A message from Interim President Junkins to the Aggie community: Stronger Together
January 25, 2021
Dear Faculty, Staff, Students and other members of the Aggie Family:
I am pleased to share today's announcement from the Texas A&M University System regarding the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents' statement and approval of recommended actions to better serve our land-grant mission regarding diversity, equity and inclusion. I am grateful to Chairman Mendoza, other members of the Board of Regents and to Chancellor Sharp for their support and continued guidance as we move to implement the plan.
I am grateful to the 45-member Commission on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (CDEI) who worked tirelessly since their formation and charge to conduct research and produce findings that led to the action plan.
I commend the CDEI's example of civility displayed in carrying out their charge. Commission members hailed from a diverse cross-section of faculty, staff, students and former students with differing opinions on some issues. Their dedication to evidence-based findings and open forums proved that Aggies lead by example in directly taking on tough issues with a unity of purpose. I thank commission co-chairs Dr. Jimmy Williams '83 and Dr. John Hurtado '91, whose extraordinary leadership in answering the call to serve when our university needed them will undoubtedly benefit Aggies for many years to come.
The CDEI's key findings available here. The report in its entirety is posted are here. Findings point to a continued strong affection for Texas A&M, even among its harshest critics. At the same time, there is significant room for improvement in recruitment, retention and fostering a campus environment that makes all feel welcome.
Approved action items, summarized in Table 1.0 below, in the Board's announcement total nearly $25 million in four years and are provided in detail here.
Table 1.0: Approved Actions and Budget
With Board approval in hand, I am directing the following leaders to immediately begin work on these actions, collaborating with others throughout the university community in the following activities that correspond to the approved actions.
Table 2.0 Leadership Assignments
While I am the interim president for the near future, the Board, Chancellor and I agree that we cannot wait to act on findings. Over the next few months, it will be my great honor and privilege to lead Texas A&M by elevating every aspect of this great university while helping cultivate our hard-earned momentum. If we take significant steps now, we can reassure Aggies, as well as prospective students, faculty, and staff for the fall of 2021 and beyond, that we are dedicated to excellence.
As we move forward with these important actions, I promise to bring a listening ear and a collaborative approach. The overarching framework for these initiatives relies on our core values in fulfillment of our responsibilities as a land-grant university. It is my fondest hope that you will join me in that collaboration, bringing out the best in our academic community as we pull together to continue to elevate and advance this university we love so much.
John L. Junkins