WKU Announces New Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council

Published: Oct. 26, 2020 at 5:07 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -On Monday, WKU Athletics announced the creation of its new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council within the department.

The council includes more than 20 student-athlete, coach, staff, and campus representatives. The group held its first meeting on Sept. 9 and has been meeting bimonthly since its creation.

“Sports has always had the unique ability of bringing together those from a wide variety of backgrounds for a common purpose, and WKU Athletics is no different,” Director of Athletics Todd Stewart said. “Being part of a team means respecting the experiences and perspectives of others. I am excited for the potential of this council to incorporate those experiences and perspectives to help shape our actionable goals with unity and understanding at the forefront.”

The Hilltopper DEI Council established a series of initial objectives it plans to accomplish moving forward, including:

• Creating an opportunity for more difficult conversations within sports programs and departments to bring more awareness to each other’s concerns and experiences

• Cultivating a greater sense of togetherness as one united athletic department, including increased interaction between sport programs, more staff connection opportunities, and coaching staff alliances

• Supporting a planned voter registration initiative for the upcoming November election and beyond

• Providing additional educational resources to teams to increase understanding, and giving tools to all stakeholders so each person is empowered to play a role in creating an equitable and inclusive environment

• Expanding the athletic department’s mental health resources to better recognize the negative impacts of inequity

• Incorporate more minority-owned business owners and community leaders in identifying community service opportunities to help promote inclusiveness within the Bowling Green area

• Staying in tune with the University’s DEI plan and actively involving our departments and teams with the campus' ONEWKU initiative

• Creating more professional opportunities for minority students within the athletic department to generate a larger network of candidates for prospective jobs in the future

“Being a part of the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Council isn’t just a title or another notch on my belt – being in this council to me means change is coming… and it is coming soon,” WKU Track & Field senior sprinter Dartez Hamlin said. “The fact that I will be a part of this change means everything to me. What we have going on is bigger than athletics and it is bigger than me.”

“Being a part of this council is nothing short of a privilege,” WKU Soccer sophomore midfielder Logan Barber said. “Each day, I am challenged to become a better person, teammate, and leader for the WKU community. Through the DEI council, we are finding ways to bring awareness to social injustice and inequalities within our world today. These efforts are truly unifying our university, and I am excited to continue my growth as a member of this council as we continue to rise together.”

“I believe that the Diversity and Inclusion Council is a great opportunity for Western Kentucky University,” WKU Lady Topper Basketball assistant coach Jocelyn Brown said. “There is a lot going on across our country. The fact that the administration of WKU Athletics recognizes the need for us as a voice in our community to confront and address issues surrounding diversity, inclusion, and other related matters is promising for the student-athletes, faculty, and staff. I believe that this is a deliberate step made towards positive change starting right here at WKU.”

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