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Dear Auburn Family,

My purpose in writing today is to provide a brief update, which I will do monthly, on progress of the university task force on equality and inclusion.

After formation of the task force on June 17, its members meet twice per week and will continue doing so. As a reminder, we asked this group, comprised of student, faculty and staff leaders, to develop recommendations leading to meaningful change and which we can implement administratively.

I am grateful to members of the Auburn Family who took the time to provide your thoughts and suggestions on effective next steps for the university. Your responses to our online survey were thoughtful and sincere and provided a baseline for the task force’s deliberations. Personally, I have also benefited from listening sessions with students and others.

In the last few weeks, task force members have discussed, among other topics, Auburn’s student recruitment practices and learned the status of recommendations from the 2016 climate survey. They also heard from SGA President Ada Ruth Huntley about plans for an essay contest, conducted in partnership with the Equal Justice Initiative, with winners receiving scholarship support.

While not related to the task force, Auburn’s Board of Trustees last week approved a plaza recognizing the legacy of Black Greek organizations at Auburn. It follows a unanimous vote by the Auburn Student Government Association and widespread support from students across campus, including the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic, calling for its creation. The National Pan-Hellenic Council Legacy Plaza will be located in front of the new Academic Classroom and Laboratory Complex and will provide a gathering place for all students.

As many of you know, recent social media posts have described past racial incidents on our campus. These posts remind us of the imperative to confront racism and uphold the values of the Auburn Family.

Finally, below I am providing names of task force members and the campus unit or constituency they represent. As you have helpful ideas, I encourage you to reach out to the individual who represents you. We will soon move from information gathering to developing recommended action steps, and your input remains critical to our success.


Jay Gogue


University Task Force on Equality and Inclusion

Lt. Gen. Ron Burgess (ret) – chair

Executive Vice President

Dr. Katrina A.R. Akande

Assistant Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Studies

University Senate Representative

Ms. Madison Birckhead

President, Panhellenic Council

Ms. Angela Cannon

Department of Human Resources

Administrative & Professional Staff Representative

Dr. Taffye Benson Clayton

Vice President, Inclusion and Diversity

Dr. Royrickers Cook

Vice President, University Outreach

Mr. C. Kevin Coonrod

University Ombudsperson

Ms. Elizabeth Devore

Graduate Student Council

Ms. Donielle Fagan

Counseling Psychology Doctoral Student/GRA/GTA

Graduate Students

Dr. Oladiran Fasina

Professor & Head, Department of Biosystems Engineering

Department Chair/Head Representative

Dr. Joffery Gaymon

Vice President, Enrollment Services

Mrs. Jaime Hammer

General Counsel

Dr. Bill Hardgrave


Ms. Ada Ruth Huntley

President, Student Government Association

Mr. Seymour Irby

President, Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity

Interfraternity Council

Mr. Ronny Isaac

President, National Pan-Hellenic Council

Dr. Vini Nathan

Dean, College of Architecture, Design and Construction

Dean Representative

Ms. Lastella Paradise

Department of Human Resources

Staff Council Representative

Coach Bruce Pearl

Men’s Basketball

Ms. Ja’Lia Taylor

Black Graduate and Professional Student Association

Mrs. Gretchen VanValkenburg

Vice President, Alumni Affairs