Press Release

AAC&U Releases New Report on Campus-Community Collaboration to Break Down Racial Hierarchies and to Promote Equity and Racial Healing

Washington, DC—July 2, 2020—The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) today released the first report from its Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Campus Centers effort. Titled We Hold These Truths: Dismantling Racial Hierarchies, Building Equitable Communities, the report documents the innovative work now underway at ten trailblazing colleges and universities to address the historical and contemporary effects of racism—on our campuses, in our communities, and for our nation. In partnership with AAC&U, these institutions have established dedicated Centers to engage and empower campus and community stakeholders to break down racial hierarchies and to promote equity and racial healing on their campuses and in their communities.

“This new report makes a compelling case for colleges and universities as unique venues for examining and confronting the past,” said AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella. “It provides evidence—and hope—that, working alongside community partners, colleges and universities can help transform the racial narrative and heal the wounds of racism’s legacies.”

TRHT Campus Centers are designed to implement ambitious, visionary action plans organized around the Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) framework developed by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to help communities heal and to produce actionable change. AAC&U joined the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s TRHT effort in 2016. In 2017, through a competitive process, the ten colleges and universities featured in We Hold These Truths were selected by AAC&U to host the initial cohort of TRHT Campus Centers:

  • Austin Community College (TX)
  • Brown University (RI)
  • Duke University (NC)
  • Hamline University (MN)
  • Millsaps College (MS)
  • Rutgers University—Newark (NJ)
  • Spelman College (GA)
  • The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina (SC)
  • University of Hawai’i at Mānoa (HI)
  • University of Maryland Baltimore County (MD)

A second cohort was selected in 2019, bringing the number of colleges and universities now hosting TRHT Campus Centers to twenty-four. In partnership with AAC&U, these institutions are preparing the next generation of leaders to overcome the false belief in a hierarchy of human value and to build equitable communities.

“Our role as educators is critical in helping to address systemic and structural racism in our society,” said Tia Brown McNair, AAC&U Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Student Success and Executive Director for the TRHT Campus Centers. “We have a responsibility to educate all students on the historical, social, political, and cultural contexts that perpetuate hate in our society. This education must start by recognizing as truth the trauma that many in our communities have and are experiencing as a result of racism, and by seeking to develop mechanisms for healing and transformation toward an anti-racist society that achieves the goals of the TRHT effort.”

AAC&U’s TRHT Campus Centers effort is supported by a grant from the Papa John’s Foundation and by a grant from Newman’s Own Foundation, which also supported publication of We Hold These Truths.

Credentialed media can obtain copies of the report by contacting David Tritelli at [email protected].

About AAC&U

AAC&U is the leading national association dedicated to advancing the vitality and public standing of liberal education by making quality and equity the foundations for excellence in undergraduate education in service to democracy. Its members are committed to extending the advantages of a liberal education to all students, regardless of academic specialization or intended career. Founded in 1915, AAC&U now comprises more than 1,400 member institutions—including accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, research universities, and comprehensive universities of every type and size.

AAC&U functions as a catalyst and facilitator, forging links among presidents, administrators, faculty, and staff engaged in institutional and curricular planning. Through a broad range of activities, AAC&U reinforces the collective commitment to liberal education at the national, local, and global levels. Its high-quality programs, publications, research, meetings, institutes, public outreach efforts, and campus-based projects help individual institutions ensure that the quality of student learning is central to their work as they evolve to meet new economic and social challenges.