The President’s Cabinet sent out the following communication on June 29, 2020, reiterating its commitment to a diverse, equitable, and inclusive University community and introducing a host of new initiatives.
As members of a university, we believe in dialogue, interactive learning and teaching, and mutually respectful conversation. We will listen closely, speak from principles, and act to make the University of Redlands ever more inclusive . . . and as inclusively diverse as it can possibly be.
Over the past several weeks, including since our letter of June 9, we have heard from many constituencies—students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees, friends of the University, and those with no affiliation to us—about the need for us to do more in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). We hear the current refrain as you do—Black Lives Matter. And we believe its truth.
During these weeks, the Cabinet has:
- Reached out to community members for small group and individual conversations to see how people are feeling and to hear their views
- Had personal conversations of depth with faculty, staff, and students to hear what people are experiencing
- Reacted quickly in the moment to provide forums for critical conversations
- Received and reviewed hundreds of emails sent to us by individuals seeking to share their stories and lived experiences
- Read literally hundreds of letters and other communications
Our commitment to have an equitable and inclusive University community for everyone will be expressed through a range of actions, informed by immediate, near-term, and long-term strategies.
University Policies, Practices, and Organizational Changes
- The University will conduct a campus climate survey this fall using an instrument that is impartial, valid, and reliable so it can be used repeatedly and, ideally, within a larger national context.
- Christopher Jones, Senior Diversity and Inclusion Officer (SDIO) will join the President’s Cabinet as of July 1, 2020, when he will also assume leadership of the Office of Campus Diversity and Inclusion and Native Student Programs. Jones will lead the effort to create a University-wide diversity and inclusion plan that includes strategies that focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion. You’ll recall from his introduction to the community that his expertise includes civil rights, law, and equal opportunity programs.
- The University will create a visible and prominent anti-racist statement that will articulate the vision for institutional diversity and inclusion (vision statement).
- The next strategic plan, which is currently being started, will incorporate our DEI work. The SDIO will join the strategic plan leadership group in the fall, and the University-wide Council on Inclusiveness and Community (UCIC) will be engaged in a consultative capacity.
- The University will create a more robust policy prohibiting discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. This policy will be similar to the University’s Title IX policy in clearly outlining the procedures for making a report and the process the University will follow to investigate complaints/reports received. We will also evaluate the pros and cons of developing a Bias Incident Reporting process with a web-based form for submitting reports.
- Performance evaluations will be modified to include accountability for the advancement of an inclusive and diverse work environment (e.g. “Please assess employee’s commitment to, and what you believe they have done, to make the University more diverse and inclusive.”). Provide training for supervisors and staff once modifications are made.
- Hiring procedures will be revised so candidates are expected to submit a statement about what they will contribute to the diversity and inclusiveness of the institution (a practice of the University of California); this also helps set expectations for our future employees.
Training and Collaborative Partnerships
The University will provide ongoing training for students, staff, administrators, and faculty in a variety of formats. Some of this work will be accomplished through the re-envisioned and expanded diversity and inclusion team under the leadership of the SDIO. Additional training and discussion opportunities will be developed and orchestrated by each school and within administrative units.
We commit to an investment in continual learning, education, and training at all levels, including:
- Initiating a series of workshops for faculty, staff, and students. Designed for transformative dialogues, these workshops will cover topics such as anti-racism, racial healing, race-based privilege, being an ally, and types of bias (implicit and unconscious).
- Launching an annual series of faculty-led inclusive pedagogy workshops for faculty across all schools.
- Developing and launching an intergroup dialogue series for faculty, staff, and students. A nationally recognized model for social justice education, intergroup dialogue combines experiential learning and dialogue to examine issues of social group identity, privilege and oppression, and social action.
- Providing specific training and learning opportunities for our Department of Public Safety.
The University will also create ongoing opportunities to build relationships with our community police departments and consider ways for collaborative DEI training.
Board of Trustees and Advisory Groups
- Trustee recruitment strategies will prioritize demographics to increase racial, ethnic, and gender diversity over the next three years to keep our University in touch with the needs of all our constituencies and to help hold the Board accountable to those they serve. Additionally, the trustees commit to building a culture of inclusion within the Board.
- DEI resources and training will be available to support members of the Board of Trustees as they work to be more intentional in their critical role in leading an institution that prioritizes, supports, and invests in diversity, inclusion, and equity.
- The UCIC will continue to act as an advisory body to the Cabinet, the Board of Trustees, and the entire University community.
New Programs and Events
- The School of Continuing Studies will create a certificate program (or more) related to DEI topics; a course is being created and specifically for the Redlands Police Department in conjunction with that group. A stand-alone anti-racism course is already in development.
- The division of Student Affairs, in partnership with University Advancement and the Office of the SDIO, will launch a one-week “Activist in Residence” program beginning in spring 2020. Each fall and spring, the program will host an activist/thought leader/educator who is helping to elevate the dialogue and who has had an impact on systemic social issues. Invitees will engage with the campus and the broader Redlands communities during a week of structured opportunities for education and dialogue.
- As announced in June 9 and June 18 memos, we will dedicate the University’s 2020-21 Innovation Fund of $50,000, bolstered by funds from the deans, to a new grant offering called the “Inclusive Community and Justice Fund.” Proposals should be emailed to email@example.com by Monday, August 3.
- The Office of Advancement and Alumni Relations will offer a broad and diverse range of events and activities to better engage the entire Bulldog alumni base. Most recently, Advancement worked with the SDIO to create a multi-part series of online events being held throughout the summer called Challenging Conversations, on various aspects of the topic of “Race in America.”
We would also like to acknowledge the diversity and inclusion efforts of other U of R departments and groups including:
- The Office of Career and Professional Development, which will direct 14% of its unrestricted philanthropic funds this year to support career programming for Black U of R students and alumni; increase the office's anti-bias training; and create identity-based networking groups and events)
- The College’s Proudian Interdisciplinary Honors Program, which is raising funds to be donated to the NAACP San Bernardino Chapter and NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund)
- Athletics, which recently named Head Women’s Volleyball Coach Lisa Lindberg as the University’s NCAA Diversity and Inclusion designee and primary contact and conduit for diversity and inclusion-related information; she will be working as part of a team including Assistant Swim & Dive Coach Nathan Harding and Volunteer Football Coach Bai Kabba
- University of Redlands Staff and Administrators Assembly (URSAA), which hosted a Webex meeting with the SDIO on June 11
We are committed to action, creating a University culture in which we all feel secure, heard, and respected. We will continue to listen to all voices and encourage those who have yet to share their experiences or ideas with us to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the new https://www.redlands.edu/racialequityresources/ website. This site provides information and resources on our diversity and inclusion work and includes a way to send us your feedback.