FAQ about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Many individuals, and student, faculty, staff, and alumni groups, have contributed to the discussion of how to strengthen diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at the University of Redlands. As conversations continue and initiatives progress, this FAQ will be updated to reflect the development of these important efforts.


What is diversity, equity, and inclusion?

While the nuances of each word are ongoing topics of discussion, one set of widely accepted definitions is provided by Damon A. Williams in Strategic Diversity Leadership (Stylus, 2013)

  • Diversity: Diversity refers to all of the characteristics that make individuals different from each other. Conceptually, it often includes primary characteristics, like race, age, gender or sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity, mental and physical abilities, and secondary characteristics, like education, income, religion, work experience, language skills, geographic location, and family status.
  • Equity: Equity is the process of ending systematic discrimination against people based on their identity or personal characteristics. It involves the use of programs and policies to create similar outcomes for members of groups that are historically underrepresented and individuals of differing backgrounds.
  • Inclusion: Inclusion exists when traditionally marginalized individuals and groups feel a sense of belonging and are empowered to participate in majority culture as full and valued members of the community, shaping and redefining that culture in different ways.

How important is DEI to the U of R?

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are extremely important, as expressed in part of the University’s mission statement that it welcomes “intellectually curious students of diverse religious, ethnic, national, and socioeconomic backgrounds” and its anti-racism statement, endorsed by the faculty, administration, and Board of Trustees in the fall of 2020.

The University-wide Council on Inclusiveness and Community (UCIC) was founded in 2016 with a mission as “a university-wide body with broad representation committed to creating a safe and welcoming environment for all students, faculty, staff, and other stakeholders. The Council will pursue recommendations ensuring programs, policies, and practices that are just, equitable, and ingrained in the fabric of the University.”

The President’s Cabinet recently recommitted to DEI ideals, as stated on June 9 and June 29, 2020: “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 . . .  We are committed to action, creating a University culture in which we all feel secure, heard, and respected.”

Individual departments and schools within the U of R have also articulated their own commitment to DEI. For example, the San Francisco Theological Seminary expresses this as “Imago D.E.I. (The Image of God Expressed Through Diversity, Equity, Inclusion),” stating “As a community, we are united in the desire to create an inclusive atmosphere where diversity flourishes in all its forms. We are called to live inside God’s beautiful family, and that means pursuing justice, knowledge, dignity, and well-being for all people. From our students to our staff to our faculty and beyond, we want to foster a just community that embraces differences—both here on campus and in the world.”



Are there plans to enhance DEI at the University?

Yes, Senior Diversity and Inclusion Officer Christopher Jones, J.D., is spearheading the creation of a comprehensive DEI plan. This plan will incorporate a variety of initiatives from the President’s Cabinet on policies, practices, and organizational changes, training and collaborative partnerships, and new programs and events, as well as input from the community through forums such as town halls. Groups that also wish to offer specific input are encouraged to reach out to the Office of the Senior Diversity and Inclusion Officer directly.

DEI actions are also taking place across the University:

  • 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. Each fall and spring, the program will host an activist/thought leader/educator who is helping to elevate the community’s 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.
  • The division of Advancement is advancing a host of diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts at Redlands, from student programming to University-wide sensitivity training and events.
  • The Office of Career and Professional Development is increasing anti-bias training and creating identity-based networking groups and events.
  • Initiatives funded by the Inclusive Community and Justice Funds, announced on August 25, 2020, include:
    • Center for Educational Justice 2.0. Spearheaded by School of Education Professors Adriana Alvarado, Nicol Howard, Brian Charest, and Mikela Bjork with Naslund Endowed Dean Mario Martinez, this project aims to elevate the work of the Center for Educational Justice to strengthen equity and justice through education.
    • Public Square Conversations on Social Justice. Managed by College of Art and Sciences Professors Jennifer Nelson and Jennifer Tilton, Public Square Conversations will be held weekly and will range from conversations about issues associated with experiences of racial marginalization and campus climate to more academic discussions on racism and social justice topics led by faculty drawing from their research and course content. The series will also include speakers from the wider community. 
    • Maopopo: Understanding the Native Hawaiian. Directed by English Professor Nicole Kanahele Stutz, this project will provide a permanent display (kiosk, wall, or similar form) to address Native Hawaiian history, culture, language, practices, and values. This display will consist of both historical and contemporary texts and allow for revising and updating.

