Addressing Campus Climate Diversity Issues – Living Document

The following table represents a collection of campus climate issues that have been raised by multiple constituencies in the Pitzer Community. Many of these issues have been discussed in meetings with students, faculty, staff, trustees, parents, and alumni. Possible solutions have been listed, and where appropriate, point people have been determined to explore suggested solutions. A number of these issues (items 1-9 in the table) stem from a letter from concerned students of color submitted to the president, board, faculty executive committee, and alumni. The original student letter can be viewed here.

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1. The Student Demand Letter demands a statement of solidarity with students of color from the various constituencies indicated in the letter. The Interim President and the Board acknowledge the pain, anger, and distress that students of color are experiencing both here at The Claremont Colleges and across the country.

The Board has formed a Working Group for Student Concerns to discuss and address the current campus issues that students of color have brought to the table.

On February 12, 2016, over 70 Board members, students, faculty, and staff participated in a working luncheon to dialog about campus climate issues and to suggest concrete solutions and next steps.

Interim President, Board of Trustees in progress*

*For this document, “in progress” could mean “underway” or “in the process of being explored”

2. The Student Demand Letter demands that the College “publicly state that campus protests, in all forms, are legitimate and any policy outlawing protest and student demonstrations invalidates the legitimacy of challenging established power structures.” The College stands behind the principles of free speech and academic freedom. The process for revising the demonstration policy at The Claremont Colleges is now underway will include the involvement of students, faculty, and staff. 7C Student Deans Committee, 7C Academic Deans Committee, 7C Presidents Council in progress
3. The Student Demand Letter demands the Pitzer President meet with marginalized students. This has been underway since the interim president’s memo of Nov. 12 and will continue throughout the academic year. Interim President in progress
4. Students of color experience microaggressions and other “manifestations of oppressive structures that marginalize students” both inside and outside of the classroom.

 

The Student Demand Letter demands that:

• “faculty, student leaders, and staff” receive training that focuses on the above manifestations.

Create training programs for students, faculty, and staff.

  1. Students can undergo required training during new student orientation much like they currently are provided for alcohol awareness and Title IX.
  2. Annual staff evaluations should be modified to address employee performance in these areas.
  3. Staff Council Representatives (SCR) have proactively requested a Mandatory Staff Diversity Education Series to ensure regular, ongoing, and in-person training for all staff on a variety of diversity and social justice topics. The first workshop titled “Having Inclusive Conversationswith Students” by Prof. Becky Wai-Ling Packard will be held on Thu. Feb. 4 from 8:00-9:20 am in Benson Auditorium.
  4. Faculty will be provided development opportunities in conjunction with the new social justice graduation requirements, which include issues of race, class, and culture. A workshop titled, “Equity
    Mindedness in Introductory ‘Gateway’ Courses” by Prof. Becky Wai-Ling Packard will be held on Thu. Feb 4 from 9:40-11:00 am in Broad Performance Space. See also item 26 for more information.
  5. 7C Associate Deans are looking into options.
  6. Teaching evaluations could be revised to include markers of cultural sensitivity/classroom climate. Annual reviews could address feedback in these areas. APT process could also assess faculty accomplishments in these areas.
  1. VP OSA / Student Affairs
  2. H.R. Director
  3. SCR, H.R., and Interim President
  4. DOF
  5. Associate Dean of Faculty
  6. APT, DOF, FEC
  1. in progress
  2. in progress
  3. in progress
  4. in progress
  5. in progress
5. The Student Demand Letter demands that:

• more TT faculty and staff of color are hired,

• students of color are represented in the hiring process,

• the College offer more TT positions to faculty of marginalized backgrounds.

Pitzer faculty and staff represent a high degree of diversity when compared to other private liberal arts institutions. We need to do a better job informing the community of our progressive affirmative action hiring policies for TT faculty, policies that were recently created with nearly three years of intense faculty involvement. DOF / FEC in progress and need to articulate
6. The Student Demand Letter demands that work-study be allowed to count for participation in student orgs. Examine work-study policies and regulations that govern what is allowed. Allow if possible. Director of Financial Aid in progress
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7. The Student Demand Letter demands that Ethnic Studies courses become a graduation requirement. The College’s new Intercultural Awareness graduation requirement takes effect with the class of 2020. Pitzer faculty have determined the courses that will satisfy the requirement. A vast majority of the courses will be Ethnic Studies courses. See item 26 for more information.

Senior administrators in the Office of the Dean of Faculty met with student stakeholders (including students who crafted the Letter of Demands) on Jan. 21.

DOF in progress and need to articulate
8. Students of color feel targeted in College judicial processes.

The Student Demand Letter demands that the College:

  1. hold “Campus Safety and other officials accountable for racial profiling and criminalization of people of color on our campuses”
  2. “hire an outside professional to handle all judiciary and Title IX cases”
  3. dismantle the College Judicial Council
Gather data to determine if certain demographic groups are entering the judicial process in higher numbers.

