Old Main lawn

Old Main Lawn sits empty during the coronavirus quarantine period Saturday, March 21, 2020.

In an email sent to the Penn State community, President Eric Barron outlined new initiatives to "improve the climate for diversity, equity and inclusion" that will be implemented at Penn State this semester.

Until his retirement in June 2022, Barron plans to “advance work of the Select Penn State Presidential Commission on Racism, Bias and Community Safety.” He said while progress has been made — also including the spring 2021 semester's revised Student Code of Conduct — efforts are still ongoing.

Barron’s newest initiatives include:

"Move to an enterprise approach to diversity, equity and inclusion"

Penn State aims to create a Chief Diversity Officer position; complete a full inventory of the university's investment in diversity, equity and inclusion programs and staff; and develop a stronger sense of accountability.

“Create greater commitment to recruitment, onboarding mentoring and building community"

The Chief Diversity Officer will "address apparent challenges in recruitment" and "focus on accountability," and Penn State will form a task group to "design best practices for onboarding and mentoring.”

"Advance in key areas that align with the educational and research mission of the University"

Penn State plans to establish an institute dedicated to “anti-racist, anti-bias and pedagogy and scholarly research,” which will be fully funded by the administration.

The university also plans to represent diversity, equity and inclusion as a “mandatory element of education” and explore Penn State's history in diversity equity and inclusion through “scholarly analysis of our past practices.”

“This is only the beginning,” Barron said in the email. "We take these next steps with purpose and conviction, knowing that addressing these critical issues and creating positive change will require our collective persistence and focus."

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