We couldn’t introduce the inaugural Vanderbilt Athletics Black Student Athlete Group without a video! We are so proud of all BSAG has accomplished in their first semester! We are excited to see the difference BSAG makes in the years to come!#AnchorDown #NCAAInclusion pic.twitter.com/bKsrpumfpn
— Vanderbilt SA Dev (@VU_SADev) November 2, 2020
Committed to Inclusion
Equity, diversity and inclusion are at the core of who we are both as an athletics department and university. We strive to create the most excellent student-athlete experience in all of college athletics. Vanderbilt Athletics is committed to cultivating an inclusive environment that embodies a sense of belonging for our student-athletes, coaches, and staff by fostering unity, intersections, and interdepartmental and societal change.
Engage in Dialogue
Engage our community with continuous initiatives and partnerships that create lasting impact.
Empower student-athletes, coaches, and staff to use their voices to initiate actionable progress.
Educate with trainings, workshops, and provision of resources to equip our student-athletes, coaches,
and staff with tools to embrace and understand differences in their daily interactions.
Racial Justice, Advocacy and Community Building
Black Student-Athlete Group
Black Student-Athlete Group is a student-led community dedicated to promoting the holistic well-being of the Black student-athlete, discussing mental, physical, relational, and spiritual health. Black Student-Athlete Group is an organization that communicates with and informs our staff and coaches about issues unique to the black experience on campus. This group is active in the Nashville community, focusing on increasing voter registration in recent years.
B – Building up the communities of the underprivileged
S – Stimulating the hearts and minds of the unlimited
A – Amplifying the voices of the unheard
G – Giving back to an affirming the culture of the unbreakable
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) June 23, 2021
"One of the main goals of the Black Student Athlete Group here at Vanderbilt is making sure that students realize the importance of voting and the value of their vote."
— Vanderbilt Athletics (@vucommodores) September 20, 2020
Commodores in Action (CIA)
Commodores In Action is an equity, diversity, and inclusion working group. Its purpose is to advocate for the unique identities of our student-athletes, coaches, and staff. Commodores In Action is strategically comprised of coaches, staff, and university partners from diverse backgrounds, departments, and talents. Commodores In Action raises awareness, implements departmental change, and acts against systemic injustice.
David Williams Annual MLK Day Civil Rights Trip
The David Williams Annual MLK Day Trip, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and former vice chancellor of athletics David Williams, is committed to educating student-athletes about the significance of the legacy of the civil rights movement. We continue his commitment by annually creating an experience for student-athlete, staff, and coaches to explore historical landmarks across the country annually on MLK Day.
2017 – Washington, D.C.
2018 – Memphis, Tenn.
2019 – Montgomery, Ala.
2020 – Nashville, Tenn.
2021-22 – Virtual (due to COVID-19 pandemic)
Honoring Our Pioneers
- Equality Weekend
- USBWA Perry Wallace Most Courageous Award
- Perry Wallace Way
- Memorial Gymnasium/Civil Rights Historical Marker
- Football’s Black Pioneers Weekend
|Vanderbilt University Founded||1873|
|Nashville’s Ted Rhodes – 1st Black Golfer to Play in U.S. Open||1948|
|Bishop Joseph Johnson – 1st Black Admitted to Vanderbilt (Divinity)||1953|
|James Lawson Expelled from Vanderbilt Divinity School||1960|
|Vanderbilt admits first black undergraduate students||1964|
|Steve Martin - 1st Black SEC Student-Athlete (Baseball)||1965|
|Nat Northington - 1st Black SEC Football Player||1967|
|Perry Wallace - 1st Black Varsity SEC Basketball Player||1967-68|
|Bill Cofield Becomes 1st Black Athletic Director at historically white university||1973|
|Cathy Bender – 1st Black Woman to earn VU athletic scholarship||1978|
|Wade Houston – 1st Black SEC Men’s Basketball coach||1989|
|Nakia Davis – 1st Black SEC Women’s Golfer||1992|
|David Williams – 1st Black Vanderbilt Athletic Director||2003|
|Sylvester Croom – 1st Black SEC Football Coach (Miss State)||2004|
|James Franklin – 1st Black Vanderbilt Football Coach||2011|
|Vanderbilt Celebrates Equality Weekend||2017|
