Proposal to establish a: Commission on Race, Slavery, and Civil Rights at The University of Alabama

October 16, 2018

The University of Alabama Faculty Senate

We the members of the Faculty Senate at The University of Alabama propose that the University establish a formal commission to investigate the history of race, slavery, and civil rights on our campus, to publicize and to share the results, and to make recommendations for a comprehensive and responsible plan for curating, teaching, and promoting sustained dialogue on the history of The University of Alabama.

The purpose of this commission would be to share the rich and diverse history of UA from its slave past to its continued trajectory toward becoming a more diverse and inclusive campus since the first African American students enrolled. The commission will build on previous efforts that resulted in the Little Round House/Guard House historical marker, slavery apology marker, Hood-Malone Plaza, and the recent Autherine Lucy Foster historical marker. The intent is to encourage sustainability and continued engagement through:

  • Exploring the role of slavery and its legacy at The University of Alabama;
  • Promoting scholarly research using manuscript collections, conferences, and symposia;
  • Creating the necessary infrastructure for institutionalizing alternative campus tours (guided and self-guided);
  • Updating current campus tours to include more accurate and inclusive historical information about the university;
  • Examining the commemorative landscape for potential additional markers and signage that will better represent university history;
  • Creating permanent museum displays, library displays, and digital exhibitions on slavery and civil rights at The University;
  • Making recommendation for the undergraduate curriculum and/or orientation programs (BAMA Bound) regarding possible inclusion of the University history;
  • Creating strategic co-curricular activities for students;
  • Coordinating with other community groups and institutions doing similar work; and
  • Securing federal, state, and private funding for supporting proposed efforts.

The work of the proposed commission will be ongoing and transparent. The collaborative efforts will ensure that all campus stakeholders – students, prospective students, faculty, staff, alumni, and visitors –can learn about Alabama’s history and engage in valuable conversations with empathy and respect. Moreover, the work will not belong to one individual or entity but will create the necessary institutional infrastructure for sustainability. It will fulfill several of the recommendations entailed in the October 2017 Diversity Mapping Project report. Possible Task Force Members:

  • Faculty currently engaged with researching campus history (individuals have choice to participate or not)
  • Faculty Senate representatives UA Museums and Libraries representatives
  • Black Faculty and Staff Association representatives
  • Vice President and Associate Provost for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Division of Student Life Passed unanimously, with one abstention, by the University of Alabama Faculty Senate on October 16, 2018.

Click here to see a Word document containing the content above.

Karen Steckol Academic Regalia Loan Project

To encourage the participation of faculty at commencement exercises, the Faculty Senate has assembled a collection of academic regalia. This project was initiated by the late Dr. Karen Steckol, former President of the Faculty Senate, and Professor and Chair of the Department of Communicative Disorders; in her memory the program was named the Karen Steckol Academic Regalia Loan Program.

The regalia are maintained by the Senate and loaned to faculty on a first-come, first-served basis immediately prior to each commencement ceremony.

Please contact Linda Knowles (; 348-6635), Administrative Secretary to the Faculty Senate, to reserve regalia and to arrange pick-up.  Clean regalia must be returned to room 401 Martha Parham West between 8:00 am and 4:45 pm on Tuesday or Thursday of the week immediately following Commencement.

Regalia donations may be delivered to room 401 Martha Parham West between 8:00 am and 4:45 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Please contact Linda Knowles (; 348-6635) to ensure that she is available to accept the donation or the return of borrowed regalia.

Results of the Faculty Climate Survey

A Faculty Climate Survey was administered to full-time and part-time faculty by the Faculty Senate of the University of Alabama during April 2015. The survey itself was written by the Faculty Life committee of the Senate during the 2014-15 academic year, with the goal of gathering the opinions and interests of the faculty with regard to a set of key issues. The survey was designed so that it might be administered in a similar form in future years, so as to gather comparative data.

The survey results are in two documents:

Faculty Climate Survey 2015 – tabular data

Faculty Climate Survey 2015 – narrative comments

Officers 2015-16


Donna Meester
Associate Professor, Theatre and Dance, 348-9032

Vice President

Ed Stephenson
Professor, Biological Sciences, 348-1828


Rona Donahoe
Professor, Geological Sciences, 348-1879

Administrative Secretary

Linda Knowles, 348-6635
401 Martha Parham West