 

  1. Interim Pres. will speak with CUC CEO and Director of Campus Safety
  2. Explore this possibility and its cost.
  3. Faculty have discussed reviewing and changing the process. On Dec. 11, FEC voted to appoint a committee to evaluate the College Judicial Council process. This committee has now been formed.
VP OSA / Student Affairs / Others

 

  1. Interim President, CUC CEO, Director of Campus Safety
  2. FEC / Student Affairs
  3. FEC / Student Affairs / ad hoc Judicial Council Review Committee
in progress

 

 

  1. in progress
  2. in progress
  3. in progress
9. The Student Demand Letter demands that student affinity groups be provided with secure and sustainable funding on a yearly basis. Student Senate, which controls the funding, needs to evaluate its practices and work with affinity groups on this request. Student Senate in progress
10. Students of color on financial aid feel discriminated against because some cannot afford the additional cost of single rooms or the cost of getting medical verification of the need for accommodations. Evaluate the financial model to increase aid eligibility for students who are on financial aid.

Do a better job informing students of the resources available to them at The Claremont Colleges and help students overcome cultural barriers that may exist to utilizing such services (e.g., Student Health Services can evaluate students for disability accommodations).

Programming to be offered in Spring 2016:

January 30 – The First Gen committee will host a Financial Aid Session. Topics will include 1) the cost of attendance, 2) sources of financial aid, 3) why college is so expensive, and 4) overview of renewing financial aid for next year.

March 25, April 1, April 8 – Financial Aid Lab Hours (2-4pm). To assist students with completing the FAFSA & PROFILE, the Financial Aid Office will be staffing the computer lab to answer questions while students complete their applications.

January 29-April 29 –Financial Aid Fridays. Each Friday, a brief email will be sent to students, staff and faculty outlining important information about renewing financial aid. Topics to be covered include: completing PROFILE, FAFSA, creating a FAFSA user ID, common filing mistakes with the FAFSA, how to use IDOC, how to find outside scholarships, etc.

