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Anti-Racism Task Force Update: May 19, 2022

May 19, 2022

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MACOMB/MOLINE, IL – The newly-established Anti-Racism Task Force (ARTF) at Western Illinois University, which was formed by a charge from WIU President Guiyou Huang, began meeting in February 2022 to begin its work to identify anti-racism initiatives, with the goal to eradicate racism at WIU, and start building a diversity plan for the University.

The WIU ARTF is led by co-chairs, Lorette Oden, interim dean of the Centennial Honors College and health sciences and social work chair, and Sterling Saddler, assistant to the president for diversity and inclusion. The full membership can be found at

Four subcommittees have been formed to address particular components of the institution, including curriculum (co-chairs: Rebekah Buchanan & Jim LaPrad); faculty & staff: hiring, retention & promotion (co-chairs: Heather McIlvaine Newsad & Lorette Oden); student access & success (co-chairs: Kishor Kapale & Macherie Placide); and sustained & effective communication (co-chairs: Ted Renner & Darcie Shinberger).

The sustained and effective communication sub-committee recently hosted an ARTF Town Hall for students, which was coordinated by communication sub-committee member and Student Government Association Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Ari Hightower. Based on her discussion with her peers, students wanted to learn and hear more about the ARTF; therefore, a town hall was held May 4.

As a result, a list of FAQs are available at Additional questions/topics will be added when appropriate.

According to Oden and Saddler, the ARTF and its sub-committees will continue to meet throughout the summer, and into the fall semester. It is the goal of the ARTF to present its reports and action items to the president and senior leadership team by mid-fall.

For more information on the ARTF, email and/or

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