Brief Program Summary: The basis for the Hub for Black Affairs and Community Engagement
proposal was in response to President Danko’s email of June 19, 2020– a day that
commemorates Juneteenth where he acknowledged systemic racism and institutionalized
oppressive conditions that have made it difficult for Black people collectively to thrive. President
Danko mentioned four particular areas of accountability: Education, Organization, Behavior and
Procedure, with a clear commitment to effect real change.
The Hub is anchored in the abolitionist roots of Butler University, founded by Ovid Butler in 1855
that included African Americans and women as part of the admission process. It elevates and
centers the disparate Black voice that has been sidelined and sometimes oppressed as evidenced
by the policy of the 1920s that allowed only ten Black students to be admitted and the current
Black faculty, staff and students who still face marginalizing campus experiences today, that often
leave us demeaned and traumatized.
It is intentionally related to the current focus and heightened awareness of the ongoing systemic
injustices that are faced by Black people. It fully embraces the long-term dedication and expertise
of faculty in academic areas of diversity whose work in and out of the classroom is already in
place to be supportive, focused and in alignment with the imperative to address racialized and
intersectional disparities both within and outside of the institution. And further, this Hub will both
deepen and elevate a significant level of intersectional expertise across Butler University that can
readily respond to the many ongoing and expected issues that may arise in relationship to
systemic and institutional racism.
The timing of this Hub is also in the context of the city of Indianapolis celebrating its Bicentennial
which itself is going through a reflective time of racial reconciliation. It dovetails with the United
Nations International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024) and aligns with their
global diasporic lens to address the challenges facing our local Black Butler and Indianapolis
community. [There is] a palpable energy around both the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter
Movement, and Butler University has the chance to be a leader in the local and even national
community. Like many institutions of higher learning around the country, Butler needs to take
inventory of its own practices and properly recognize the relevant work the University is already
doing to respond to the moral imperative resounding in the streets. The establishment of the Butler
University Hub for Black Affairs and Community Engagement serves as a central repository of
the institution’s efforts from all corners of the campus so that this information can be quickly
dispatched, both for purposes of connecting communities to Butler and within Butler, and for
making visible the deep and abiding commitment to social and racial justice.