In 1986, the University established the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America (CSREA), one of the nation’s earliest academic centers dedicated to research, scholarship, and academic exchanges on issues of race and ethnicity.
In 2003, President Ruth Simmons appointed a steering committee on Slavery and Justice to explore Brown’s historical relationship to slavery and the transatlantic slave trade and its legacies of inequity and injustice. The committee culminated with its 2006 report, detailing the role of Brown’s founders and benefactors in the slave trade and the benefits the University derived from these activities. Brown released a second edition in 2021 that offered insights into this report’s persistent and evolving impact, both on and beyond Brown’s campus.
One primary recommendation from the original report was to create the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice (CSSJ), which was formally established in 2012.
In 2013, President Christina H. Paxson introduced her strategic plan, Building on Distinction. One of its central themes was “building peaceful, just, and prosperous societies,” with a goal of leveraging Brown’s strength in using a multidisciplinary approach to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges.
Born from that idea was the Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion: An Action Plan for Brown University, commonly referred to as the DIAP. Released in 2016, the DIAP serves as the University’s comprehensive strategic plan to create and sustain a diverse and inclusive community.
Bringing this plan to fruition is the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity (OIED), led by Dr. Sylvia Carey-Butler. Together, they are helping Brown to foster an environment of academic excellence, expand Brown’s curriculum to include diversity and inclusion-related topics, create a respectful community that counteracts injustices, collect and share data to measure progress, and recruit students, faculty, and staff from historically underrepresented groups.