|Jerry Stackhouse named 1st black men’s basketball coach||2019|
|Candice Storey Lee- 1st Black Female Athletic Director in the SEC||2020|
|Black Student-Athlete Group is founded||2020|
|Althea Thomas named 1st Black Director of Track & Field||2021|
|Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Coordinator position is created||2021|
|Honoring Vanderbilt Football Black Pioneers||2022|
Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center
Founded in 1984, the center was named in honor of the first Black student admitted to Vanderbilt University in 1953, Bishop Joseph Johnson (B.D. ’54, Ph.D. ’58). The Black Cultural Center has served as the epicenter of the Black experience at Vanderbilt. Evolving to the growing needs of our students, alumni, faculty, and staff, the Black Cultural Center continues to offer innovative programming, resources, and opportunities for fellowship. Rich in history and culture, the Black Cultural Center is a welcoming oasis for all who visit.
For more information, click here.
Public Theology & Racial Justice Collaborative
The Vanderbilt Divinity School Public Theology and Racial Justice Collaborative engages in partnerships focused on eradicating racism and all its reciprocal forms of injustice and hatred. The collaborative seeks to be a hub for a national conversation on public theology and racial justice by bringing together activists, scholars, and practitioners to engage students, faculty, and community members at Vanderbilt, Nashville, and beyond.
For more information, click here.
LGBTQI Resources and Support
LGBTQI Life, located within the K.C. Potter Center on West Side Row, is a cultural center and a place of affirmation for individuals of all identities, and a resource for information and support about gender and sexuality. Students, faculty, staff, and alumni are encouraged to stop by during office hours, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday. Summer hours may differ.
Our athletic department is committed to creating an inclusive environment for student-athletes, coaches, and staff members. We offer P.R.I.D.E. (Pursuing Respect, Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity) Training led by Vanderbilt’s Office of LGBTQI Life.
The training is a one-hour interactive session where coaches and staff committed to:
- Engage in ongoing education about gender, sexuality, and intersecting identities.
- Continuously work to recognize oppression, privilege, and the ways they impact marginalized communities.
- Provide referrals, support, or resources on and off-campus as necessary.
- Foster an equitable environment for people of all genders and sexualities, inclusive of their intersecting identities.
Athletic Department and University Policies
Vanderbilt University Athletics strongly supports and abides by the University’s non-discrimination policy, which states: “Vanderbilt University does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of their race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, military service, or genetic information in its administration of educational policies, programs, or activities; admissions policies; scholarship and loan programs; athletic or other University-administered programs; or employment. In addition, the University does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of their gender expression consistent with the University’s nondiscrimination policy.”
Sexual Misconduct Policy
Vanderbilt University Athletics strongly supports and abides by the University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy.
Athletics contact: Deputy athletic director Kristene Kelly (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The mission of the Project Safe Center is to provide information, support, referrals, and education about sexual and intimate partner violence (including sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking), as well as consent, healthy relationships, and healthy sexuality to the Vanderbilt University community.
- 24-Hour Hotline: 615.322.7233
- For more information, click here.
Vanderbilt Title IX Office
- Title IX Coordinator: Mary Roy
- 615.343.9004, email@example.com
Transgender Inclusion Policy
Vanderbilt Athletics supports the mission and work of Trans@VU. For more information on the variety of resources available to transgender, trans, gender-variant, non-binary, agender, and other non-cisgender people and allies at Vanderbilt, click here.
From an athletic competition and eligibility standpoint, Vanderbilt follows the transgender inclusion policies of the NCAA.
