Committee on Racial Justice

About the Committee

The Committee on Racial Justice, created in July 2020, works to provide opportunities for dialogue among faculty and staff related to racial equity, diversity and inclusion. 

Our Charge

The University at Albany is committed to achieving a status of true diversity, equity and inclusion across its campus. 

The current moment in the history of our country – marked by broad social unrest under the rallying cry of Black Lives Matter and accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic – provides a unique opportunity for us to do so.  

As a University, we have a critical role to play in ensuring that our academic community develops a thorough understanding of the history of racial injustice in the United States, its impact on higher education and its implications for the current status of diversity here at UAlbany.  

Acquiring this background information is imperative if we are to fully comprehend how the people of color in our community experience the UAlbany campus climate.

Based on this understanding, we as a campus will develop initiatives, policies and practices that will result in creating the inclusive environment we envision.  

To that end, the committee is charged with the following responsibilities:   

  • Developing a comprehensive plan to: 

    • deepen our understanding of race and racial justice and promote appreciation of diversity and inclusion 

    • promote a harmonious community culture that addresses micro-aggressions and other toxic behaviors and calls them out wherever they surface

    • develop a vision for an inclusive campus climate to be incorporated into all campus diversity and inclusion operational plans

  • Implementing programming, including: 

    • listening sessions with senior level staff, looking at the history of racial injustice in the U.S., its impact on higher education and its effects on the status of diversity at UAlbany 

    • campus community dialogues that unpack factors that create racial injustices 

    • ally training sessions and ally building across campus 

  • Developing metrics to systematically assess progress of efforts  

  • Presenting semi-annual reports to ODI on outcomes, accomplishments and challenge 

Our Members


Karyn Loscocco, Professor of Sociology 
Arts and Sciences 321 | |518-442-4680 

Alex Pieterse, Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology 
Catskill 213 | | 518-437-4423 

Joyce Dewitt-Parker, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs 
Health & Counseling, Dutch Quad | | 518-442-5800 


Alejandra Bronfman, Associate Professor and Chair of Latin American, Caribbean & Latino Studies 
Social Science 250 | | 518-442-4890 

Samuel Caldwell, Interim Chief Diversity Officer, Office of Diversity and Inclusion 
University Hall 207 | | 518-956-8112 

Yu-Hui Chen, Subject Librarian for Education and East Asian Studies 
LI 304 | | 518-442-3586 

Ho Kwan Cheung, Assistant Professor of Psychology 
Social Science 377 | | 518-442-4820 

Sylvia Roch, Associate Professor of Psychology 
Social Sciences 358 | | 518- 442-5962 

Carol Rodgers, Associate Professor of Educational Theory & Practice 
Catskill 265 | | 518-442-5020 

Sheila Seery, Vice President of Government & Community Relations 
University Hall 104F | | 518-956-8163

Marcia Sutherland, Associate Professor & Chair of Africana Studies 
Hudson 151 | | 518-442-4248 

Brian Tang, Associate Professor of Atmospheric & Environmental Sciences 
Earth Science 324 | | 518-442-4572 

Elizabeth Vasquez, Associate Professor of Epidemiology & Biostatistics 
Health Sciences Campus 129 GEC | | 518-408-2362 

Dev Dalal, Assistant Professor of Psychology 
Social Sciences 385 | | 518-442-4820 

Laurie Garafola, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs, Community Development 
University Hall 206 | | 518-956-8140 

Ekow King, Assistant to Vice President of Student Affairs, Director of Intercultural Student Engagement 
Campus Center 130 | | 518-442-5565 

Dina Refki, Executive Director of the Center for Women in Government & Civil Society | 518-442-3900 

Student Representatives

Damilola Adesanya, President Student Association

Amy Zhang, Business/Management Senator, Student Association

Lisabeth Kelly, GSA Equity and Inclusion Chair, Graduate Student Association

Ajay Raghavendra, President, Graduate Student Association

Abdoullah Goudiaby

Oluwatumilara Olusanya

Workshop Series: The 1619 Project 

The committee will host several workshops exploring The 1619 Project, a New York Times Magazine initiative comprised of a series of essays highlighting our country’s history by "placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the very center of the national narrative."  

Download the full issue of The 1619 Project.

Download the Reading Guide for The 1619 Project.

Listen to "1619," a podcast by The New York Times.

Workshops on "The Idea of America"

We have selected the essay "The Idea of America," by Nikole Hannah-Jones, to kick off this series.

The learning objectives for this essay include exploring: 

  1. how laws, policies, and systems developed to enforce the enslavement of Black Americans before the Civil War influenced laws, policies, and systems in years since; and,

  2. how activism by Black Americans throughout U.S. history has contributed to laws/policies that have benefited all people living in the U.S. 

We will discuss this essay in a three-part workshop:

Part One – Watch a video of this presentation held on Thursday, October 22.

A panel discussion exploring how laws, policies, and systems developed to enforce the enslavement of Black Americans before the Civil War influenced laws, policies, and systems in years since. 

Part Two – 1 p.m. Thursday, October 29

Small group dialogues exploring how activism by Black Americans throughout U.S. history has contributed to laws/policies that have benefited all people living in the U.S. Register for the October 29 webinar in advance.


Rockefeller College Your Vote Rocks Election Series

 Noon Thursday, November 6

"Where has the Pandemic Election Finally Brought the Nation?" Registration for the November 6 webinar in advance

Noon Thursday, November 10

"Unpacking the Results." Registration for the November 10 webinar in advance