August 31, 2020
To the Campus Community,
The brutal police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, is yet another example of the stark lack of justice for all. The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and so many Black Americans before them clearly show the urgency of action that our society must embrace to address longstanding and deeply rooted inequities in our society.
I am committed to ensuring that CSUN is part of the solution to the challenges our nation is facing. Continued dialogue and peaceful protest are inarguable rights and important tools for social change. The terrible violence perpetrated against those exercising these rights is inexcusable.
As I shared recently, across the university, we are making tangible progress in advancing diversity, equity and inclusion together. Diversity, equity and inclusion are central to CSUN’s mission to enable students to realize their educational goals and to promote their welfare and intellectual progress. Over the last three years, CSUN has taken significant steps to prioritize and advance the pursuit of inclusive excellence, by hiring a Chief Diversity Officer and creating the Commission on Diversity & Inclusion.
Today, we are launching a Campus Action Plan for Improving Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Black Students, Faculty and Staff. The university plans on developing specific Campus Action Plans when there is need to identify measures to be taken when addressing an element of CSUN’s overarching diversity, equity and inclusion plans. In this case, during this pivotal time in our nation, this 10-point Campus Action Plan, detailed below, will further advance our value of respect for all people by engaging the campus community in the work of improving the climate for our Black students, faculty and staff. The President’s Cabinet, in coordination with the Commission on Diversity & Inclusion and with input from the campus community, will be moving forward with our campus action plan this fall. This plan provides the framework to make meaningful change and advance CSUN’s institutional priority to foster diversity and inclusive excellence.
Campus Action Plan Objectives
- Create a welcoming and inclusive campus environment for all
- Create a community of shared values
- Recruit, retain and graduate a diverse student body
- Recruit, retain and promote a diverse workforce
- Actively engage the rich background and diverse talents of university faculty, staff and students to propel CSUN forward and achieve inclusive excellence
Campus Action Plan for Improving Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Black Students, Faculty and Staff
- Implement effective recruitment, retention and graduation plans for Black students. Collaborate to actively engage in reducing equity gaps that persist at higher rates for Black students by meeting with representatives to review and assess interventions regularly and at least twice per semester.
- Provide funding and an action plan to recruit, retain and promote Black faculty, staff and administrators.
- Provide funding, resources and an action plan to create an Institute/Center for Research and Resources on Equity and Black Culture. The Institute/Center will be specifically designed to address resources for Black students and elevate and promote the publication and dissemination of research on Black culture and the Black experience.
- Support efforts by the Career Center to expand their focus on increasing the engagement of Black students’ career readiness and successful entry into the workforce.
- Develop an oral history project and visual/digital arts installation(s) showcasing the histories and contributions of local Black communities.
- Launch Human Resources partnerships with Black organizations on campus to ensure that faculty, staff and administrators are provided with anti-racist and social justice training and mentorship in our professional development series. We will seek to incorporate these topics as a part of mandated training.
- Faculty Development will facilitate semester-long faculty learning communities, including culturally relevant pedagogy, helping faculty review their curriculum and infuse ally-ship and anti-racism into the classroom. Faculty Affairs will begin a systematic campus-wide policy, procedure and process review to identify and work to eliminate racial disparities in outcomes for recruitment, retention and promotion of Black faculty, staff and administrators.
- Create an annual conference on Black Lives and Black Voices in conjunction with Black Faculty and Staff Association, Black Student Success Council, Black Alumni Association and other campus groups for Fall 2021. Develop and establish a speaker series/public forum, with breakout sessions/work groups, to engage the entire community around issues related to social justice, equity, police reform and other related topics.
- Develop and implement a fundraising campaign that will be facilitated by University Relations and Advancement, with measurable benchmarks (for the creation of the Institute, student scholarships, staff and faculty development, grant writers and related needs).
- Secure additional funding to enhance mental health support, including, for example, counselors, therapists, advocates and social workers who can assist in helping students navigate systems, while focusing on enhancing their own mental health, well-being and meeting their basic needs.
In order to move each of the action items forward, working groups will be established and charged with providing progress reports by the end of this academic year, and updates to the President’s Cabinet and the Commission on Diversity & Inclusion at the end of each semester. The working groups will be comprised of students, faculty, staff and administrators. For each of the 10 action-plan items, the workgroup will develop metrics to assess the impact of the activities associated with their action item. The Commission will review these metrics and consider overall success. In addition, the Commission will share their overview of the impact with Cabinet each semester, and suggest improvements for consideration and implementation for future events and programs. The president will share the progress with the campus annually.
I want to share my deep appreciation to every member of our Commission on Diversity & Inclusion, everyone on campus who is making diversity and inclusion a priority, and to everyone who contributed to this plan and our collective efforts. As we move forward together, I encourage you to submit proposals under the recently announced Diversity & Equity Innovation Grant. You can follow the progress made under the Campus Action Plan and learn more at the Commission on Diversity & Inclusion website.
Dianne F. Harrison, Ph.D.