Two Universities Undergo Antiracist Audits - in Their Libraries

(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Call ’em the IRS — the “Interrupting Racism” Schools.

They’re about to undergo an audit.

As reported by The Daily Wire, Binghamton University and the University of Delaware are launching “anti-racism talent management audits.”


And the probes will last all year long.

Don’t know much about antiracism? Educate yourself:

Per a press release by auditing firm Ithaka S+R, the focus will be “equity and justice” issues within the colleges’ library systems.

According to the Wire, here’s what Ithaka’s itchin’ to do:

To strengthen organizational equity and justice, over the coming year [we will] launch an anti-racism talent management audit.We will work together to identify actionable reforms, building on and extending the impact of prior Ithaka S+R projects on representational diversity, organizational culture, and community engagement undertaken with library, museum, and archive partners.

And what catalyzed such an inquisition?

As laid out officially, it was the disturbing death of a Minneapolis man:

In the months following the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent national reckoning for racial equity led by the Black Lives Matter movement, many higher education institutions pledged to renew their commitments to progress on racial justice imperatives. While equity, diversity, and inclusion have long been described by higher education leaders as strategic priorities of their institutions, many have now devoted resources to move beyond affirmations of institutional values and toward activities that actively fight racism.


You may remember that not long ago, the notion of racism within America’s systems entered the national conversation — did it actually exist?

It seems before a conversation might be had, everyone erred on the side of Yes.

Ithaka confirms the scourge is all over:

Across organizations and sectors, systemic racism and resulting inequities have had a disproportionate impact on Black staff members, and given this, the audit will maintain a strong emphasis on organizational culture and climate issues affecting Black employees in particular.

To fight it, they’ll be looking for patterns:

[W]e will inventory policies, practices, and outcomes related to recruitment, employment, promotion, and retention patterns at our libraries. … We will take an inclusive and holistic approach, gathering perspectives from both library leadership and employees, examining policy documentation, and analyzing representational diversity. At the culmination of the initiative, Ithaka S+R will facilitate a workshop with library leadership to target areas for improvement and begin to set goals and mechanisms for tracking future progress.

For those especially interested, there’ll be a discussion April 14th at the Association of College and Research Libraries 2021 conference.


In the meantime, if you’re really interested in antiracism — an approach that calls colorblindness a “microaggression” — and you’re a library person, I’ve got great news.

If the position hasn’t yet been filled, Harvard’s searching for an Antiracist Librarian.

The pay: $133,300 to $240,000.

Now that sounds like it could ignite an audit.

Either way, good luck, Binghamton and U of D. I hope you all set straight your sinister systems.



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