Pledges from our Community
Each one of us must commit to learning what we each can do – individually and as a community – to make Roger Williams University an antiracist institution. Sign the Roger Pledge to join individuals and teams across RWU who are committing to calling out racism and bias, and making the University a place where every member of our community feels a sense of belonging and can thrive.
The Roger Pledge
Inspired by The Birmingham Pledge
I BELIEVE that every person has worth as an individual.
I BELIEVE that every person is entitled to dignity and respect, regardless of race or color.
I BELIEVE that every thought and every act of racial prejudice is harmful; if it is my thought or act, then it is harmful to me as well as to others.
Therefore, from this day forward:
I WILL strive daily to eliminate racial prejudice from my thoughts and actions.
I WILL discourage racial prejudice by others at every opportunity.
I WILL treat all people with dignity and respect.
I WILL commit to working with others to transform the RWU Community into a place that treats people of all races, ethnicities, and cultures with justice, equity, and compassion, and
I WILL strive daily to honor this pledge, knowing that the world will be a better place because of my effort.
President Yannis Miaoulis
As President, our antiracism efforts start with me, and I commit Roger Williams University to doing the work to become an antiracist institution. We must provide a safe, supportive and inclusive environment for our BIPOC community. I pledge to disrupt racism from the top down and ensure the implementation of inclusive and equity-based systems and policies, along with expanding bias and discrimination training. I will also make it my priority to hire a more diverse faculty and staff to support students and inclusive classrooms and curricular development.
Stephanie Akunvabey, Chief Diversity Officer
A thriving community ensures that everyone feels valued for who they are. I commit to instilling a deeper understanding of unconscious bias, challenging the status quo, and reaffirming the importance of accountability within our university systems and practices. I will work with members of the RWU community to advance institutional transformation and foster the emerging culture shift toward greater equity and inclusion.
Brian Williams, Chief of Staff
Every element of a strategic plan is an opportunity to design racism out of our processes and initiatives that historically and currently fail to live up to the promise of equity. I commit to prioritizing an inclusive planning process that creates space for ideas and opportunities for our students and employees that will inspire us, surprise us, empower us, and advance our shared mission for and with the people and communities we serve.
Gena Bianco, Dean, University College
As Dean of University College, I stand firmly committed to creating a campus that is diverse and inclusive, as well as welcoming to and accepting of all people. I pledge to use my voice and my role to bridge the gap between privilege and oppression, to continually push to improve access to education, and dismantle the barriers to educational opportunities that race, class, and other structures of exclusion have created.
RWU School of Law
At RWU Law, we seek to create a better, fairer, and more equitable future for the law school and for the legal profession. Our process of evolution is ongoing and we know that we are on a journey. Being conscious of our past enables us to break the mold and try new things without fear. As students, faculty, and administrators, we commit to being an institution that continues to improve not only our representation but our sense of inclusion – a place where everyone feels that they belong. We also pledge to continue to advance curricular change that offers diverse perspectives and a deeper understanding of the historic and current challenges of racial bias and systemic racism within the law and judicial system, because that is how our graduates will be best prepared to work within and develop a more equitable legal profession and to serve every person with due justice under the law.
Roger Williams University Libraries are committed to disrupting racism, hate and bias whenever and wherever we encounter it and to creating the most inclusive and diverse environment that we possibly can. We reject the actions and messages of racism and embrace the actions of antiracism. As library employees, we are committed to using our privilege to speak out against these issues and ask to be held accountable by our students, faculty, and staff.
While the library is a place for everyone, we will not allow acts of intolerance or hate to diminish the rights and safety of others who visit our spaces and use our resources and services. It is time for us to do more in support of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility, particularly aligned with the university’s Equity Action Plan.
Racial Equity and Justice Institute (REJI)
Our team of faculty and staff pledges to draw upon lessons learned from our participation in the Leading for Change Racial Equity and Justice Institute to examine the data and impact of institutional policies and practices on BIPOC, beginning with midterm warning grades and academic integrity reviews. We plan to assemble cross-campus coalitions of stakeholders capable of executing data-informed solutions to racial disparities in student success at RWU. Ultimately, we commit to creating a campus where students of color are thriving in their academic and lived experiences.
Karen J Ethier, Search Advocacy Coordinator
I am committed to antiracism within my spheres of influence, but am especially dedicated to breaking down barriers in access to employment. I pledge to continue to work with the RWU community to reduce the impact of both structural and implicit bias on our hiring practices.
Brenda Clement, Director, HousingWorks RI
Housing Works RI at RWU envisions a Rhode Island in which all communities embrace a variety of housing choices so that residents, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or income can live in affordable homes in vibrant and thriving neighborhoods. Housing Works RI pledges to increase awareness of the importance of housing affordability and support for a wide range of housing options across Rhode Island cities and towns. We are committed to advancing housing affordability as a public policy priority and informing state and local decision makers on the importance of an integrated approach to improving housing affordability, which is essential to well-being and prosperity of its residents.
Justice in Action Athletic Alliance (JAAA)
As an organization dedicated to fostering an inclusive environment at Roger Williams, JAAA supports and pledges to do its part to actively making Roger Williams University an antiracist institution. We feel that athletics is a naturally inclusive environment, with absolutely no place for racism, prejudice, or bias. Our members are dedicated to combating social injustice on campus, and our commitment to the University’s antiracism campaign further reinforces our stance.
We, the staff of Roger Williams University Health Services, aspire to make every student feel safe, welcome, and supported at all times. We reject racism in all its forms and its adverse effects on the health and well-being of our community. We will not tolerate racism, hate, violence, and social injustices. As individuals, we will become more self-aware and committed to make equitable choices every day. We pledge to be an antiracist organization dedicated to reform and opposing racial disparities that affect health and health care. Racial health disparities, discrimination, harassment and violence are public health issues that we must overcome. We will critically evaluate, investigate, and remove racism in our work environment.
We stand committed to:
Brooklyn Crockton, 3rd year RWU School of Law
I am committed to eradicating the racial and gender biases that permeate every level of the legal and judicial system, for the people of color, women and women-identifying individuals, those living with physical and intellectual disabilities and with mental illness, who we serve, as well as for my colleagues and other professionals who also face discrimination and systemic racism while working to help others. I pledge to consistently advocate for underrepresented groups and address racism even in the most challenging situations.
Mike Gerel, Executive Director, Narragansett Bay Estuary Program
We promise to energize our partnership to elevate and amplify justice, equity, and humanity in the Narragansett Bay region.
Adam Cavanaugh & Jordan St. Onge, Class of 2023
Being a student leader means supporting every student, creating space for all to get involved, and setting an example for the rest of the RWU community. As students, we pledge to actively work with our peers to cultivate diverse thought in and out of the classroom where students of all backgrounds can thrive. We commit to work with campus leadership and fellow students to ensure that our BIPOC community is able to be involved on campus equitably and without fear of prejudice.
In our role as Head Resident Assistants, we promise to foster an antiracist environment focusing on collaborative education and mutual respect.
Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution
Student Conduct recognizes that respecting the dignity of every person is essential for creating and sustaining a flourishing University community. We help students understand and appreciate how their decisions and actions impact others, and we strive to be just and equitable in our process and treatment of all members of the community. Our goal is to discourage and challenge those whose actions may be harmful to and/or diminish the worth of others