Many in the University of Montana Department of Athletics have come together to form what is being called the Diversity and Inclusion Committee to address racial and other social issues on campus and in the Missoula community.

Associate Athletic Director for Marketing Brynn Molloy originated the committee  and described the organization just formed recently.

“We have 10 student athletes representing most of our sports and we have five staff members and they, the people on staff, represent any sports that don't have direct representation there,” said Molloy. “We also have five coaches as well as Athletic Director Kent Haslam and myself serve on the committee, so 22 total people who are very diverse in terms of backgrounds, what we do in the department and of course, the obvious skin colors as well.”

Molloy related her hopes for the new organization.

“Right now my dream is that we can normalize the conversation and take the politics out of, for example, Black Lives Matter,” she said. “That's become a political issue, and it's not a political issue, in my opinion. That's what I'm learning from our black student athletes and coaches that I've spoken with, but it's a scary topic for people to talk about. I've learned one thing, it's not enough to be an ally. You have to be anti-racist, and I believe that here in athletics, we have a platform to really do that and to lead that and we owe it to our student athletes and staff of color to have the conversations. We can't be afraid of it.”

Molloy said the committee is solely related to the UM athletics department, but hopes that will change.

“Right now it is 100% athletics,” she said. “Eventually, whatever we identify as our goals we hope to be leaders in the campus community and in the Missoula community as well. But right now our focus is on athletics specifically.”

Molloy said she borrowed a phrase from one of the athletes in their first meeting as the star to guide the committee.

“I borrowed a quote from one of our student athletes in our first meeting, I honestly don't remember who it was because it was there was so much good stuff floating around,” she said. “But one of them said we might not have shared experiences, but we need to share our experiences and that's enough. It’s the common thing we have.”

Fall sports have been cancelled at the University of Montana and in the Big Sky Conference due to the COVID 19 pandemic.

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