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planning action for tomorrowOn June 10, a “Planning Action for Tomorrow” discussion was held on Zoom to discuss racial injustice, both widespread and on our own campus, and to serve as the springboard for action steps that would grow out of what was shared.

More than 125 Saint Rose students, employees, and alums attended the discussion, which was organized by faculty members Dr. Angela Ledford and Dr. Risa Faussette; Dr. Shai Butler, vice president for student development and chief diversity officer; Cherèva McClellan, director of student life and coordinator of family relations; George Lopez, assistant director of student success and engagement; Myles Clendenin, assistant director of housing operations; Joan Horgan, director of spiritual life; and Yolanda Caldwell, director of the BOLD Women’s Leadership Network and the Women’s Leadership Institute.

Action step committees will be formed out of the comments shared during the June 10 discussion. The items below were comments made during the discussion organized by category. They were shared with the Zoom session attendees late last week. We are sharing them with the greater community so that those who would like to be involved will have the opportunity. To inquire about joining a committee, please email solutions@strose.edu.

Comments and Recommended Action Steps by Category (in no particular order)

Accountability in Decision-Making

  • Ensuring student groups are also part of decision making for the campus
  • Establish a code of values, ethics, a set mission statement that can be adhered to address overarching concerns
  • Challenge colleagues in addition to bringing issues to others/reporting the bias
  • Make certain trainings and conversations/events mandatory for faculty/staff/administrators to attend to continue training – have ongoing trainings
  • Review practices surrounding how probationary faculty ideas are considered by tenured colleagues when requesting conversations about reform
  • Review how many adjunct versus tenured professors are hired/retained
  • Review the culture of intimidation that stops non-tenured faculty from trying to enact change or speaking up
  • Review how leadership and BOT seats are determined to make it more balanced and representative of the students they serve
  • Look at the movement to divest from Aramark
  • More investment in employees
  • More investment in service-learning courses and ethnic studies
  • Focus on retention of affinity groups for students and employees
  • As an institution, partner with other campuses and local organizations to do important work and trainings
  • Partner with campuses on attaining credit for taking ethnic studies courses at a different institution if it is not provided at Saint Rose
  • Provide an anti-racism statement to the campus community and general community on our website
  • Provide resources for students and employees to report bias
  • Replace our Saint Rose banners and flags with BLM, Pride, Flag of the Haudenosaunee confederacy (which honors the land on which the university resides) and other marginalized group banners/flags to show solidarity
  • More transparency about policies on Saint Rose’s social media accounts
  • College should examine all committees, BOT, and task forces to expand and ensure all backgrounds/experiences are represented and involved, which would allow for more students to enter into these spaces and be able to speak
  • Add racial and intersectionality issues to Safe Zone training

Reporting System/A Safe Space to Report

  • Have a reporting system in place where the community feels there will be no reprisals/retaliation or identifying markers if they select to report an issue
  • Advertise the bias reporting system/complaint form throughout campus and on syllabi in course. Should be required on every syllabi that lists how to report discrimination and racial bias
  • Have a task force comprised of different people from across campus, students to executives, to assist with these reports
  • Be transparent in what is reported on and how it is remedied

Hiring Practices for the Campus

  • More outreach and hiring for faculty of color
  • Create and implement a framework for a faculty search where more POC candidates are sought
  • Create and implement a framework for when POC candidates (both faculty and non-faculty) are sought and hired, and how they will be retained
  • Have faculty candidates teach in the classrooms during their hiring practice and have students brought in during the selection of the candidates/have students be active in the interviews
  • Have students on search committees
  • Have more transparency in hiring practices for faculty, staff, administrators
  • Have students and people within that department sit on hiring committees
  • Implement training for all new hires and continued training each year that is mandatory – for anyone who works on campus, from faculty to Aramark
  • Invest in professional tutors for students, in addition to student tutors
  • Infrastructure, policies, in place to retain faculty/staff/administrators of color
  • Similar to creating affinity groups for students, should be for employees
  • Employees to receive mentorship, support from one another
  • Institutionalized racism is real, so while seeking people of color to join staffs/faculty, must change the environment or adding people will not be effective
  • Representation matters across the campus, across departments

Interactions with Staff and Administrators

  • Establishing better relationships with Campus Security as well as with Albany Police Department
    More training for Campus Security
  • Address how if you are a student leader of color you are treated differently than if you are just a student of color on campus
  • More outside training for Campus Security – bring in other voices to lead their training
  • More conversations to listen and learn from students – with Campus Security and Albany Police Department
  • Staff and administrators of color need to be hired as well and be supported so they are retained
  • Address trauma that can be caused by actions taken by faculty/staff/administrators on campus or can be revisited from these interactions and make steps to remedy

Academics and Curriculum

  • Should be an audit and review of all academic departments and their curriculum, to ensure all voices, especially voices of color are reviewed and introduced into the curriculum
  • Teach how systematic racism and its impact race as a social construct
  • Examine how POC are used in examples in class
  • Examine what is used to show that POC are leaders, influencers, of organizations (and not just leaders in spaces with other POC)
  • Focus on intersectionality in coursework and throughout each department
  • Adding in discussions on current political environment in classes
  • Call from students to learn more about POC – theories, practices, perspectives
  • Should not be on students of color to speak for their race or to educate their professors, or peers, on history or current issues
  • Create ethnic studies courses/encourage students to take ethnic studies courses
  • Create a common reading program that addresses issues of racism, social injustice/First-Year Experience Program
  • First-year experience course for all students, not just Exploratory Program
  • Focus on race, gender, sexuality inequalities
  • Ensure professors have ongoing bias training and that these issues are addressed in each individual school and across faculty
  • Needs to be administrative and curriculum-based dialogue spaces and training for all faculty and staff and faculty of color to be supported
  • Have faculty, especially faculty of color, who can lead productive conversations and dialogue on diversity and inclusivity
  • Make classes on race, gender mandatory for all students, no matter their major
  • Review a remodel of lib-ed
  • Overall statement: That professors do not need to wait for a faculty member of color to make changes, the conversation and change needs to happen now. Representation does matter and is important but change can be made as faculty work towards adding more faculty of color.

Programming and Engagement

  • Students need to be encouraged to speak up and act as well and report bias
  • Create more spaces for alumni, faculty/staff/administrators to share their concerns and to talk freely as well
  • Create more spaces for these conversations for the entire campus community
  • Bring conversations to each department, faculty and non-faculty
  • Have monthly town halls requiring all parts of campus to attend
  • Will help to raise awareness of these issues on our campus and for everyone to start being allies and work toward being anti-racist
  • Create more affinity groups across campus, for students and faculty/staff/administrators to share in spaces that are open and comfortable
  • More engagement from Saint Rose to our broader community – work with local organizations, charter schools, be more involved with local politics and encourage this for all members of our campus
  • Help to address root causes of systemic racism
  • Create a common reading program that addresses issues of racism, social injustice/First-Year Experience Program
  • Have students involved in diversity and inclusivity training from orientation to commencement
  • Create more professional development areas for students of color
  • Make programming on race, gender mandatory
  • Have more of an equity focus in certain programs, like Reach Out Saint Rose
  • Have more areas of self-care for those involved in helping others, self-care and counseling access for the entire campus
  • More support for minority and marginalized student clubs
  • Whistleblower option for clubs and groups that are not inclusive
  • Review the program American City to see if it can be implemented at Saint Rose
  • Have a socially-distant and responsible protest on campus for BLM

For information on reporting an incident of bias or discrimination at Saint Rose, please see the Diversity & Inclusion section of the website.