Message from Peter Rodriguez, dean

Dear Rice Business Community,
I write to you with an update on the establishment of the Rice Business Task Force on Racial Equity and Social Justice. Just over two weeks ago, I addressed the call to action in ending systemic racism and promoting justice that prompted the creation of this task force. Today, I am pleased to share with you the membership of the task force and to emphasize some elements of the charge and the work that will be done alongside the task force.
The members of the task force are drawn from key groups within our community and will engage with all groups towards the fulfillment of their objectives. I am pleased to have had offers of assistance from many talented and capable individuals and to have assembled such an esteemed, generous and capable membership.
The Task Force on Racial Equity and Social Justice will be co-chaired by Professor Gustavo Grullon, the Jesse H. Jones Professor of Finance at Rice Business, and Valerie Valentine, a 2nd year MBA student and president of the Black Business Student Association (BBSA). Lina Bell, director of diversity and inclusion, will serve ex-officio on the task force and will be the formal liaison between the task force and the dean’s office.

The members of the Task Force are listed below.

Michael Arnold Student
Salma Bargach Student
Patra Brannon-Isaac Alum
Elaine Brewer Staff
Katie Chung Student
Edmund Donaldson COO/Alum
Adam German Student
Gustavo Grullon Faculty - Co-Chair
Henry Hernandez COO/Rice-Alum
Karen Lee Student
Drew Littel Alum
Janet Moore Faculty
Nalani Ortiz Student
Connie Porter Faculty
Casey Sherrod Student
Kunal Shinde Student
Scott Sonenshein Faculty
Valerie Valentine Student - Co-Chair
Joe Williams Student

As emphasized in the charge document, the task force “…must engage broadly with the Rice Business community and is encouraged to coordinate its efforts with and seek the assistance of the many leaders, committees and organizations within the community and be comprised of students, faculty, staff and alumni.” Accordingly, I ask that the members of our community lend their support to the work of the task force and seek engagement with their efforts. I would also like to note that while the task force has a duty to share recommendations in early October and before December 18, it is encouraged to make recommendations as soon as it wishes. 

As noted in the charge, “The task force may also share interim recommendations that may require that actions be taken before October 2, as soon as its members recommend doing so.” This option for the timing of recommendations highlights that the role of the task force is not to substitute for actions taken by the Rice Business administration or elsewhere in the Rice Business community, but is “…to complement concurrent efforts that Rice Business is pursuing towards the same end.” 
Please, join me in thanking and supporting this superb group of our friends and colleagues and in lending them our full support as they pursue the critical work ahead.
Best regards,