What concrete DEI actions have been completed recently?

Several actions have recently been implemented:

  • The University completed, approved, and published a more robust policy on discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, and retaliation, including a section that clearly outlines the procedures for making a non-Title IX equity report and the process to investigate complaints/reports received through the Office of Equity and Title IX
  • U of R Public Safety has made policies and procedures such as its Use of Force policy publicly available on its web pages
  • Seven projects have been awarded funding from the new Inclusive Community and Justice Fund
  • The University’s first senior diversity and inclusion officer, Christopher Jones, J.D., was recruited in a national search and was appointed on October 16, 2019; he arrived at the University on February 1, 2020 and joined the President’s Cabinet on July 1, 2020
  • Programming in the summer of 2020 included a four-part alumni series, Challenging Conversations, hosted by Christopher Jones, sponsored by the University’s division of Advancement, and attended by 947 individuals; a class on anti-racism for alumni was taught by Professor Keith Osajima
  • The University’s faculty, administration, and trustees collaborated on an anti-racism statement, adopted by the University in November 2020.

What is the University doing to measure aspects of the campus climate for diversity and inclusiveness?

As part of the University’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, the U of R engaged the Diverse Learning Environments Survey to measure the campus climate for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Three surveys—one for faculty, one for students, and one for staff/administration—were conducted in 2020-21 to capture multiple perspectives. Benchmark data should be available in the summer of 2021. 

Has the University issued a statement of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement?

Yes. While the University does not formally endorse any particular organization, it does support the ideals of diversity and inclusion, as well as of a liberal arts education that values critical thinking and a wide variety of perspectives. To that end, the President and President’s Cabinet issued a statement on June 9, 2020, that affirms support for the Black Lives Matter movement. It begins:

“As a University, we are committed to addressing the problems of systemic racism and to be part of the solution. It’s time for change, and has long been time for change, within American society. While we have a longstanding commitment to racial equity, this historic moment gives us a chance to reflect on where we are and where we want to go.

As a Cabinet, we speak with one voice against racism and injustice:

  1. Black Lives Matter. Some people have a reflexive response to the phrase “Black lives matter” that goes like this: “all lives matter.”  But this second phrase would only be true if Black lives truly mattered, too—and for hundreds of years in this country they have not. That is why the Black Lives Matter movement deserves our support. 
  2. White privilege and socioeconomic privilege are real and operate within our own environment and in society at large.
  3. Excessive use of force by police officers resulting in the death of Black people is not justifiable. Discrimination and brutality seem more obvious than ever before, partly because of the remarkable invention and ubiquity of cell phones with video capability. But the killings are not new.
  4. Peaceful protests are one means to pursue racial equity for Black Americans. Two aspects of the current protests and public dialogue are cause for optimism. First, this movement is multigenerational and diverse, more so than ever before. Second, an urgency is building around issues of police training, justice and prison reform, and other aspects of our society that result in people of color being treated unfairly.  

We would like to acknowledge the pain we have been hearing from some members of our community. As a University, we must increase existing efforts toward creating an environment in which:

  • Our Black students, faculty, and staff are secure.
  • We hold each other accountable: to oppose racial animus and ignorance of the truth, and to pursue racial equity for all people of color.
  • We create opportunities to promote new levels of understanding, seek new ways of relating to one another, and learn how to change our own actions accordingly.
  • We raise awareness and understanding of the cultural differences associated with race to enhance university life for Black students and other students of color whose lived experiences are different from their white peers and include encountering unjust or prejudicial treatment.
  • Faculty are constantly updating and deepening the classroom experience to include meaningful engagement with African American scholars.
  • We see that bringing together faculty, students, staff, and administrators from diverse backgrounds and cultures creates a richer environment for all.
  • We value employees with a demonstrated interest and willingness to work with all of our under-represented groups in achieving professional and academic success.”

Has the University been officially designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution?

The U of R has been granted designation as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) by the U.S. Department of Education (see article in the Bulldog Blog). As an HSI, the University has the opportunity to receive resources to support programs, facilities, or services that expand educational opportunities for Hispanic Americans as well as other underrepresented populations.



