University of Utah President David W. Pershing has appointed Debra Daniels, assistant vice president for the Women’s Enrollment Initiatives and director of the Women’s Resource Center, and Keith Diaz Moore, dean of the College of Architecture + Planning, as the co-chairs of the newly formed Presidential Anti-racism Task Force.
The task force, announced in October, will focus on developing and deploying actions on campus that can increase dialogue and understanding among students, staff and faculty from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. It also will work to identify actions and investments the U can make to enhance the experience and success of all campus community members.
The co-chairs are in the process of finalizing members of the task force, which will hold its first meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017.
“We received overwhelming interest in serving on the task force,” Pershing said, “and that was extremely gratifying. There is a clear need to address racism, bias and hate, and I am confident in the ability of Debra and Keith to lead our efforts to make this campus a place where all feel welcomed and valued. I look forward to seeing the task force recommendations.”
Pershing has asked that the task force submit initial recommendations by late April.
In addition to her other positions, Daniels is an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and a clinical instructor in the College of Social Work. She has spent years working on issues related to women, non-violence and social justice. Daniels is the recipient of numerous awards in recognition of her community service, including the YWCA Outstanding Achievement award, the Susa Young Gates Award from the Utah Women’s Political Caucus and the Linda K. Amos Award for Distinguished Service to Women of the University of Utah.
Diaz Moore is a passionate advocate and international expert on the connection between culture, health and place, particularly in the area of design for people with dementia. He is regarded internationally as an expert on aging-in-place. He is a winner of the Architecture for Social Justice Award and a co-winner of the Joel Polsky Prize for significant design research and literature.
Pershing, joined by senior vice presidents Ruth V. Watkins and Lorris Betz, made the task force a priority after a series of events on campus this fall highlighted the need for a more proactive approach to address racism, bias and discrimination.