D Simmons Jendayi, Associate Director of Special Initiatives, has been appointed by Stanford University President Marc Tessier-Lavigne to serve on the newly formed Black Community Council. “This committee will be a critical part of ensuring that we are listening and supporting our Black community with our initiatives and effectively measuring the outcomes,” Tessier-Lavigne said. The council will engage Black alumni, students, staff and faculty, and make recommendations directly to him and other university leaders. Its work will focus on oversight of three main areas: campus culture, academic programs and research, and enhanced support for current programs.
Simmons Jendayi also recently became the new Vice Chair of the NYU Administrative Management Council (AMC) for 2020-21 via a special appointment election. The AMC represents over 3,800 NYU administrators in University governance. AMC Chairperson Mike McCaw shares that he nominated D because “she represents the core values of collaborative, thought-based leadership. Her ability to ask probing questions while empowering and recognizing the contributions of others positions her as a strategic leader for a number of high-profile AMC initiatives — in particular, our idea crowdsourcing campaign that asks constituents to post, vote, and comment on ideas; provides analysis of submitted ideas; and fosters innovation and community building in the process. She is highly respected for her ability to lead discussions and empower others to meaningfully participate.” She has been involved with AMC Brave Conversations, an action-focused continued dialogue around anti-Black racism efforts, as well as the AMC Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (AIDE) Committee.
“I’m honored to be involved with both of these councils, especially because they allow me to contribute my longtime passion for building communities, implementing programs, and planning events that help create a more just, inclusive, and healthier world — focusing on those most underserved among us,” says Simmons Jendayi. “In both capacities, I will be a champion for how higher education institutions and leaders must shift from a performative stance focused on diversity and inclusion to an intentional stance of active antiracism. Dr. Lisa Coleman, NYU’s Senior Vice President for Global Inclusion and Strategic Innovation and Chief Diversity Officer, was one of the featured speakers who emphasized this in a webinar that I repeatedly reference, How Diversity & Inclusion Work Can Unintentionally Dilute the Focus on Systemic and Structural Racism.”