How does the University of Redlands plan to recruit and retain more faculty of color?

The deans of the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Business, and School of Education have a specific recruitment plan for faculty of color, including Black faculty, that was developed in 2016, in part a result of working groups within the University-wide Council on Inclusiveness and Community. The Provost requires each dean to provide evidence about search protocols to ensure that attention to diversity and equity is paramount in the process.

For example, in the College of Arts and Sciences, all faculty searches must:

  • Use the National Registry of Diverse and Strategic Faculty, which enables search committees to proactively contact interested candidates who have identified themselves as members of underrepresented groups.
  • Use Academic Jobs Online, which allows the dean to track the diversity of the pool at every stage of a search (i.e., application, semi-finalist, and finalist). If the dean is not satisfied that sufficient effort has gone into diversifying the pool, the dean can indicate the problem and inform the search committee that the search will not continue.
  • Include a statement in job postings welcoming diversity: “The University of Redlands values applicants who have experience working with students from diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. Candidates who apply are asked to identify their strengths and experience assisting diverse student populations to accomplish curricular goals.”
  • Provide applicants a clear sense of where the University of Redlands is located, since applicants from underrepresented groups will be less likely to apply if they are unable to identify an institution’s location and the perceived inclusive nature of its region.

These recruitment practices have been ongoing consistently and have resulted in an increased diversity of new faculty hires in recent years.

How could more on race, privilege, and identity be added to the curriculum?

The faculty develop and approve the curriculum in each graduate/professional school and the College.  Working with their deans, faculty members can prioritize resources for investment in classes and proposed faculty positions that expand the scholarship and teaching on race, privilege, and identity. 

In the School of Business, a review of its course offerings to identify areas for enhanced inclusion of DEI issues, topics, and examples is under way. This has included a faculty workshop to determine the range of courses for modification, then work with course instructors to implement changes and enhancements.

In the School of Education, the assembly chair is distributing a survey to inventory curricular items that already address DEI-related topics, especially justice and race, as well as to solicit ideas about what more can and should be done. This work will translate into a DEI plan for the School to guide investment in human and financial resources.

In the Graduate School of Theology, the faculty has embarked on a review of course syllabi and pedagogy with the goal of increasing the use of underrepresented scholars.

In the College of Arts and Sciences, the faculty assembly resolved last year to discuss faculty position requests with attention given to priorities that cut across multiple academic departments and programs, as well as the Johnston Center and School of Music. Greater attention to the dynamics of race, inclusion, and equity is a priority to which the College faculty are committed.

How is the University providing financial aid to students of color?

The University has been increasing financial aid to students of color, as part of institutional financial aid that rose $25 million, or 48%, from FY2012-13 to FY2019-20. 

In 2017, the University re-instituted the “Cal Grant full tuition guarantee”—a  commitment to cover Cal Grant recipients’ full tuition in grants and/or scholarships—to entering students in the College, which resulted in a 31% increase in Cal Grant recipients from 2015 to 2019. Cal Grants, funded by the State of California, are awarded on the basis of financial need and GPA. In the entering class of 2019, 71% percent of Cal Grant guarantee recipients identify as first-generation college-bound and 83% identify as students of color. 

The University established the Hunsaker Scholarship in FY2014-15, meeting full demonstrated financial need for each recipient. In the first five years, 51% of Hunsaker Scholars identify as students of color and 23% identify as Black/African American. 

Through generous support from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, the University has established a program that meets 100% of demonstrated need for recipients of the San Manuel Excellence in Leadership scholarship. In the past three years, the average annual number of new Native scholarship recipients has nearly doubled. 

As financial aid policies are developed for future recruitment years, additional consideration will be given to ways that enhance scholarship and financial aid to recruit Black students. 

Are undocumented students welcome?

Yes, undocumented students are welcome. We currently have undocumented students attending the U of R, and we encourage prospective students who are undocumented to apply. In 2016, the University of Redlands signed on early to the Statement in Support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program.

How are international students supported at U of R?

