Syracuse University has appointed a director for diversity in campus sports, creating a new position in response to the nationwide protests about the poor racial climate in the country.
The university announced it has named Salatha Willis associate athletic director of diversity, culture and climate. Willis has been serving as associate director of the university’s Office of Student-Athlete Academic Development. In his new position, he will work toward creating an engaged, inclusive and equitable culture for student-athletes, administrators, coaches and staff in the university’s athletics department, Syracuse said.
“Our society is going through an incredibly challenging time,” Syracuse athletic director John Wildhack told the Associated Press. “Whether it’s Ahmaud Arbery, whether it’s George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, there are blatant acts of racism and people murdered. You combine that with 400 years of systemic oppression of Black people, if we’re going to be a change agent, then we need to recognize that we need to change and we need to do better. The time is right, we have the right individual. Let’s act.”
Wildhack said Willis is an “extraordinary” leader and communicator.
“He is the right person to take on this new role and challenge, focusing on the advancement of diversity, equity and inclusion that will effect real culture change for all of our student-athletes and the entire Department of Athletics,” Wildhack said.