Social justice campaigner Ty-Ron Douglas secures dream move to world-ranked university
A Bermudian university lecturer and social activist has been appointed to a ground-breaking position at one of the world’s most prestigious universities.
Ty-Ron Douglas is to join the University of California-Berkeley on January 1 as the school’s first-ever Associate Athletic Director for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging.
Dr Douglas told the UCal Athletics News website: “The Berkeley platform is positioned to lead the nation and the world on this topic and this issue. To have the opportunity to do this work and to specifically do it at Berkeley is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
He added: “The history of activism and commitment to social justice at Cal, specifically as it relates to the work advocating for black and brown people in particular, and also having critical conversations on these issues nationally and internationally – I will be joining a legacy of work that has already been recognised."
The hiring was announced this week after a nationwide search.
The 41-year-old will leave his present post as an associate professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Missouri, where he is also an affiliate faculty member in the school’s Black Studies Programme, on December 31.
Jim Knowlton, the director of athletics at the university, said: “We are thrilled and fortunate to welcome Dr Douglas to the Cal family.
“He brings passion, intelligence, insight and experience to what will be a vital and transformational role in our department.
“Dr Douglas’s ability to connect with people and his inspiring vision will have a profound and lasting effect on the culture within Cal Athletics and the greater campus community.”
Dr Douglas added: “I believe we are going to do some special things at Cal, and I'm excited to be a part of it. I want to listen. I want to get a sense of who we are before trying to articulate who we are going to be.
“In the long term, I believe we are going to be the go-to location as it relates to the wellness and prosperity of our student athletes – in particular, our black and brown student athletes. I believe we are going to be the national and international leader in that regard.”
Dr Douglas has a national profile in the United States for his speaking and writing on racial injustice.
He has appeared on network television, including earlier this year after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Dr Douglas was featured in a one-on-one interview on the Sports Illustrated video series, Daily Cover this month.
The eight-minute segment included a focus on the 2015 protest by the University of Missouri football team over the university’s response to racism on campus.
The protest led to the resignation of university president Tim Wolfe.
Dr Douglas was also among the people featured in an SI article this month marking the fifth anniversary of the Missouri protest.
Dr Douglas attended Paget Primary School, Warwick Academy and Bermuda College. He has taught at the Bermuda Institute.
He earned a Bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in sociology from Oakwood University in Alabama, where he graduated magna cum laude.
Dr Douglas also worked as a student sports reporter at The Royal Gazette during his vacations.
Dr Douglas also has a Master’s degree from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and a PhD from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.
He has written and edited five books and authored more than 25 journal articles.
Dr Douglas highlighted his involvement at Western Stars Sports Club – the parent club of the Dandy Town football team – Warwick Workmen’s Club, Midland Heights Seventh-day Adventist Church, Bermuda Pacers Track Club, the Royal Bermuda Regiment Band & Corps of Drums, the Wesley Methodist Orchestra and Outward Bound.
He said: “As a graduate of Bermuda’s public schools … and a product of the community-based organisations of Bermuda … this matters and it is far bigger than me.
“In short, I see it as a reminder that there is nothing Bermudians can’t do on a global stage.”
Dr Douglas added: “I’m a Bermudian who grew up aiming to play Cup Match and run 24th of May like many other boys and girls.
“My hope is that this appointment inspires generations, reinvigorates dreams and creates new opportunities for other Bermudians – at Cal and beyond.
“We are a special people and the world needs us and our gifts and talents as exporters, not just importers, and global leaders.
“I have been around Bermudian excellence my whole life. I am doing in a different environment what Bermudians do every single day.”
UCal-Berkeley is ranked by the US News and World Report as the top public university in the world and the fourth best overall.