Funds will underwrite the creation of the Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice.

Multi color paper cut-out hands reaching towards the world globe
illustration by Lightspring/Shutterstock

At a time when the clarion call for racial and social justice is resounding throughout the United States, Rutgers was awarded a $15 million, five-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to establish the Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice. “We are living in a moment of global racial reckoning, a moment that calls upon us to be a country that lives up to the aspirations in its founding documents and takes concrete actions to end the social, economic, and racial inequities that persist,” Rutgers president Jonathan Holloway said in a statement announcing the gift in September. “I am convinced that Rutgers has both the capacity and the obligation to play a critical part in this work.”

The institute will have centers in New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden and will invite the participation of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. “By drawing upon expertise across all fields of the humanities ... the institute will stand at the forefront in helping to inform policies to confront and address global inequity, injustice, racism, and intolerance,” said Michelle Stephens, dean of humanities at the School of Arts and Sciences, who will direct the institute. It will support the scholarship of researchers universitywide who work in the humanities and address issues such as public policy reform, K–12 education, social justice work, and the carceral state. The president anticipates that the initial funding will be supplemented by the philanthropy of foundations and individuals sharing Rutgers’ commitment to understanding and addressing global racial and social inequity and injustice. “It will bring together scholars from all disciplines,” said Holloway, “so that the product of their work can help to inform real-world decisions about solutions to the problems that have, at long last, been thrust into sharp focus in this country and around the globe.”