UGA Deputy Athletic Director Darrice Griffin and Equestrian Head Coach Meghan Boenig have been named members of the inaugural SEC Council on Racial Equity and Social Justice, according to an announcement by the league office in Birmingham, Alabama.
The council’s mission will be to identify resources, outline strategies and assist with the implementation of efforts that, when taken together, will promote racial equity and social justice, while also fostering diversity, helping overcome racism and pursuing nondiscrimination in intercollegiate athletics.
Members of the council include a league-wide body consisting of a diverse group of coaches, administrators and SEC staff, as well as individuals from within the SEC’s existing student-athlete engagement program. The latter group involves more than 60 student leaders in football, men’s and women’s basketball and all other SEC-sponsored sports. UGA student-athletes who are currently involved in the program include Kearis Jackson (football), Mikayla Coombs (women’s basketball), Meg Kowalski (women’s tennis) and Nicholas Yanek (men’s track and field).
Alongside student-athletes, the SEC has used the past several weeks to gather and understand perspectives from a range of stakeholders across its 14 campuses, including presidents and chancellors, directors of athletics, senior woman administrators, faculty athletics representatives, various sport head coaches, mental health professionals and the SEC staff.
Those discussions helped create a framework for the council, which will provide ongoing guidance to the SEC office and updates to conference leaders at regular intervals. The council will initially focus on the following five strategic areas:
- Increasing Access and Representation for Underrepresented Minorities
- Providing Enhanced Support for Underrepresented Minorities
- Improving Education on Racial and Social Issues for All Stakeholders
- Deepening Commitments to Local Communities
- Raising Awareness of Racial Inequity and Social Injustice
Among other efforts, the council will identify resources related to racial equity and social justice for educational and professional development programs for athletics department staff, coaches and student-athletes; outline support mechanisms for underrepresented minorities within the athletics department; and identify opportunities for the SEC to bolster ongoing university and athletics department diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. In addition, the council will advise athletics departments and the conference office on ways student-athletes, coaches and staff may fulfill their ongoing civic responsibilities in the electoral process.