International students are supported through the Office of International Students and Scholars, which helps those students settle into life in the United States and succeed in their programs of study at the University.  During the pandemic, the office is hosting two community meetings per week. The office also supports the international student organization Redlands International Student Association (RISA).  It also works to support the university's global programs, including the Global Quarter located in North Hall and Merriam Hall on the Redlands campus and a network of faculty advocates for international students.

How does the University plan to institute DEI training among all students, faculty, and staff?

The University is seeking to expand the training sessions that have been offered on its campuses for many years.  Some of this work will be accomplished through the re-envisioned and expanded diversity and inclusion team under the leadership of the new U of R Senior Diversity and Inclusion Officer, in collaboration with Director of Equity and Title IX Coordinator Erica Moorer. Additional training and discussion opportunities will be developed and orchestrated by each school and within administrative units. These opportunities will be tailored to the specific needs of each area.

What is the University of Redlands doing to ensure underrepresented groups are not disproportionally impacted by layoffs due to COVID-19 or other financial stressors?

With any reduction in force that involves several positions, the University’s Director of Human Resources, General Counsel, and Senior Diversity and Inclusion Officer evaluate all eliminated positions and people in them to ensure the layoffs have no disparate impact by race, ethnicity, or other protected category.  As a further safeguard, their analysis is then reviewed by the President’s Cabinet and shared with the Board of Trustees. As a result of proactive review, there has been no disproportionate impact on underrepresented groups.



What are U of R’s resources and policies on diversity and discrimination? How can I file a complaint?

In review of all the feedback provided to the University in recent months, and in collaboration with many campus partners, the University has expanded its Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, and Retaliation, which now outlines the process to report Title IX sexual harassment matters as well as non-Title IX equity matters.

The policy includes:  1) definitions of equity, harassment, and discrimination; 2) a formal complaint process to report equity concerns via a single office; and 3) detailed procedures for investigating and adjudicating non-Title-IX equity matters. The expansion of this policy is a direct response to the advocacy of our current students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

For more on resources, confidentiality, filing a report, and other information, visit the Equity and Title IX web pages.

What policies does the University of Redlands have in place to protect the community against excessive use of force or discriminatory practices by Public Safety officers?

The University’s Department of Public Safety functions in a community engagement model of safeguarding the campus and its members. This model focuses on the reciprocal relationship of respectful dialogue, mutual understanding, and shared solutions to achieve the most appropriate outcome for everyone involved.

The use of force by members of Public Safety is extraordinarily rare; however, such action is strictly governed by policy, which is online for transparency, with excessive force and chokeholds being absolutely forbidden. Every uniformed member of Public Safety is required to maintain licensure through the State of California, Bureau of Security and Investigative Services, and must comply with the annual training requirements prescribed. In addition to review by Public Safety management, as part of this licensing requirement, any use of force incident must be reported in writing within seven days to the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services. The Bureau then conducts an independent review of the circumstances and associated level of force utilized. The last instance of use of force requiring a report was in September 2014.

As with all departments and individuals at the University, Public Safety personnel are governed by the University’s policy on discriminatory practices. In a commitment to achieving the highest level of professionalism and inclusivity in daily contacts, Public Safety and the University Senior Diversity and Inclusion Officer continue to engage in dialogue to further efforts in social equality. In addition, all Public Safety personnel subscribe in writing to a Code of Ethics, which reinforces the fair and equitable treatment of everyone encountered.

When is the local police force called onto the Redlands campus?

University of Redlands Public Safety staff members, who are unarmed, only request assistance from the Redlands Police Department (RPD) when in their professional opinion, based on their training and experience, such assistance is necessary for the well-being of the University community and/or upon request or needs of the victim of a crime. In addition, since Public Safety officers are not sworn law enforcement officers, any temporary detention made by Public Safety personnel requires the response of RPD to complete the legal requirements for arrest or disposition of the incident. Most commonly, the RPD is called for assistance in the situations when trespassers disregard the direction given to them by Public Safety and/or become threatening to the community. The relationship between the University of Redlands and the RPD is contained in a formal Memorandum of Understanding drafted in 2005 and reaffirmed in 2011.

Can the University guarantee that Redlands students, faculty, or staff will not face disciplinary action if detained and/or arrested for exercising their right to peacefully protest?

