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Shippensburg University launches Anti-Racism Institute

The university is working to create a hub for students, faculty and the community, in hopes of finding ways to break down racial barriers.

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. — With discussions about race happening across the country, Shippensburg University is taking on a new initiative to get students, faculty and the community to engage in talks about race.

It's coming together in a collaborative way to find solutions, alluded Shippensburg University professor Stephanie A. Jirard, and that's the mission behind Shippensburg's Anti-Racism Institute.

This institute will be a place divergent views could gather and discuss.

Ms. Jirard has been a criminal justice professor for the last 17-years at the university and currently the chief diversity officer.

She spoke on how, now, is not the time to stay silent. Voices need to be heard. Jirard is one of four professors at Shippensburg leading the way to launch the new institute.  

Jirard said, "not to rewrite history, but to get to the common place where we are all in this together. Our safety and security, prosperity, happiness and liberty is all of us in the country, together. Working through these issues and that’s what’s missing.”

The idea of the Anti-Racism Institute came from Shippensburg's President Laurie Carter, seeing the importance of tackling this systematic and on-going problem. 

The institute will be the second of its kind at a Pennsylvania state-owned university. West Chester University currently has the Frederick Douglass Institute. Shippensburg wants to be able to partner with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and other state schools to have this program grow.

They hope to have this new initiative fully up and running by the fall of 2021.

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