In a third update regarding the work that the UC Davis athletics department is doing on behalf of diversity, equity and inclusion, Aggie Director of Athletics Kevin Blue on Monday talked about some additional commitments.
Blue had the following to say:
• “To ensure that diversity, equity, and inclusion continues to build as a top organizational priority, we’ve promoted Dwight Smith to the senior staff role of executive director, for athletics diversity, dquity, and inclusion. On a full-time basis, Smith (a Davis High and UCD graduate who played football at both schools) will continue to lead our DEI efforts and coordinate with resources from the larger diversity, equity, and inclusion infrastructure on campus.
“Additionally, we’ve restructured our DEI Advisory Committee at UC Davis athletics. The committee is convening on a monthly basis and is newly chaired by associate head coach for women’s volleyball Nicole Miller.
• “(This week) we are publishing a webpage — ucdavisaggies.com/sports/2020/8/12/dei-resources.aspx — that contains important information and resources about diversity, equity and inclusion.
“The DEI resource hub is a live webpage which aggregates the important materials that we are using for learning and advocacy so they can be viewed by all members of our community.”
• “In recent weeks we’ve engaged in a number of activities to continue building our culture of learning.
“Smith is hosting a series of ‘lunch-and-learn’ sessions for all staff and coaches. They cover a number of topics. The first session focused on student-athlete activism and the shifting landscape of college athletics. The second session featured a discussion about microaggressions and featured Dr. Kupiri Ackerman-Barger, a guest expert from UC Davis Health.
“Lunch-and-learn sessions will continue with the next session featuring Dr. Scott Carrell (faculty athletics representative) discussing his research in economics about structural inequality in education.
“We have also scheduled training for all student-athletes, coaches and staff members from athletics diversity and inclusion consultant Jen Fry. These mandatory training sessions will occur Sept. 28 and 29.”
• “The Big West Conference started a committee to work on conference-wide diversity, equity and inclusion issues. UCS is represented Smith and track-and-field student-athlete Flo Oliveira (president of the Coalition of African Diaspora Student-Athletes on campus). She has been involved (along with track alum Mikaela Adolphus) in discussions with U.S. Sen. Cory Booker on possible legislative changes related to college athletics.
“We’ve also engaged with numerous alumni who have been eager to support the growth and sustainability of our DEI and anti-racism efforts. Alumni have been interested in making financial contributions, connecting underrepresented student-athletes with career opportunities and serving as role models.”
Blue pledged to remain “sharply focused on our efforts to be anti-racist and grow our capabilities related to diversity, equity and inclusion at UC Davis athletics.