Interim President Marcia J. White sent the following message to students and employees today, August 7, after the latest in a series of community conversations about diversity and inclusion. The next meeting for the full community will be September 4 from noon to 1 p.m. via Zoom.
On August 21 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the College will hold the Fall Convocation with faculty, staff, and administrators via Zoom. The second hour of the Convocation will be dedicated to building the capacity for inclusive excellence at Saint Rose. Details on convocation, including the link, are to come.
Dear Students and Colleagues,
Thank you to the more than 90 people who attended today’s community conversation on diversity and inclusion. As I said during the meeting, The College of Saint Rose needs to be, in the real and lived experiences of its students, faculty and staff, a community in which all can fully participate, regardless of ethnicity, race, religion, age, gender, identity, sexual orientation, nationality, socio-economic status, or disability, including those who have historically experienced discrimination and prejudice. We need to commit to becoming an intentionally anti-racist environment, in which the inherent value of diversity is embraced recognizing that dialogue between people with different perspectives, values, and backgrounds enhances serious intellectual inquiry.
Yolanda Caldwell, the director of the College’s Women’s Leadership Institute and BOLD Women’s Leadership Network, who I have asked to lead us through building the College’s capacity for inclusive excellence, will be providing email updates and reminders about community conversations in the months to come. As I promised, I am reiterating the updates that were shared during today’s meeting:
Formation of the advisory committee: We are in the process of selecting members of this committee, which will meet twice a month to review policies and plan programming around our efforts to build the capacity for inclusive excellence. The committee will include trustee and alumni representation and six student representatives (one for each of the four undergraduate class years, a graduate student, and a student veteran). We also will have faculty, staff, and administrator representatives from all divisions and the four schools. Members of this diverse committee will be announced soon, and will be listed at www.strose.edu/diversity. To express interest, sign up by this Monday, August 10 using the volunteer form on the diversity and inclusion website.
Other ways to volunteer: The Committee is only one way to be involved. We will engage volunteers in a variety of efforts in the coming months. There will be long-term, medium-term, and short-term work, and we will need representation across the board. Again, sign up on the diversity and inclusion website under the volunteer form.
Revision of the bias and discrimination policy: As I said earlier this summer, the bias and discrimination policy is not serving our students or employees effectively. We have taken the first step to improve our processes by increasing the options for reporting a bias incident. You can see those methods on the bias and discrimination reporting page of the website. We have researched NYS and federal law, and policies at similar institutions, and a group of faculty, students, and administrators will be drafting the revised policy. Our intention is to have this new policy in place at the beginning of the semester.
The 21 Day Equity Challenge: The United Way of the Capital Region is coordinating a 21 Day Equity Challenge, a virtual learning experience to build more effective social justice habits, particularly those dealing with issues of race, power, privilege, and leadership. Each day brings a new interactive activity, such as reading an article, listening to a podcast, watching a video, reflecting on personal experiences, and more. The challenge runs from August 10 through 31. If you miss a day, you are able to go back and review topics at any time. Students, faculty, staff, and administrators, and other members of the Saint Rose community are encouraged to participate. My cabinet has already pledged to participate. Sign up at this registration link, and indicate that you are signing up as a company. You can then list your company as The College of Saint Rose. After you have registered, please let us know by filling out this short form. This allows us to follow up with you, as we plan to organize some Saint Rose-centered conversations about the challenge experiences this fall.
Anti-racist training: We are in the process of reviewing proposals from various anti-racist trainers, who were recommended by the American Council on Education (ACE), and we will have more information on this training soon. As I have previously stated, our entire campus community – faculty, staff, administrators, and students – will receive this training.
The search for a director of diversity and inclusion: We are in the process of gathering students who can work with us in a national search for this position, which is a pre-existing position that has been vacant since the spring.
Community partnership: We are proud to announce that we have partnered with the Center for Law and Justice, and the Center is providing us with a resource twice a week to assist us in our work. We are proud to say that this resource is Janay Salter, a 2020 graduate of Saint Rose and BOLD Scholar whose full-time fellowship with the Center is being funded by a BOLD grant.
Our next meeting: On August 21 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. we will hold the College’s Fall Convocation with faculty, staff, and administrators via Zoom. The second hour of the Convocation will be dedicated to building the capacity for inclusive excellence at Saint Rose. More detailed information will be sent out next week regarding the August 21 Convocation. Aside from this employee-only discussion, the next conversation on diversity and inclusion for our entire community – employees, students, alumni, Saint Rose families – will take place on September 4 from noon to 1 p.m. Use this Zoom link (Passcode: Saint Rose) to access the conversation. Yolanda will send a reminder as the time nears.
Important contacts: We shared a variety of important contacts based on questions during the conversation today, and we encourage you to reach out and utilize these resources:
• Yolanda Caldwell, director of the College’s Women’s Leadership Institute and BOLD Director: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Amanda Bastiani, director of prevention education and response and Title IX coordinator: email@example.com
• Shae-Leigh Voorhees, project coordinator for the Project Voices grant: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Diversity and Inclusion website: www.strose.edu/diversity
• Find the bias and discrimination reporting forms here.
Again, I thank you for your willingness to engage in these important conversations as we build the capacity for inclusive excellence at Saint Rose so that everyone feels at HOME and is appreciated for the unique experiences they bring to our campus. I look forward to doing my own personal reflection as part of the Capital Region 21-Day Equity Challenge, and being part of this work in the days ahead.