October 21, 2019

Dear CSU Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Almost exactly one month ago today, in my 2019 Fall Address, I announced the Race, Bias and Equity Initiative here at CSU. We have already begun work on the RBEI; you can see some of the initial initiatives and actions listed here.

Today, I am absolutely delighted to share with all of you that I have asked Dr. Blanche Hughes, the Vice President for Student Affairs here at CSU, to lead the RBEI—and she has agreed! Many of you know and admire Blanche as I do. For those of you who are not familiar with Blanche, I encourage you to read her CSU biography here. Even this brief blurb will tell you that she is a CSU grad (twice-over) and that she has been a leader, mentor, and an advocate for our students, especially our students of color, for 24 years.

What this professional bio cannot capture is Blanche’s spirit, her energy, her deeply ethical approach to her work, or her compassion. With Blanche’s vibrant and collaborative leadership, we will move the RBEI at CSU forward stronger and faster.

We will be working to identify other members of the CSU community who will join Blanche in leading this incredibly important work.  We will have more to report soon.

I also want to say thank you in advance to the many talented individuals and units from across campus who will be critically important leaders of and collaborators with this new initiative, especially our faculty with expertise in relevant disciplines, the Directors and student members of our Cultural and Resource Centers, and Mary Ontiveros and her team in the Office of Diversity. Mary’s voice has helped shaped the development of diversity initiatives at CSU for many years, and her knowledge and experience will be critical as our campus moves forward. For those of you who did not have the chance to attend a discussion with Mary, Blanche and myself at the Diversity Symposium earlier this week, I encourage you to read about our conversation here. Thank you all for your support as we take build a stronger, more equitable and inclusive campus and community.

Thank you all for all that you do to make CSU a better place!

Joyce E. McConnell