The Southeastern Conference on Thursday announced the creation of the SEC Council on Racial Equity and Social Justice, a league-wide body consisting of a diverse group of student-athletes, administrators, coaches and SEC staff.
Representing Ole Miss will be Dr. Charlotte Fant Pegues, Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, as well as Ole Miss head coach for track & field and cross country, Connie Price-Smith. Also taking part will be Ole Miss members of SEC student-athlete engagement programs and leadership councils: MoMo Sanogo from the SEC Football Leadership Council, Austin Crowley from the SEC Men’s Basketball Leadership Council, Donnetta Johnson from the SEC Women’s Basketball Leadership Council, as well as football’s Mac Brown and volleyball’s Aubrey Sultemeier from the SEC Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
The Council will identify resources, outline strategies and assist with implementation of efforts that, when taken together, will promote racial equity and social justice, while also fostering diversity, helping overcome racism and pursuing non-discrimination in intercollegiate athletics.
“An important movement has been ignited around the equitable treatment of all underrepresented minorities, and the SEC is determined to be a leader in the pursuit of meaningful and lasting change,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. “With the Council as our guide, we will develop an action agenda built on the foundation that all are created equal and ensure this truth echoes across our stadiums, our arenas, our campuses, our communities, our states and our nation.”
Members of the Council include individuals from within the Conference’s existing student-athlete engagement program – a multi-faceted effort involving more than 60 student leaders in football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball and all other SEC sponsored sports. Racial equity and social justice will be required discussions during all student-athlete leadership and advisory council meetings, while those groups’ chairs, vice-chairs and/or other identified leaders will participate in Council meetings.
In addition, the Council will include administrative leaders from each campus and head coaches from each SEC sport (see full list below), who will regularly meet with SEC student-athletes to better understand and respond to their questions and concerns.
“Today’s youth are our leaders and change agents of tomorrow, and by listening, asking and seeking their insights and counsel, we have begun the shared journey toward racial equality,” said Sankey.
Alongside student-athletes, the SEC has used the past several weeks to gather and understand perspectives from a range of stakeholders across its 14 campuses, including presidents and chancellors, directors of athletics, senior woman administrators, faculty athletics representatives, various sport head coaches, mental health professionals and the SEC staff.
Those discussions helped create a framework for the Council, which will provide ongoing guidance to the SEC office and updates to Conference leaders at regular intervals. The Council will initially focus on the following five strategic areas:
- Increasing access and representation for underrepresented minorities
- Providing enhanced support for underrepresented minorities
- Improving education on racial and social issues for all stakeholders
- Deepening commitments to local communities
- Raising awareness of racial inequity and social injustice
Among other efforts, the Council will be tasked with identifying resources related to racial equity and social justice for educational and professional development programs for athletics department staff, coaches and student-athletes; outlining support mechanisms for underrepresented minorities within the athletics department; and identifying opportunities for the SEC to bolster ongoing university and athletics department diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. In addition, the Council will advise athletics departments and the Conference office on ways student-athletes, coaches and staff may fulfill their ongoing civic responsibilities in the electoral process.
Coupled with student-athlete participation, members of the SEC Council on Racial Equity and Social Justice include the following university administrators and head coaches.
- University of Alabama – Dr. James King, Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in the Culverhouse College of Business & Faculty Athletics Representative
- University of Arkansas – Derita Ratcliffe, Deputy Director of Athletics & Senior Woman Administrator
- Auburn University – Allen Greene, Director of Athletics
- University of Florida – Dr. Chris Hass, Associate Provost for Academic & Faculty Affairs
- University of Georgia – Darrice Griffin, Deputy Director of Athletics
- University of Kentucky – Melissa Gleason, Executive Associate Director of Athletics & Chief Financial Officer
- Louisiana State University – Dr. Dereck Rovaris, Vice Provost for Diversity & Chief Diversity Officer
- University of Mississippi – Dr. Charlotte Fant Pegues, Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
- Mississippi State University – Dr. Angel Brutus, Assistant Director of Athletics in Counseling and Sport Psychology Services
- University of Missouri – Kamrhan Farwell, Vice Chancellor for Communications & Marketing
- University of South Carolina – Julian Williams, Vice President for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
- University of Tennessee – Tyvi Small, Vice Chancellor for Diversity & Engagement
- Texas A&M University – Michael Thompson, Deputy Director of Athletics
- Vanderbilt University – Dr. Candice Storey Lee, Director of Athletics
- Baseball – Tim Corbin, Vanderbilt University
- Men’s Basketball – Cuonzo Martin, University of Missouri
- Women’s Basketball – Dawn Staley, University of South Carolina
- Equestrian – Meghan Boenig, University of Georgia
- Football – Derek Mason, Vanderbilt University
- Men’s Golf – Nick Clinard, Auburn University
- Women’s Golf – Ginger Brown-Lemm, Mississippi State University
- Gymnastics – Tim Garrison, University of Kentucky
- Soccer – G. Guerrieri, Texas A&M University
- Softball – Pat Murphy, University of Alabama
- Men’s and Women’s Swimming & Diving
- Neil Harper, University of Arkansas
- Anthony Nesty, University of Florida
- Men’s Tennis – Bryan Shelton, University of Florida
- Women’s Tennis – Allison Ojeda, University of Tennessee
- Men’s and Women’s Track & Field/Cross Country
- Lonnie Greene, University of Kentucky
- Connie Price-Smith, Ole Miss
- Volleyball – Fran Flory, LSU