A message from the President’s Commission on Race, Equity and Community

This message was sent to Wake Forest faculty, staff and students on Feb. 17 on behalf of José Villalba and Erica Still, co-chairs of the President’s Commission on Race, Equity and Community:

Dear Wake Forest Community,

Thank you to everyone who completed the survey for the institutional equity audit in the past week. Overall, 468 surveys were submitted, for an overall response rate of 4.02%. The survey is just one part of the auditor’s data collection process; they will also be holding individual interviews and a thorough document and artifact review in the next few weeks. Taken together, the data will contribute to a picture of the institution’s current position relative to its aspirations for a truly diverse and inclusive community.

We are also grateful to those of you who shared your concerns about the survey’s design, clarity, and methodology. Your questions about the accuracy and validity of the results are evidence of your commitment to achieving a more equitable Wake Forest, and we appreciate both the questions and the commitment. Your thoughtful observations are indeed shaping how we interpret the survey results, as well as how we will use them. The articulated limitations make it all the more important that the results be seen in the context of the additional data being collected.

A final note about the audit: we want to reiterate that it is designed to assess the institution’s efforts to create and sustain racial equity at the structural level. It is concerned with policies, protocols, and practices as they shape the experiences of students, staff, and faculty who are members of underrepresented groups on our campus. It is not a climate survey, which focuses on the feelings, relationships, and tensions experienced by the various constituents of the community. (In fact, conducting a climate survey may be one of the recommendations emerging from the audit and/or Commission, but that is yet-to-be determined.)

So again, thanks to everyone who has been engaged in this work thus far. We hope you will continue to ask questions, give feedback, and offer support. You can keep track of our work on the Commission’s website, and you are always welcome to reach out directly to us (José at villalja@nullwfu.edu and Erica at stillel@nullwfu.edu).

José Villalba
Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion
Chief Diversity Officer

Erica Still
Associate Dean for Faculty Recruitment, Diversity, and Inclusion
Associate Professor of English

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