On Wednesday, George Washington University President Thomas LeBlanc announced the school will make diversity training mandatory for all incoming students starting in the fall. This announcement comes amid a campus-wide hoopla over a racist Snapchat photo taken earlier this month by sisters of the Alpha Phi sorority. The individuals involved have apologized for the incident, and the national organization of Alpha Phi is considering appropriate disciplinary action.
The photo showed two members of Alpha Phi, one of whom is holding a banana peel. The post included the following caption attached to the photo, "I'm 1/16 black [sic]."
“Many groups and individuals on campus have called for mandatory diversity training for freshman students, and that is one of the steps I am announcing today,” LeBlanc wrote in an email.
The mandatory training will also apply to members of the Greek community, all student dorm staff including residential assistants, admissions staff, tour guides, and other applicable employees of GWU.
Other steps include updating of the student code of conduct to address non-sex based harassment and discrimination as well as the university’s equal opportunity policy to include procedures and definitions to address conduct beyond sexual harassment. LeBlanc also mentioned there will be a bias incident reporting system to track and address verbal harassment and similar conduct based on color, religion, gender, race, and other backgrounds.
A speaker series called “Race in America” will be launched at a date to be announced.
LeBlanc also unveiled the search for a dean of the student experience with “documented leadership skills in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion a required core competency of the position.”
He plans to take additional ideas into consideration and hold a town hall within the next two weeks.
Jackson Richman (@JacksonRichman) is an editor and daily columnist at The National Discourse.