A Statement from the Chair of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee

As social work, public health and policy students, staff and faculty, we know that equity is a civil and human right. Our nation’s inequities have adversely affected the social and economic condition, as well as the physical and mental health of many communities over centuries. The Brown School Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is committed to amplifying awareness of the complex issues that we encounter as we work toward social justice. We seek to be a catalyst for policy change and innovative solutions that help eliminate disparities and achieve equity. We have an ethical and professional responsibility to address the issues confronting society in order to improve equity for everyone.

Vetta Sanders Thompson
E. Desmond Lee Professor of Racial and Ethnic Diversity

EDI Team

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Darrell Hudson

Associate Professor of Public Health, Co-Director, Collaboration on Race, Inequality, and Social Mobility in America (CRISMA)

Office: Goldfarb Hall 242

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Vetta Sanders Thompson

E. Desmond Lee Professor of Racial and Ethnic Diversity

Office: Brown Hall 206

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Jewel Stafford, MSW

Assistant Dean, Office of Field Education, Teaching Professor, Director, Racial Equity Fellows Concentrations: Individualized

Office: Brown Hall 312

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Atia Thurman, MSW

Lecturer, Concentrations: Children, Youth & Families, Social Impact Leadership

Office: Brown Hall 305B

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee Commitment Statement

We seek to promote equity, racial and social justice through fair, inclusive, transparent, and sustainable practices and processes. We aspire to be catalysts for change and transformation, identifying barriers and co-creating solutions that will lead to greater justice.

We believe that all members of society are entitled to respect and may contribute to and participate in the decisions that determine the circumstances in which we live, regardless of positionality or social identity. We recognize that historically our respective professions and disciplines have not always upheld a commitment to support and advance the diverse perspectives held by members of our society and believe it is our individual and collective responsibility to rectify this reality, as it does not align with our shared ideals and values.To achieve our goals and aspirations:

  • We commit to understanding, analyzing, and responding to positionality that does not promote shared power and governance among students, staff, administration, faculty, and our collective campus community, as we challenge multi-systemic inequities and forms of oppression.
  • We commit to address inequities within and across the University, and as we engage with other systems providing access to or involved in the distribution of resources necessary to help create equitable infrastructures.
  • We commit to active engagement in the community- region, nation, and world – as we co-create knowledge to achieve respect, inclusion, opportunity, and access to the resources required for healthy, productive lives.

Land Acknowledgement for the Brown School

The Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis occupies the ancestral, traditional, and contemporary lands of the Wazhazhe or Osage nation, Missouria, known to themselves as Niutachi, Otoe, Illini or Illinois Confederacy, Ioway or Iowa, tribes and many other tribes as the custodians of the land where we reside, occupy, and call home. We recognize their sovereignty was never ceded after unjust removal. In offering this land acknowledgement, we affirm and support Tribal sovereignty, history and experiences by elders past, present, and seven generations yet to come through their continued connection to this land. We promote the inclusion of tribal history and current challenges faced by tribal communities, including environmental justice and land protection, food sovereignty, health inequity, and missing and murdered women. We encourage your own research on tribal removal and sovereignty, and the history of the land on which you reside.

To support your efforts, please link to the websites below.

U.S Department of Arts and Culture

Brown School Land Acknowledgment

Our Commitment

Social justice and equity are guiding principles of education, engagement and research at the Brown School. Appropriately, the School’s new strategic plan Driving Equity 2030 positions the Brown School to build on its history of academic distinction and scientific leadership to promote a better and more equitable society. The EDI team is committed to leading the Brown School’s progress on three goals:

  • Equity Pedagogy: Our approach to equity-centered pedagogy facilitates inclusive learning experiences and equitable achievement of learners from diverse backgrounds and identities.
  • Collective Knowledge Construction: We are committed to collective knowledge construction that disrupts systemic oppression and advances equity. Community-engaged scholarship will inform new solutions for achieving social, economic, health, environmental and racial justice.
  • Policies, Programs & Practices: We are cultivating an inclusive community where members across all identity groups participate in decisions that shape the institution and benefit from shared success. Furthermore, outcomes, as determined by individuals and communities, are no longer predicted by identity, access to resources or geography.

Our Progress

We are committed to inclusive participation in this journey. We will update you and share resources via this webpage, our newsletters and meetings. We are happy to share that the School continues to work toward:

  • A School that is more accessible and financially affordable.
  • Steady communications from the Office of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion that raise awareness of additional diversity trainings and events.
  • Faculty training focused on a more inclusive classroom experience, including use of Universal Design principles, mentoring with cultural awareness, equity communities of practice, and resource development.
  • We support diversity related programming for staff and students, including disability justice, managing difficult conversations in the classroom, giving feedback and reducing structural bias.
  • Communication and promotion of policies and practices that support an inclusive classroom, including accommodations for religious identity and practice, the use of preferred pronouns, use of preferred names, implementation of accommodations for students with disabilities.
  • We formally recognize the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day and we promote spoken Native Land Acknowledgement at the beginning of Brown School events.
  • We have created a guide that provides ideas for references and media to assist faculty in diversifying their syllabi.
  • Provided a summary of resources to assist you if you have a complaint involving discrimination, harassment, or bias.
  • Center for Community Health Partnership & Research (CCHPR) Community Engagement Library Guide.

Committee for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Despite progress, our work is ongoing. Led by the faculty, staff and students elected or appointed to the Brown School Committee for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee, we are pursuing a number of goals, including:

  • Implement equitable and inclusive recruitment, hiring, retention and advancement practices
  • Monitor and promote diversity among faculty, administrators, staff, and the student body at the Brown School
  • Institutionalize equity and inclusion training and resources for Brown School leadership
  • Connect our equity and inclusion commitment to the St. Louis community
  • Develop as a model for effective equity, diversity and inclusion policies and practices

Committee Appointments

Faculty, staff, and student representatives are to be nominated or self-nominated and elected to the committee by their peers. In an effort to maintain continuity and avoid complete rotation, committee members will serve minimum, staggered terms:

  • The Chair will serve a minimum 3-year term
  • Faculty and staff will serve minimum 2 – 3 year terms
  • Students will serve minimum 1 – 2 years terms
  • There are no limits to serving multiple terms.

Committee Members

​Chair​Vetta Sanders Thompson
​Ex-Oficio​Dorian Traube
Jacque Pullen
​Faculty​Alexis Duncan
Nancy Morrow-Howell
Kimberly Johnson
Alison Rico
Sunghei Han
Jewel Stafford
Atia Thurman
​Staff​Makia Alghamdi
Amber Brown
Da’Shaun Scott
Melissa Vetter
​Students​JanNiene Peoples (PhD)
Madison Williamson (SCC)
Cassandra Ezike (International SCC)

Diversity Resources of Interest to Staff, Students and Faculty

The university has robust resources dedicated to diversity and inclusion. These include Tell Brown, a place to share your thoughts, concerns and suggestions, a Bias Response Support System, and much more. Additional resources include Documentation Guidelines for Disability Resources, the WUSTL HR Policies and Employee Handbook, and guidelines and forms for the ADA Accommodation Process.

The university also keeps a religious holidays calendar, so you can be respectful of all in your event and course planning.

To learn about all of the various university resources, please visit diversity.wustl.edu.