UIC Athletics launches FLAMES UNITE

UIC athletes

The UIC Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is proud to launch FLAMES UNITE, a hub for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) resources, educational programming, and support for Flames student-athletes, coaches and staff.

“Athletics is an incredibly powerful vehicle to bring people together,” said Michael Lipitz, director of athletics. “Our Flames Family of student-athletes, coaches and staff bring to campus diverse experiences and talents, and unite towards the common purpose of excellence in the classroom, in competition and in our community. Flames Athletics is also proud to serve as a rallying point for our campus community and 300,000 living alumni.”

The new FLAMES UNITE website features the department’s DEI culture statement, departmental and university policies and resources, and external resources through the NCAA and other partners. The site provides an additional platform for UIC student-athletes to tell their stories through videos and feature articles.

Monica Montgomery, director of human resources for UIC Athletics, was named the Flames’ Chief Diversity Officer in 2020 and leads the department’s efforts in this regard.

“I am excited to collaborate with our campus partners on a sustainable plan to expand our commitment to solidarity,” Montgomery said. “Our platform will be utilized to amplify the voices of and provide safe spaces to our diverse population of student-athletes, coaches and staff.”

Several educational programming sessions are scheduled for student-athletes and athletics staff in the coming months. In September, the Flames Family will partner with UIC’s Gender and Sexuality Center for Navigating Allyship Training, an educational workshop on issues affecting members of the LGBTQIA+ community and empowering them to provide critical support and allyship. In October, UIC will host Dr. Derek Greenfield for workshops on diversity, cultural competence and inclusive excellence. Additional educational sessions are planned throughout the year through UIC’s Office of the Vice Provost for Diversity.

“We are very excited about the launching of FLAMES UNITE  and the DEI programming  being planned by Intercollegiate Athletics,” said Amalia Pallares, UIC associate chancellor and vice provost for diversity. “We look forward to working closely with the department to offer engaging and relevant diversity education experiences for student-athletes.”

UIC is a federally designated Minority-Serving Institution (MSI) — a U.S. Department of Education status given to universities that serve high enrollments of racial and ethnic minority and low-income students. The university is also designated an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AAMAPISI), as well as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI).

UIC’s institutional commitment and support for these student populations has been recognized nationally, including the 2020 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

For more information regarding UIC’s and Flames Athletics’ commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, visit the Flames Unite website here.

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