On a Friday this fall, Johns Hopkins students demonstrated at Homewood and in East Baltimore.
They stood in solidarity with their peers protesting racial discrimination at the University of Missouri and other universities throughout the nation. They also sent an important message to me and to our community about the need to intensify our efforts to strengthen the climate and culture of diversity at Johns Hopkins.
As recent events have shown, the legacy of racial inequality and injustice is part of a national narrative—one that plays out in the daily lives of students, faculty, and staff on campuses across the country. But, as I said to our students, I understand that the protest here is also fundamentally about Johns Hopkins, about who we are and what we value. And we are steadfast in our belief that diversity—of people and of human experiences, as well as of thought—is central to our education, research, and service missions.
Recognizing that we have work to do in advancing diversity, our university has been engaging with students, faculty, and staff across our campuses over the past year to open dialogue and to identify what we can do to address their concerns. We have made strides, including implementing mandatory orientation programming that focuses on issues of social justice; launching the universitywide JHU Forums on Race in America, which have highlighted some of the nation's leading thinkers on racial justice; and implementing unconscious bias training for our leadership and search committees. And our efforts to recruit a diverse student body have resulted in an entering class at Homewood—the undergraduate class of 2019—that is both our most academically talented and most diverse class ever, with 23 percent identifying as an underrepresented minority (Black or African-American, Hispanic or Latino, Native American, or Pacific Islander), up from 12 percent in 2009.
We also have worked closely with the deans of each of our schools to develop a comprehensive Faculty Diversity Initiative to which the university and our schools are committing more than $20 million in new funding. This effort broadens the scope of the Mosaic Initiative begun in 2008 and includes strategies to help us identify, hire, and support the most talented faculty from around the world. And we will hold ourselves accountable by producing timely and public reports on the composition of our faculty.
Our students' call to action and the critical input of our faculty, staff, and alumni will serve as a guide as we take up these challenges together and strive to meet them with the courage and vision that is the signature of Johns Hopkins University.
Ronald J. Daniels