Georgia State University has been praised by peers in recent years for its work in educating and graduating African American students. About 40% of its students are African American. Georgia State has nearly 54,000 students, the largest enrollment in the state.
While 75% of its students are nonwhite, about 32% of its faculty are nonwhite, according to a 2018 state report. Georgia State last year created a committee to explore improving faculty diversity.
The faculty and administrative diversity percentages must get better, said Tanya Washington, a law school professor who started the petition.
“What we need are some concrete changes that result in manifest outcomes that benefit black faculty,” Washington said in an interview Friday.
Becker emailed Washington on Thursday to say that he shared the petition with the task force, adding “this is an extraordinary moment in history, we must do what we can to end racism and racial violence.”
Task force chairman Jonathan Gayles, also chair of the university’s African American studies department, said in an interview Friday he hopes the work is done quickly “because of the urgency of the moment.”
“My greatest hope is Georgia State expands its narrative beyond our groundbreaking success with student achievement to include a narrative that includes black lives, justice and equality,” he said.