To the Duke Community,
I write today with an update about our efforts to advance racial equity at Duke.
Duke recently engaged in our first-ever campus-wide survey of all students, faculty, and university staff regarding equity and inclusion. I am grateful to the more than 12,700 members of the Duke community who responded, answering questions designed to provide an understanding of the current state of the campus climate and identify areas of concern and priorities as we move forward. I encourage you to review a summary of the findings here. We are in the process of sharing more detailed results with unit and department leaders to inform local policies and actions.
This survey is a critical benchmark—the first of many as we continue our racial equity work. Over the coming years, we will further refine the survey instrument and track our progress toward equity, together, as a community. These regular surveys will also serve as a means of informing our actions toward meaningful change and holding Duke administrators accountable now and into the future.
The results of the survey are telling, and some are deeply troubling. The findings show that different members of our community experience a very different Duke. More than half of Black, Hispanic, Asian, female, and LGBTQ+ members of the Duke community report having experienced microaggressions in the past year. Furthermore, Black and Hispanic members of the community are less satisfied relative to their white counterparts with opportunities for advancement.
To be clear, these findings point to a climate that is unacceptable, and I remain resolutely committed to working with every member of this community to change the culture at Duke for the better. To that end, I have formed the Racial Equity Advisory Council (REAC)—led by Vice President for Institutional Equity and Chief Diversity Officer Kim Hewitt and Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement Abbas Benmamoun and comprising faculty, administrators, staff, and students involved in equity initiatives and research. REAC is developing plans to coordinate and advance our efforts to address racism and other inequities at Duke. It will also advise senior institutional leaders and—importantly—hold me and my administration accountable for our progress by regularly providing transparent communications with the Duke community. I invite you to read more about REAC here.
REAC’s work—and the institutional research behind it—are intended to strengthen the ongoing efforts that are already underway in departments and areas across the university. Indeed, the Council’s formation is an important step on a much longer journey toward eliminating racism and inequity at Duke—which will remain a pressing priority for our university for many years to come.
As always, I thank you for your commitment to this vitally important work, and I urge all members of our community to help make our campus more equitable, inclusive, and inviting to a diversity of identities, backgrounds, and perspectives.
Very best wishes,
Vincent E. Price