University President John J. DeGioia announced a plan for four new commitments designed to address racial injustice and progress for racial equality both on campus and nationally in an address to the community in Lohrfink Auditorium on Thursday afternoon.

DeGioia’s proposed commitments include the proposal for an African American studies department and major, as well as a center for researching racial injustice, a recruitment effort to gather new faculty to support such institutions and the recruitment of a new senior officer to oversee the developments.

“This is the moment to find within each of ourselves, and within our community, the sources of our moral imaginations to determine how we can contribute to responding to this urgent moment in our nation,” DeGioia said.

The address was announced in a university-wide email Wednesday. Throughout his talk, DeGioia noted the significant efforts made to address the university’s history with slavery and racial injustice, including the establishment of the Working Group on Slavery, Memory and Reconciliation in September. However, he acknowledged the need for even more steps to make tangible progress toward racial equality.

“This is a moment for us to say ‘Georgetown is a different place because Georgetown is in the world, which changes and challenges us, and Georgetown has always wished to be engaged in the world,’” DeGioia said.

Following his announcement of the executive board of the College’s decision to establish an African American studies major, DeGioia went on to assert that the university will also establish a department of African American studies. Assisted by University Provost Robert Groves, a working group on racial injustice will be assembled to explore the creation of the department as well as a research center committed to researching racial injustice.

A recruitment effort will be initiated to gather the faculty needed to support both the future department and research center. These initiatives will be handled by a new senior officer, who will directly oversee the commitments while working alongside other senior leadership and research centers.

“These will happen. But we will do this as we do all important and successful work that we have all been a part of here: together, by listening to one another, letting all who can contribute to participate in the new endeavors and working together to achieve our goals,” DeGioia said.


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