KU Leads supports and educates student-athletes with the skills necessary to succeed throughout their intercollegiate athletic, personal and professional life. We are currently training student-athletes to be more inclusive in their thoughts and actions and to lead with action and thoughtfulness.
Established in June of 2020, the Kansas Athletics Diversity Leadership Council is charged with creating and sustaining actionable items to promote an atmosphere of diversity, equity and inclusion by providing educational materials and opportunities for the advancement of minorities and members of underrepresented groups. The council includes current coaches, senior level administrators, staff and former student-athletes.
The council and its subcommittees meet regularly to discuss various issues and offer resources for the athletics department staff, coaches and student-athletes to support our desire to build and maintain an inclusive and diverse environment.
|Paul Pierce II (Chair)
|Lisa Braddy (Former WBB Student-Athlete)
|David Johnston (Former T&F/XC Student-Athlete)
|Wayne Simien (Former MBB Student-Athlete)
|Darrell Stuckey (Former FB Student-Athlete)
|Tayler Tolefree (Former VB Student-Athlete)
The Kansas Athletics Women’s Mentorship Program was launched in March, 2019 with the goal of strengthening the culture for women at Kansas Athletics and wherever their career paths lead in the future. The WMP provides female staff an interactive space to learn, to advise, engage and support each other. We foster diverse, positive relationships between women of all experiences and backgrounds through intentional one-on-one matches, larger group meetings and panels, and guest speakers. Monthly topics are shared via online platform, with monthly content for individual and group efforts.
Launched in September 2020, this group is open to all Kansas Athletics staff who identify as an ethnic minority, with a focus on programming that promotes a sense of community and retention within the Lawrence community.
KU R.I.S.E. (Redefine. Inspire. Support. Empower.) is a student-athlete organization that strives to bring together student-athletes of different cultures, ethnicities, lifestyles, and belief systems to enhance their experience on the University of Kansas (KU) campus. It is a program that dedicates itself towards providing a safe space and community for any student-athletes who identifies as a minority. The programming consist of discussions and activities that are real and relevant topics in an environment that fosters support and empowerment. R.I.S.E. is devoted to providing the student-athlete population with opportunities to strengthen their understanding of one another and their fellow student body.
KU Leads and Kansas Athletics collaborate with Athlete Ally, an organization dedicated to taking a stand against homophobia and transphobia in sports by bringing a message of respect, inclusion and equality to our athletic community.
Employee-based committee created to identify and recruit qualified members of underrepresented demographic groups, with the goal of creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce. Members of the committee assist human resources and hiring managers prior to and during the interview process for vacant KAI positions.
|Paul Pierce II
|Jamie Hays Szelc
The Big 12 Black Assistant Coaches Alliance was formed in 2020 to combat social injustices. The intent of this group is to work in concert with each member institution’s student-athlete development unit. The alliance will focus its efforts to assist in educating, unifying, serving and supporting all Big 12 student-athletes and coaches.
The core values of the alliance are:
- To educate through organizing fact-based literature, speakers and event that would encourage awareness and knowledge
- To unify by including all student-athletes and coaches with the Big 12 Conference to participate in organized events
- To serve by being physically present and active in providing information and participating in all events and activities
- To support intercollegiate collaborative initiatives that holistically advance our mission
This new task force is charged with reviewing KU Public Safety policies, practices and procedures; examining national best practices and proposals for change; and making recommendations to the Office of the Chancellor regarding potential improvements to ensure respectful, transparent and community-responsive public safety services.
The task force is comprised of approximately 25 students, faculty and staff from across the university and is chaired by Distinguished Professor Charles Epp.
Members serve 2- or 3-year terms or appointments and be tasked with multiple objectives, including evaluating existing policies, programs and structures at KU to ensure they foster and support diversity, equity and inclusion.
This team will also recommend changes as needed in order to create and sustain a healthier community. It will work to ensure that each academic and administrative unit has a DEI plan that aligns with and supports campus goals and metrics. It will advise Provost Bichelmeyer in developing a DEI plan that is based on best practices and that includes metrics for our Lawrence and Edwards campuses.
In honor of Black History Month, Kansas Athletics recognizes the notable achievements and accomplishments of African-Americans who have helped shape the Jayhawk program throughout the years by creating the Marian E. Washington Trailblazer Series. Each February, this endeavor chronicles several prominent African-Americans and their impact on Kansas Athletics.
During the month of May, Kansas Athletics celebrated Asian, Asian-American and Pacific Islander Month, paying tribute to the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched America’s history and are instrumental in its future success. Among them are Kansas’ own Danica Pecana, who shared her story.
POWER TO THE POLLS
Civic Engagement Day Initiative (Nov. 3, 2020)
On Election Day, we called on student-athletes, staff, and the KU community to come together for civic engagement. Power to the Polls was a hybrid event, designed for our community to exercise our civic duty with empowering voters.
Participants pledged to walk a 10K throughout the day (equivalent to 10,000 steps). Upon finishing their steps, participants submitted photographic results via social media using the hashtag #PowerToThePollsKU and tagged @KU_LEADS, @jayhawkSAAC, and @KUAthletics. On Election Day, we escorted KU students from the Daisy Hill Commons to the Lied Center to vote from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. (groups departed every 15 minutes).