The Presidential Initiative on Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence (ARIE) was established in July 2020 by President Washington to ensure that George Mason University (Mason) creates an inclusive and equitable campus environment in which every member of our community, without exception, is valued, supported, and experiences a sense of belonging. Students, faculty, and staff members have lent significant time, energy, and expertise to move us from one milestone to the next.
In Fall 2020, the President established the ARIE Taskforce and several committees to facilitate a comprehensive scan of Mason’s campus environment. The committees were Campus and Community Engagement, Curriculum and Pedagogy, Research, Student Voice, Training and Development, and University Policies and Practices. In November, the President held a Freedom & Learning Forum on Racial Justice, Anti-Racism, and Inclusion that provided an opportunity for the campus community to participate in dialogue with key leaders on issues of campus climate, racial justice, equity and inclusion.
By spring of 2021, the working groups had submitted comprehensive reports that included recommendations for the broader Mason community. With the ARIE Taskforce, the President held Townhalls to gather community feedback and refine the proposed recommendations. By late spring, President Washington charged an Implementation Leadership Team to move the recommendations forward in the upcoming year under the leadership of the incoming Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer.
In Summer 2021, the ARIE Taskforce transitioned to the implementation phase of the ARIE Initiative. Since Dr. Sharnnia Artis joined our Mason community in Fall 2021, the ARIE Implementation Leadership Team (ILT) was appointed, and they met regularly while making meaningful headway. The President also constituted the Implementation Working Groups (IWGs), each with a liaison to the ILT, who continue actively working to ensure progress on the recommendations.