
The initiative will be led by a 15-member university academic team that will undertake a rigorous self-examination to reflect on the institution, its founders, traditions, and named structures on campus as they relate to slavery, the Confederacy and its legacies, the university said.
This inquiry will draw upon existing grassroots efforts, such as the TCU Portrait Project, the Indigenous Peoples historic marker, Intersectionality Month and other activities that have helped document and reveal contemporary and historic patterns of racism and racial inequality at TCU.
The academic endeavor, which begins during the fall semester, will span many years with the first year of research focusing primarily on Black Americans and TCU’s experiences with racism, slavery and the Confederacy.
“Our study of TCU’s history will provide critical perspective, deepen understanding and result in recommendations for action and healing,” said Gooding. “The historical research previously conducted by campus members who worked on related projects for a number of years provides a firm foundation for us to continue this necessary work. We have great expectations that this initiative will continue to move us all forward and toward reconciliation.:
The university news release said regular updates, timelines, event information and opportunities for campus members to participate and engage in dialogue regarding TCU’s past, present and future, will be housed on the RRI web page.
RRI also will immediately open channels of communication with the broader TCU community through the placement of signage next to the statue of Addison and Randolph Clark, TCU’s founders, both to signal the start of the initiative and to encourage continued community engagement.
TCU becomes the second university in Texas to join the Universities Studying Slavery consortium, aligning itself with numerous other universities nationally and internationally to address contemporary issues, such as race and inequity in higher education, and the complicated legacies of slavery on campuses, in communities, and in the world.
A final report and recommendations from the first year of study will include modeling how to explore other identities in the university’s shared history, the university said,
Race and Reconciliation Initiative Core Committee Members:
Tosin Alao, Undergraduate Student Representative
Susan E. Anderson, Ed.D., College of Education
Jean Marie Brown, M.S., Journalism
Leslie Ekpe, M.Ed., Graduate Student Representative
Alan Gallay, Ph.D., History
Frederick Gooding, Jr., John V. Roach Honors College
Lynn Hampton, Ph.D., John V. Roach Honors College
Clifford E. Harrell, Athletics
J. Bryan King, M.B.A., TCU Board of Trustees
Scott Kurashige, Ph.D., Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies
Jacque Lambiase, Ph.D., Strategic Communications
Adam W. McKinney, M.F.A., Dance
Trung Nguyen, Ed.D., Interim Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
Sarah Robbins, Ph.D., English
Tracy Renee Williams, M.S., TCU Board of Trustees and President, TCU National Alumni Board
Race and Reconciliation Ex-Officio Members:
Holly Ellman, Marketing and Communication
Alex Hidalgo, Ph.D., History
Mary Saffell, M.L.S., Mary Couts Burnett Library
Claire Sanders, Ph.D., History and Office of the Provost
Karen Steele, Ph.D., English and Office of the Provost
Tracy Syler-Jones, M.B.A., Marketing and Communications
Aisha Torrey-Sawyer, M.S., Office of Diversity & Inclusion
Graduate Research Assistant:
Marcellis Perkins, College of Education
– FWBP Staff