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JEDI Initiative

Programs of Public Affairs

The Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Initiative’s purpose is to identify and implement concrete actions that foster anti-racism and anti-oppression across all contexts of the Programs of Public Affairs (PPA). The Initiative consists of an Advisory Council and a Working Group, as described below, but its success hinges on the oversight, input, and contributions of all PPA faculty, staff, students, and alumni. 




What We're Reading


For more reading suggestions see the PPA JEDI Select Reading List page:


About the JEDI Initiative

Amid the antiracist activism of 2020, the Programs of Public Affairs received necessary feedback from current students and alumni. In candid letters, students and alumni of color and white allies articulated that the Programs had not only failed to live up to the ideals of antiracist education, but at times perpetuated marginalization in our curricula, classrooms, and treatment of students. Deeply appreciated by faculty and staff, the communications helped spark a cross-program (re)commitment to addressing matters related to racism, marginalization, and oppression. One year later, this commitment takes the form of the Programs of Public Affairs JEDI Initiative, where “JEDI” refers to:

Justice fair and equal distribution of rights, protections, privileges, and burdens in a society, including within and across its economic, environmental, legal, political, and governance dimensions

Equity fair distribution of resources and opportunities, accounting for past and present events, conditions, and contexts

Diversity sociodemographic differences, and specifically those that characterize traditionally marginalized individuals and groups on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, sex, sexual orientation, ability, and language

Inclusion authentic and empowered participation that extends to a true sense of belonging for all, but especially the traditionally marginalized, across all program levels  

Purpose & Structure

The JEDI Initiative’s purpose is to foster anti-discrimination and anti-oppression actions, skills, and knowledge acrossall components and contexts of the Programs of Public Affairs. To these ends, the Initiative’s central focus for the 2022-23 school year is to finalize and implement a Programs-specific JEDI Action Plan that spans program policies and practices, program and course curricula, course delivery and classroom interactions, and communications and relationships—both internal and external. The JEDI Initative is made up of a Working Group and Advisory Council, as described below, working under the guildance of the JEDI Initiative governing document.


JEDI Working Group

The JEDI Initiative Working Group consists primarily of current Programs of Public Affairs faculty and staff, although the participation of current students and alumni is welcomed. The Working Group’s primary responsibilities are to develop and implement (either directly or by way of coordination) the JEDI Initiative Action Plan.

JEDI Working Group Members:

Supporting Administration & Staff:

JEDI Advisory Council

The JEDI Initiative Advisory Council consists of Programs of Public Affairs students and alumni who are members of or allies to traditionally marginalized groups. The Advisory Council’s primary responsibilities are to advise and oversee the efforts of the Working Group, including periodic reviews and audits of the Working Group’s progress, and that of the JEDI Initiative, overall.

Timeline & Products

Although its objectives are urgent, the JEDI Initiative will only be successful if it builds off of a solid understanding of JEDI concerns, the Programs’ limitations and failures in JEDI matters, and carefully designed actions and interventions to address these. To these ends, the Initiative can be considered in several stages:

Program audit (Spring 2021). In fall 2020, the Programs of Public Affairs contracted with Dr. Edén Cortes-López to perform an equity audit of the largest of the three programs, the MPA program. The results of the audit offer valuable insights into both the need for the JEDI Initiative and particular shortcomings that its efforts must address.

mpa program 2021 equity audit report

Convene JEDI Initiative bodies (Fall 2021-Spring 2022). In the Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 semesters, the JEDI Initiative is focused on convening the Advisory Council and Working Group. The Working Group will then turn to development of the JEDI Action Plan, under the advisement of of the Advisory Council. Initiative events and products from Fall 2021-Spring 2022 to date include:


  • JEDI Initiative Town Hall #1 (January 18, 2022): A converstaion regarding JEDI matters at the PPA in the past, present, and future, facilitated by Irene Ota.
  • JEDI Initiative Town Hall #2 (March 15, 2022): Updates from the JEDI Working Group, including results of the Spring 2022 Course EDI Review (see above), as well as genreal dialogue regarding JEDI matters at the PPA.
  • PPA "U-nite" (March 23, 2022): As part of the University of Utah's Day of Collective Action, students and faculty participated in “lightning talks” and conversation to address racism, bias, discrimination, and shed light on broader equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) work.  

Action Plan development (Summer 2022). During summer 2022, the Working Group focused on development of the Programs of Public Affairs JEDI Action Plan.

Action Plan completion & implementation (Fall 2022-Spring 2023). The JEDI Working Group will complete the Programs of Public Affairs JEDI Action Plan in Fall 2022, which will then be passed to the Advisory Council for review. The Working Group is responsible for coordinating and realizing Action Plan implementation thereafter. The Advisory Council will oversee implementation by reviewing and confirming satisfactory progress and completion per the Plan.

Outside building wall with stenciled graffiti art of woman's head with afro. The text "DIVERSITY IS HOPE" is stenciled in the afro.

Photo by Lucie Hošová

Timeline last ammended August 26, 2022
Last Updated: 1/4/23