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Gee creates “action-oriented” working groups to deal with racial concerns at WVU

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — WVU President Gordon Gee says it’s time for the university to do a self-evaluation of racism and racial inequities on campus.

Gee announced a plan of action in remarks to the WVU Board of Governors Friday.

“As I’ve watched the protests across the country and listened to the poignant words from our own WVU and Morgantown communities I know we have the opportunity and we must do better,” Gee said. “To show value and appreciation for our black students, alumni and community members.”

There have been a number of peaceful protests in Morgantown and Gee received a list of demands from a group representing black students, faculty and staff earlier this week.

“Let me state unequivocally: Black Lives Matter. We want our Black students, faculty, staff and alumni to feel safe and supported at West Virginia University,” WVU BOG chair David Alvarez said.

The plan unveiled by Gee Friday includes working groups dealing with university policing, black student leader development, development of a culturally aware & inclusive campus and campus/community partnerships.

“I don’t believe in strategic planning,” Gee said. “I believe in action and this is a commitment to recognize deficits and act quickly to affect change.”

Each of the four groups is required to produce at least three action items by July 27 for implementation this fall.

“Upon review the university will prioritize the actions to move forward. Many will be implemented by the first day of classes, Aug. 19,” according to Gee.

Gee told BOG members everyone needs to be willing to honestly address the calls for change in order to improve the university experience.

“This is the moment to learn from each other and of course to gain new knowledge,” Gee said. “It is what you do with the new knowledge that matters most.”

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