NIU strives to be a welcoming and inclusive community where every Huskie feels respected and appreciated.
To this end, we are embracing anti-racist values and behaviors, and taking actions that will lead to permanent change. These include recognizing and dismantling systems, structures, policies and practices that are biased or racist. We are committed to personal and collective action, to thinking and acting differently, and to being unrelenting in efforts to reject bigotry and eliminate exclusionary systems and practices.
Diversity, equity and inclusion are woven into the fabric of NIU’s athletic department. The athletic department is intentional about creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment where coaches, staff and student-athletes are continually educated and trained in various areas. In addition, coaches, staff and student-athletes have the opportunity to serve the community, university and department in diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion leads the charge in establishing an equity-minded community that challenges and eliminates exclusionary systems and practices.
NIU’s diversity and cultural resource centers and academic diversity programs provide programs and events that support and engage students, faculty and staff on topics related to their professional, cultural and social interests. These centers are often a “home away from home" for students seeking ways to connect with others who share their culture.
Social justice education programs at NIU support students, faculty and staff from across the university by advancing equity-minded practices and building an inclusive community where every member is appreciated and respected.
The Anti-racism Collective subscribes to the principles that power differentials and hierarchical structures are often antithetical to anti-racist pursuits, and that egalitarian, autonomous approaches are necessary as an additional lever to pull in order to bring about institutional change. The Anti-racism Collective, thus, operates independently from NIU administration, and will only share information publicly that its executive board deems safe for all members to share.
Our goal is to provide a space for members of DEI committees, or those interested in anti-racist agendas in departments and units without DEI committees, to meet regularly; share resources, goals and progress on anti-racist initiatives; and hold each other accountable for that progress through providing feedback on DEI initiatives/goals.
The constituency of the Anti-racism Collective are students, faculty and staff interested in making anti-racist changes to NIU policies, procedures and structures. We envision the major product of the Anti-racism Collective to be publicly available periodic documentation on progress toward anti-racist initiatives for each department/unit that is represented.
The NIU Black Faculty and Staff Association is a university-recognized organization dedicated to supporting Black faculty, staff and students; raising awareness of Black issues on campus; and providing opportunities for mentoring, networking and collaboration.
The Faculty Senate Social Justice Committee is charged with identifying factors that contribute to institutional racism at NIU and taking action to correct them, with a focus on university policies, procedures and practices. The committee has 12 members and three subcommittees: Institutional Racism; Academic Affairs; and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
The president is advised by five commissions on issues related to campus climate for diverse populations. The commissions enhance our university community by engaging in education, research and recognition of employees that advance equity and inclusion.
Student Affairs has formalized a team committed to anti-racism as part of its divisional committee structure. This team will identify and address systemic barriers to racial equity, inclusion and social justice within Student Affairs, including policies, hiring practices and other obstacles to provision of culturally responsive student service. The committee will assist with goal setting, strategy development and outcomes evaluation.
The college is committed to utilizing the arts to advocate for anti-racism and social justice education. In fall 2020, they helped organize the Black Lives Matter painting on Castle Drive and in front of Stevens Building.
For more information about their programming and resources, please visit Art for Social Justice.
Their mission is to inspire activism for social justice and cultural diversity through engagement with museum collections, exhibitions and educational programs.
College of Law alumni are actively engaged with the college and in the community as leaders, committee members, speakers, panelists and mentors on diversity, equity and inclusion matters.
Vice President Jerry Blazey and Assistant Vice President Anna Quider contributed to the American Physical Society’s report, Building America’s STEM Workforce: Eliminating Barriers and Unlocking Advantages (PDF). Their efforts have highlighted how federal research investments amplify systemic inequalities and what steps might be taken to diversify research participation.
Three Huskies were appointed to the Equity Working Group for Black Student Access and Success in Illinois Higher Education, a cross-industry working group to address inequities and disparities amongst Black students in Illinois: NIU President Lisa Freeman, Mechanical Engineering Professor John Shelton, and Higher Education and Student Affairs graduate student T’Keya Hicks.
NIU actively supports the work of the Partnership for College Completion and its ambitious goal to eliminate institutional achievement gaps in college degree completion for low-income and first-generation students in the northeastern Illinois region by 2025.
Vice President Vernese Edghill-Walden has been appointed to the National Association of Chief Diversity Officers in Higher Education Anti-racist Framework Task Force, and that will inform how NIU conceptualizes and defines anti-racism.
Dawn Brown, Clinical Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy in the School of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders, was elected as the Director of Clinical Education representative to the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy’s (ACAPT) newly established National Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (NEDI) Commission.
President Lisa Freeman has been selected to serve on the NCAA Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee (MOIC) with a term beginning September 01, 2021, and continuing through August 31, 2025. The NCAA MOIC champions the causes of historically underrepresented student-athletes, coaches, and administrators by fostering an inclusive environment, thereby creating a culture that promotes fair and equitable access to opportunities and resources.
Vice President Jerry Blazey and Assistant Vice President Anna Quider lead NIU’s federal advocacy efforts to create a more equitable science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) research landscape. They work directly with staff for the U.S. Congress to shape policies that address how federal research investments amplify systemic inequalities. They contributed to the American Physical Society’s report, Building America’s STEM Workforce: Eliminating Barriers and Unlocking Advantages, which highlights inequities in the distribution of federal research funding.