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Penn State President Neeli Bendapudi will address diversity issues at online town hall Friday

Neeli Bendapudi speaks on the day of her announcement as Penn State president.
Emily Reddy
Neeli Bendapudi speaks on the day of her announcement as Penn State president.

On Friday, Penn State's University Faculty Senate will hold a town hall featuring President Neeli Bendapudi to discuss diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, or DEIB.

In a press release and video about the upcoming town hall, Bendapudi said the university didn't handle the announcement that it would not go forward with a Center for Racial Justice in the best way.

Hundreds of Penn State faculty recently signed a letter condemning the center's cancellation.

"This recent backsliding adds to a long list of broken promises on issues of racial justice by Penn State, going back decades," the faculty letter said.

Bendapudi said the university has plans to improve equity in other ways.

She said she'll discuss four DEIB goals during the town hall: close graduation rate gaps across identity groups, diversify faculty, provide equitable professional development for staff, and create a sense of belonging for everyone.

"As I hold myself accountable to these, I know that I will need all of you. We must all work together," Bendapudi said in the video. "The work of DEIB is much too important and much too impactful to be delegated or relegated to just one or two individuals."

The town hall will take place Friday at 1:30 p.m. and can be watched online. Questions can be emailed to

Katie Knol is a WPSU radio news intern for fall 2022.