Marywood University Announces Athletics Council for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Members News

Following months of reflection, dialogue, and planning, Marywood University announced the formation of the Athletics Council for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Patrick Murphy, director of athletics and recreation at Marywood University, commissioned a team of staff members and student leaders to spearhead the department’s dedication to diversity and inclusion initiatives moving forward.

The council consists of John Velasco, men’s soccer head coach; Julie Trott, field hockey head coach and student-athlete affairs coordinator; Jennifer Carleton, women’s basketball head coach; Rob Ahrens, cross country and track and field head coach; Jay Monahan, assistant director of sports information; and Hayley Gaines, cross country and track and field student-athlete.

“We here at Marywood University are committed to equality and diversity, as well as maintaining a safe environment where our student-athletes can excel and reach their full potential on the courts, on the field, and in the classroom,” Mr. Murphy said. “I am very proud of our coaches and staff for embracing and leading with this initiative.”

Since beginning conversations prior to the fall semester, the council has achieved four initiatives, including establishing a framework for the development of a strategic DEI plan in coordination with the Office of Institutional Equity and Inclusion; surveying more than 100 student-athletes regarding diversity and inclusion issues in athletics; discussing diversity recruitment strategy with admissions; and creating a Student-Athlete Council for Diversity and Inclusion.

Additionally, it organized a fitness challenge that encouraged student-athletes to run, cycle, or walk 8.46 miles or 8:46 increments in support of anti-racism, black lives, and equality. In conjunction with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), the council produced a NCAA Diversity and Inclusion Week social media campaign that emphasized the importance of inclusive environments in collegiate sports.

The council aims to meet the university-wide goals of providing a safe environment that is free from bias, harassment, and discrimination.

Mr. Velasco will serve as the athletic department’s primary diversity and inclusion designee.

Throughout its formation, the council has committed to establishing a culture that provides meaningful educational and recreational experiences for all students, and faculty and staff members, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, or disability.

Marywood University’s Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Campus Center (TRHT) offers resources for faculty, staff and students; organizations devoted to equity and inclusion, both on and off campus; potential research opportunities; community engagement activities; and events dedicated for systemic social change. Marywood’s TRHT Center is located at the Learning Commons, Room 371, and can be contacted at, or by calling (570)-348-6211, ext. 4551.