The Anti-Racism Institute (ARI) at Shippensburg University is focused on one primary goal: to facilitate student engagement, scholarly research, and academic enrichment regarding the subject of race.

The Institute, announced today by University President Laurie A. Carter, was created with cross-campus input from faculty and staff based upon the racial awakening that is currently gripping the United States. Initial directors include Dr. Jamonn Campbell, professor of psychology, Dr. Alison Dagnes, professor of political science, Ms. Diane Jefferson, director of Multicultural Student Affairs, and Professor Stephanie Jirard, chief diversity officer.

A fundamental driver of the ARI is the universal truth, that racism hurts everyone. The Institute will be an avenue for the community to examine the gulfs and gaps of America’s racial divide, to provide education on dismantling the racial barriers that are persistently harmful, and to partner with students, faculty, and staff at Shippensburg University, as well as at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other schools within the State System, in these efforts.

“We are at a key moment in history where sustained and coordinated action can finally bring an end to racist attitudes, behaviors, and policies that have plagued our nation from its inception. The Institute will support and educate a new generation of anti-racist educators, scholars, and activists,” notes Campbell.

“The Institute will build strength in our community as it brings students and faculty together in a united and important effort. The institute will highlight our academic chops, because we are, first and foremost, a university; one with talented and accomplished scholars doing salient and innovative research,” says Dagnes.

“Our goal is to help heal marginalized communities, bring awareness to this damaging disempowerment, and construct ‘one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,’” notes Jirard, adding “we are looking forward joining with our brothers and sisters from across the state to help build the future of our collective history.”

“Race Matters!” explains Diane Jefferson. “Racism is a part of our past, present and will be part of our future unless we act now. The Institute is an initiative that demands us all to educate, engage and empower one another to act, and to become part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.”

“I’m proud to be a part of a University that is not only acknowledging systemic racism but taking an intentional anti-racial position through exposure and education,” adds Lance Hines-Butts, vice president of external affairs with the Student Government Association.

“We are at a pivotal crossroads in our nation’s history, and the dedication of Ship’s students, faculty and staff to creating a future that embraces diversity, promotes equity, and values inclusion is inspiring, and a source of pride,” says President Carter.

The institute has already received its first donation. Mr. Tom Duffey ’72, ‘75M, made a foundational gift to the Institute in hopes of inspiring others to give. Those interested in contributing to the Anti-Racism Institute fund may contact Stephanie Jirard at [email protected].