The University supports the right of students, faculty, and staff to communicate protected speech, including through the exercise of peaceful protest.  This is a difficult area, because different constitutional rights may often be in conflict. What some consider “peaceful protest,” others might consider “unlawful assembly.”  What some consider free expression, others might consider harmful or hateful speech. The University cannot provide any guarantees because every situation is different. The University cannot guarantee, for example, that no consequences would follow from an individual’s decision to ignore lawful orders. Constitutional matters are, by their nature, determined on a case-by-case basis and require a fact-specific inquiry. Wherever there is uncertainty, the University will look to balance the interests in favor of a student, faculty, or staff member’s good faith exercise of protected speech.

What guidelines do you use when including students of color and their contributions in the University’s marketing materials?

The University embraces the goal of respecting all students, including students of color, and their contributions to the campus community. The U of R history web page acknowledges the role of student activism in the development of race and ethnic studies programs in the 1990s.

When the University brought consultant Jesús Treviño, Ph.D., to Redlands in the fall of 2018 and spring of 2019, the U of R Office of Communications sought out his advice on the University’s communications materials. Dr. Treviño encouraged continued representation of a diversity of students in the University’s web and print material as an important and visible part of the University’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. When stories are written about individual students, they have the opportunity to review and approve the content before it is published. Story ideas and other requests are welcome and can be sent to communications@redlands.edu.

The presentation of individual departments, for example Race and Ethnic Studies or the Center for Educational Justice, is determined by those departments when communications about their programs are developed.



How will the U of R Board of Trustees encourage and elevate diversity and inclusion in its decision-making?

  • Board member recruitment priority. As it recruits new members, the Board will prioritize the goal of increasing racial, ethnic, and gender diversity in its membership to keep in touch with and be accountable to all the University’s constituencies. Additionally, the trustees commit to continue building a culture of inclusion within the Board.
  • Trustee resources and training. Trustees are engaging in DEI training as they work to be more intentional in their critical role in leading an institution that prioritizes, supports, and invests in diversity, equity, and inclusion. Additional DEI resources are also available for use by Board members.
  • Advisors. The Senior Diversity and Inclusion Officer, along with a number of other University-wide faculty, student, and staff groups focusing on DEI issues, provide advice to the Board.

How are Cabinet members and the President held accountable for diversity and inclusion responsibilities?

Annual reviews by the Board’s Executive Evaluation and Compensation Committee each June include a portion of each Cabinet member’s assessment on their diversity and inclusion goals/impact, as required by the President for the past eight years. Additionally, questions related to diversity, equity, and inclusion topics are asked and discussed in every Cabinet candidate interview. The President has required that the initial candidate pool, and subsequent selection pools, for every Cabinet search be diverse. As a result, the racial and gender diversity of the Cabinet has increased.

The President is evaluated annually by the Board’s Executive Evaluation and Compensation Committee in a comprehensive process, including assessment in diversity matters such as leadership hiring.

Can the University of Redlands better align its investment portfolio to support Black businesses?

The endowment and its management is the sole responsibility of the Board of Trustees Investment Committee, which has fiduciary oversight. None of the University’s investments are in single stocks (i.e. supporting a single company or business) or bonds; are all in mutual stock funds, stock indexes, bond funds, real estate investment trusts, hedge funds, private equity funds, and funds of funds. Due to its fiduciary responsibility, the Board is legally obligated to preserve the value of donors’ previous endowment investments in perpetuity, while balancing the University’s current needs.



How can we, as individuals or in groups, advance the cause of DEI at the University?

Everyone at the University of Redlands plays a part in creating a welcoming community for all. You can make a positive impact by building collaborative and mutually beneficial working relationships with people of different backgrounds and by referring qualified candidates from underrepresented groups to support the goal of enhancing the University’s diversity and inclusion. Also, you can support others in an awareness and acceptance of cultural differences, participate in diversity training and programming, and recognize the benefits to our community of diverse and inclusive perspectives.

Suggestions for DEI initiatives, invitations for conversation, and requests for training are welcome and can be sent to diversityandinclusion@redlands.edu. For additional information on University DEI resources and opportunities for involvement, see the Racial Equity Resources web page. Or make a gift to support DEI programming at the University.