- NCAA Transgender Student-Athlete Participation Policy
- NCAA Inclusion of Transgender Student-Athlete Best Practices
- Athletics contact: Deputy Athletic Director Kristene Kelly
Fan Code of Conduct
Vanderbilt is committed to providing a safe and welcoming atmosphere for all teams and fans to enjoy. Vanderbilt Athletics reserves the right to institute measures for any language, actions or demonstrations in violation of the Vanderbilt Athletics Fan Code of Conduct. This includes, but is not limited to, ejection from the facility and revocation of future ticket privileges. Violation of laws or city ordinances may result in arrest or prosecution.
In all Vanderbilt Athletics venues, our guests are expected to:
- Show respect to all student-athletes, coaches, officials and surrounding fans at all times.
- Assume responsibility for their conduct.
- Comply with zero-tolerance policies related to any form of harassment, discrimination or abusive language. Use of foul, abusive, obscene, or discriminatory language, signage or gestures (on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, gender identification, age, race, national origin, religion, military status, disability status or any other characteristic) is prohibited.
- Adhere to requests and directives from game day event staff and law enforcement personnel regarding venue operation and emergency response procedures.
- Refrain from entering the playing surface without proper authorization or credentials.
If you have an issue and need assistance at any sporting event, please text the issue to our fan assistance line at (615) 308-9330 and a member of our fan engagement team will respond appropriately.
Mental Health and Wellbeing
University Counseling Center
The University Counseling Center supports the mental health needs of Vanderbilt students, encouraging their work toward their academic and personal goals. Our highly skilled and multidisciplinary staff develop evidence-based treatment plans tailored to each individual’s unique background and needs by working together with students, campus partners, and community providers. The UCC also emphasizes prevention and education through collaboration and consultation focused on the development of the skills and self-awareness needed to excel in a challenging educational environment. We offer culturally responsive services in a safe and affirming space and are committed to engaging in an ongoing dialogue that provides our team with opportunities to grow in the context of their own cultural identity development. The UCC is committed to understanding the role of diverse experiences and backgrounds in order to best promote mental health and wellbeing in the lives of individuals and in our community.
Vanderbilt Athletics supports the work of the UCC and has partnered with the Center to offer expanded mental health resources and services to student-athletes.
For more information, click here.
Center for Student Wellbeing
The Center for Student Wellbeing’s seven areas of focus include promoting self-care and personal growth, enhancing intellectual progress, cultivating mindfulness and reflection, strengthening physical and emotional health, providing alcohol and other drug education and recovery support, supporting students in distress, and fostering community through meaningful connections.
For more information, click here.
SEC and NCAA Resources
Vanderbilt athletic director Candice Lee, baseball coach Tim Corbin, and a rotating group of student-athletes are members of the Southeastern Conference’s Council on Racial Equality and Social Justice.
For more information, click here.
NCAA Office of Inclusion: The NCAA office of inclusion advances diversity, equity and inclusion in college athletics for over 1,100 member schools and athletics conferences. The office supports student-athletes and individuals who teach and lead across the core areas of disability, international, LGBTQ, race/ethnicity and women. The NCAA’s senior vice president for inclusion, education and community engagement, Derrick Gragg, is a Vanderbilt alum and former football player.
Black Athletic Director Alliance: Vanderbilt athletic director Candice Lee is a founding member of the Black AD Alliance and a member of the organization’s executive committee. Follow on Twitter @blckadalliance.
Vanderbilt Athletics Student Athlete Development: The Student-Athlete Development Program represents the comprehensive commitment by the Vanderbilt Athletic Department to foster the total growth and development of our student-athletes. We Are committed to personal development, career development, community service, and leadership development. Follow @VU_SADev on Twitter.
Sports & Society Initiative: The Vanderbilt Sports & Society Initiative was founded by the late athletic director David Williams in 2018 to examine issues related to race, gender, politics, culture and sports. A faculty committee oversees academic projects of the Initiative while the Athletic Department hosts annual public programming. Follow @SportsSocietyVU on Twitter and subscribe to the weekly e-newsletter by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.