Call to Action
The path to resolution is change. The journey of change is moving from idea and intention to movement and action. From the words of Mahatma Gandhi we must “be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
As such, the Office of Diversity and Compliance is issuing a Call to Action to the entire college community. As our office begins to facilitate change on our campus, we are asking you to be an ally and partner with us to take action.
With your commitment to work together we can take steps and make strides to encourage and invoke change in our communities; here at Purchase, within our own neighborhoods, and within society as a whole.
In the spirit of change, on our campus, we must unite and systemically move beyond simply not being racist, or bias or discriminatory to being anti-racist and anti-bias.
Actions for Change
As to not lose momentum in seeking change and in response to our Call to Action, here are nine efforts and actions we will be undertaking. The number nine is symbolic as it is in recognition of the almost nine minutes that the ex-officer’s knee was on Mr. George Floyd’s neck, which ultimately caused his death.
This list is not ordered by importance or prioritization and will be taking place now and in the very near future.
1. Online Bias Training
We are launching the campus wide online/virtual bias training program. We are aiming for 100% participation. We are urging the entire campus community; faculty, staff, administration, leadership and students, to take action and commit to completing this training.
This educational training module will provide awareness, insight and understanding into your personal habits, behaviors, interactions and perceptions that may be biased. Only by understanding the implicit and explicit biases that we all have can we correct them.
It is our hope that once you have an understanding of biases you will utilize the knowledge you obtained to align with colleges’ values. Again, I urge everyone to take the time to complete the training.
2. Grants and Scholarships
The college will be submitting grant applications to acquire monies to allow us to fund diversity initiatives and provide support and resources to the campus community.
Our enrollment numbers are very close to qualifying for the designation of a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), which would make us eligible to receive federal title monies to support student recruitment and retention efforts.
Our office is also actively exploring ways to pursue endowment and scholarship funds to provide fiscal support to students with financial hardships to afford them the opportunity to pursue higher education opportunities by limiting the amount of debt they would incur.
3. Faculty Diversification
We are actively moving forward with the PRODIG faculty diversity grant that will enable us to hire, support, and retain more faculty members of color to teach in our classrooms.
Research shows that increased enrollment, retention, and matriculation (time to graduation) rates are directly correlated to students of color being taught, advised, and mentored by those that look like them and come from similar backgrounds.
By fall 2020, the college will have completed the recruitment and search process for hiring at least three of the five grant allocated tenure track faculty hires and one PRODI-G faculty fellow to teach in our classrooms. These hires will teach interdisciplinarily in our Global Black Studies, Latin American studies, Biology, and School of the Arts curricula programs.
4. Process and Policy Review
Our office will be reviewing current campus admissions and employment search, recruitment, and retention policies and procedures that may inadvertently perpetuate systemic/institutional practices that are not fully equitable and inclusive. This includes an examination of the faculty tenure process.
Simultaneously, we will also revise, strengthen, implement, provide training and assessment on these enhanced equitable and inclusive policies in these areas to further demonstrate the college’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion; bringing about institutional change.
5. Diversity Plan
In the coming academic year, we will work collaboratively with our newly appointed president, Dr. Milagros “Milly” Peña, administration, the College Senate, the DEIC, PSGA, and other key stakeholders to compose our next College Diversity Plan.
This five year plan will outline the college’s diversity, equity and inclusion goals, an action implementation timeline, and detail learning outcomes, performance indicators, and assessment measures that will be used to evaluate our progress.
6. Working with Minority Owned Businesses
While we have been doing this for some time, we further commit to doubling our efforts to prioritize working with and hiring minority owned businesses and contractors.
7. Town Hall Meetings
We will host and moderate frequent Town Halls between key administrators and students. These necessary forums are in response to students who have expressed feeling disconnected and/or cut off from administration.
The purpose of these forums is to build a bridge of communication, engagement, and connection to encourage dialogue on the current state of affairs as it relates to diversity, equity, and inclusion matters on our campus.
8. Bias Response Team
We have launched and operationalized a Bias Response Team, to review, assess, and respond to incidents of bias that may occur.
9. The Multicultural Center
We plan on resuming the search for a new assistant director for the Multicultural Center (MCC). However, in the interim we have identified temporary center leadership to oversee MCC operations to ensure that the MCC is operational as our epicenter of inclusivity and is available for use when we are able to return to campus.