Duke University is among 10 universities nationwide that will host a campus center for racial healing and transformation, the Association of American Colleges and Universities announced Wednesday.
The Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) Center will host research and engagement efforts between the Duke and Durham communities. It will be led by Charmaine Royal, associate professor of African and African American Studies, biology and community and family medicine.
“The goal of our Duke TRHT Campus Center is to strengthen Duke University’s position as a catalyst of change in partnership with the City of Durham to help eliminate deeply rooted beliefs and societal structures that perpetuate racism,” said Provost Sally Kornbluth in a Duke Today release.
Royal wrote in an email Sunday that the center will gather empirical evidence from both Duke and Durham to understand people's knowledge about human variation and the related beliefs and attitudes. Edward Balleisen, vice provost for interdisciplinary studies, said the center will combine biological and social sciences with the arts and humanities.
TRHT is a nationwide initiative launched in 2016 and sponsored by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Newman’s Own Foundation. 125 colleges and universities applied to host a center but only 10 were selected.
In his email to Duke students, faculty and staff announcing the statue’s removal, President Vincent Price wrote that Duke administration will explore “explore various aspects of Duke's history” this year.
He also wrote that Duke will form a committee “to advise on next steps and to assist us in navigating the role of memory and history at Duke.” He added there would be a library exhibition and forum to explore academic freedom and freedom of speech at Duke, with details to be announced later.
In the release announcing the new center, AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella said the initiative is especially important after last weekend’s events in Charlottesville, Va. to help “transform words into action.”
"The selection of Duke as one of these centers could not be more timely,” Kornbluth said. “Duke, our country and our world have much work to do and the national TRHT initiative will play a significant role in facilitating social change.”
Correction: This article was updated 1:30 p.m. Tuesday to reflect that TRHT will not be using empirical evidence to study human variation, but rather people's knowledge about human variation.
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