More than 100 people, including students, staff, faculty and Clemson community members, took part in the first meeting of a presidential task force designed to accelerate the University’s inclusion and equity journey Wednesday, Aug. 26.

President Jim Clements, who mandated the prompt organization of the President’s Social Justice and Equity Task Force in July in response to widespread national unrest, addressed the gathering via Zoom.

“This is a high priority,” said Clements. “I’m asking this task force – what can we do at Clemson to make sure that racism has absolutely no place on this campus?”

The overarching goals of the task force are to change behavior by extinguishing racism and replacing it with greater respect and awareness; to eliminate disparities by identifying and closing all racial, gender and achievement gaps in learning, success, professional advancement and health and welfare; and to build a more diverse university community by increasing recruitment and retention of underrepresented minorities and international students.

“I’m asking this task force to think about Clemson 2030, Clemson 2040, Clemson 2050,” said President Clements.

A slide of the "President's Charge" with President Clements visible in a box in the upper right corner

President Clements shows a slide, via Zoom, during the inaugural meeting of the President’s Social Justice and Equity Task Force.

The task force consists of more than 150 people representing a wide range of stakeholders including students, faculty, staff, alumni and community leaders. Each subcommittee is charged with a specific focus area and will deliver reports with action plans by Oct. 30.

Conveners, leaders of each subcommittee, will present recommendations to the Council for Diversity and Inclusion (CUCDI) and the President’s Social Justice and Equity Task Force Nov. 12.

Representing the entire University, CUCDI will then review items within the framework, develop prioritized action plans and present the overarching strategy to the Executive Leadership Team.

Clements acknowledged the enormity of the task but expressed confidence that the combined experience and ingenuity represented by the task force members would be more than capable of rising to the challenge.

“I ask that you think creatively, be innovative and bold in your thinking,” he said.