Syracuse University Holds Inaugural Racial Equity Academic Symposium Feb. 22-27


Weeklong event raises critical issues regarding racial equity and its impact on Black individuals

Feb. 16, 2021Syracuse University will hold its inaugural Racial Equity Academic Symposium from Feb. 22-27. The symposium will be held virtually and will include a full schedule of events, including student and faculty scholarly research and creative works presentations, performances, events, workshops and social activities.

From campus protests to inequities in the pandemic, and the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, there is an urgency to address systemic racism and its impact on Black people. Syracuse University is holding the Racial Equity Academic Symposium to provide a platform for the campus and surrounding community to engage in intellectual discourse about issues related to race and equity.

Presented by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Division of Faculty Affairs in the Office of Academic Affairs, the virtual symposium includes a week’s worth of events. The symposium centers on presentations that will be conducted by students and faculty. The scholarly research and creative works presentations will outline issues tied to race and equity and will be reviewed by a panel of faculty. “The current times require an enhanced understanding of the implications of race and equity,” says Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Keith A. Alford. “Our students brought issues to our campus that the entire world is now discussing in a manner that has not been evident in decades.”

The symposium schedule includes the presentations as well as poetry performances by poet and educator Nikki Giovanni and poet Keisha-Gaye Anderson as part of the Office of Multicultural Affairs’ Spoken Word Poetry Institute; discussions with author and MSNBC contributor Eddie S. Glaude Jr. , BET News host and CNN political contributor Marc Lamont Hill and labor economist Julianne Malveaux; the Renée Crown University Honors Program Spring Symposium and a host of events for students, faculty, staff, alumni and the broader community that will further promote discourse and action around issues of race and equity, including mental health, economic development, race, systemic racism, social justice and others.

The symposium will be held virtually and includes a full schedule of events such as student and faculty scholarly research and creative works’ presentations, performances, events, workshops, and social activities:

“The implications of race and equity are evident in every academic discipline and facet of our society,” says Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs LaVonda Reed. “All issues, particularly those of the greatest magnitude, require inquiry and research and dissemination of ideas to devise solutions and effect positive change. This symposium features students and faculty who are engaging in the discovery that will lead to the societal shifts this nation demands.”

In addition to presentations, the Racial Equity Academic Symposium planning team has developed a full schedule of events that attempt to touch on the multiple topics that racial equity spans. The planning team includes representation from students, faculty and staff across campus.

“We wanted the symposium to be a full campus endeavor because racial equity impacts our full campus, it impacts everyone,” says Executive Director of Strategic Communications and Initiatives Eboni Britt. “Our campus partners are just that, partners. They have contributed to this symposium in substantial ways, including through monetary contributions, planning and implementation support, and panel participation. We are heartened by the amount of interest and appreciate the great partnership.”


The Racial Equity Academic Symposium is sponsored by: Syracuse University Student Association, The College of Law, The Maxwell School of Syracuse University, The Division of Faculty Affairs in the Office of Academic Affairs, The Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Department of Communications and Rhetorical Studies – College of Visual and Performing Arts – Syracuse University,  The Lender Center for Social Justice – Syracuse University, Office of Multicultural Advancement