VP Finance and Administration, VP OSA, Interim President, Student Affairs in progress
11. Students of color on financial aid expressed that fewer orientation leadership positions are available to them (e.g., student mentor and OA leader positions) because they would need to quit their summer jobs early, and lose the much needed income, in order to participate in these programs. Explore ways to fund students in these positions. Office of Financial Aid, Office of Institutional Advancement, Student Affairs in progress
12. Faculty and students expressed the need to conduct a campus climate survey Determine resources & expertise to conduct a survey; then do so. Interim President The 7C Presidents Council has been in communication with one of the 7C associate deans to identify an organization or company that has expertise in conducting campus climate surveys.
13. Students of color (SOC) feel inadequately represented on Student Senate (several SOC indicated that they cannot financially afford to devote the time required to serve).
  1. Model our Senate Executive Board after that of other colleges where students are paid to serve.
  2. Allow work study to count towards service on Senate.
  1. Student Senate is exploring this option.
  2. Director of  Financial Aid
  1. in progress
  2. in progress
14. A student affinity group expressed concern over lack of dedicated space on campus for its meetings and activities. Without the designated status of a space, other groups could reserve the room even though it had historically been the group’s headquarters. • The affinity group’s desired room has now been dedicated as their headquarters. AD OSA Campus Life Completed, Nov. 19
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15. A student affinity group expressed concern over insufficient space for its meetings and activities. Interim President discussed relocating the affinity group to one of the study lounges with both the VP OSA and Student Senate. This process is now underway. Student Senate Executive Board and Office of Student Affairs in progress
16. A student affinity group complained about lack of custodial trash pickup in their dedicated space; perceived as example of microaggression. Interim President raised the issue with the Assistant Director of Facilities and Custodial Services. Was assured it would be resolved. Assistant Director of Facilities & Custodial Services Completed, Nov. 12
17. A student affinity group complained that their request to replace their broken printer was denied. Interim President agreed to pay for a new printer and asked IT to replace ASAP. IT Director / User Services Supervisor purchased & arrangements being made to install
18. Students of color on financial aid do not receive refund checks in time to pay for start-of-the-semester items like textbooks, rent, travel, etc., and some do not have the financial resources to pay for these items. This, in turn, causes undue stress and the inability to be prepared for classes. Students currently can apply for an emergency loan to help pay for these items; however, students expressed that the loan amount is inadequate.
  1. The Financial aid office will disburse scholarships and loans to students’ accounts earlier in the term. Students who have pre-registered for courses and meet eligibility requirements will have their Pitzer Scholarships disbursed to their account in mid-December and remaining Federal and State aid will be disbursed ten days prior to the start of the spring semester.
  2. The maximum amount of Student Emergency Loans has been increased to $500.
  3. Determine if other funding sources can be used to provide additional aid for students who cannot afford start-of-the-semester items.
  4. The Office of Financial Aid has created periodic “Financial Aid Mail” messages that it sends to students and faculty advisors. These emails remind students of deadlines to reapply for financial aid, provide tips and instructions for doing so, and contain other useful and timely information regarding financial aid.
  1. Director of Financial Aid/Student Accounts Supervisor
  2. Treasurer’s Office and Office of Financial Aid
  3. VP Finance and Administration, Director of Financial Aid, Office of Advancement, and Interim President
  4. Office of Financial Aid
  1. to begin with spring semester 2016
  2. loan amount increase authorized on Dec.17
  3. in progress
  4. in progress
19. Pitzer’s Reggae Fest seen as College-funded cultural appropriation. Some students have proposed eliminating the festival and using the budgeted funds for other causes. Student Senate in progress
20. Students, faculty, and staff indicate that dedicated funding is not available for Diversity Committee, diversity initiatives such as the 1st Generation Mentoring Program, and any new initiatives that may be proposed. College Council voted to dedicate significant funding in the budget prioritization process until such time that a new tactical plan is created. College Council in progress
21. There is no official resource person to turn to regarding diversity issues. Students currently raise such issues with faculty, staff, peers, etc., but there is no institutional mechanism for such complaints to make it to people at the College who can act upon and help resolve them.
  1. Diversity Committee does not feel that Title IX and Diversity Officer functions should be handled by one person, and the Interim President has agreed to decouple the two roles. Diversity Committee will develop an inclusive process for exploring a way forward to address this issue.
  2. Interim President has also been exploring other models with different parties at the College.
  1. Interim President, Diversity Committee, BIC
  2. DOF, FEC, VP OSA, Interim President
  1. in progress
  2. in progress
22. Students of color may feel unsafe attending faculty office hours and help sessions when representation in the room from other SOC is nonexistent or lacking.
  1. Faculty may consider other alternatives outside of office hours for marginalized students.
  2. Provide teaching development opportunities for faculty to recognize and address such situations.
  1. Faculty
  2. DOF, Teaching and Learning Committee
  1. in progress
  2. in progress
23. Biased threats and acts of aggression.
  1. Respond swiftly and devote human and financial resources to ensure the safety of the victim(s). Inform parents or guardians of the victims.
  2. Inform leaders on campus, campus safety, and local authorities of the incident and assess the threat to the Community.
  3. Inform the Community expeditiously and act to ensure student, faculty, and staff safety and ongoing support.
  4. Investigate incident and determine how such incidents can be prevented in the future.
  1. Senior leadership
  2. Senior leadership
  3. Senior leadership
  4. All
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24. Student Senate passed a resolution asking for all gender restrooms to be installed in McConnell Hall, Gold Student Center, and in the vicinity of Fletcher Hall
  1. Explore the cost and feasibility of doing so.
  2. Gender neutral restrooms made available on 2nd and 3rd floors of McConnell Hall.
  1. Senior leadership
  2. Facilities
  1. in progress
  2. January 19, 2016
25. Find a way to make this a living document that the entire Community can contribute to and track in terms of progress. Currently exploring options with FEC and Diversity Committee. Interim President, FEC, Diversity Committee, Office of Communications in progress
26. Faculty have identified the need for students to take courses that teach the foundations of social justice (both praxis and theory) and intercultural understanding. These courses will incorporate:

(a) the understanding of differences between cultures, which include the sociological, psychological, environmental, and historical aspects of the culture, unequal power relations, and utilizing that understanding to better interact with others.

(b) scholarship that exposes students to marginalized groups and that directly discuss the role of individual privilege as it relates to the denied privileges of socially disadvantaged groups.

1. Beginning in fall 2016, all newly matriculated students will need to take one social justice theory course, one social responsibility praxis course, and a set of courses and/or programs to demonstrate an understanding of intercultural understanding from a global or international perspective and from a domestic perspective.

2. Faculty will receive professional development opportunities to create and offer courses that achieve these educational objectives. Since October, 2015, three workshops or forums have been offered for faculty to learn from practitioners in these areas and to support those who wish to develop new or revised syllabi to meet the respective course criteria and student learning outcomes. Course development awards for faculty have also been made available.

1. Faculty

2. Dean of Faculty

1. beginning fall 2016

2. in progress

27. Students and parents have informed the College about long wait times when seeking mental health counseling. Students from some affinity groups have also asked for counselors that specialize in issues specific or common to one’s affinity or cultural background. 1) One additional staff therapist was hired to provide 24 additional hours per week for the remainder of the fall semester.

2) The Council has hired one additional full-time psychologist who specializes in Asian American issues (to start in Fall 2016).

3) One additional post doc has been hired for the next academic year and will join two other continuing post doc lines.

4) The Colleges will be implementing ProtoCall for students later this semester to provide timely, effective assessment and intervention to people in time of crisis and ensure continuous, quality access to professional behavioral health and wellness services.

5) Monsour Counseling and Psychological Services offered additional weekly evening hours until 7 pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

6) One additional staff therapist was hired to provide 24 additional hours per week for the remainder of the spring semester.

7C Presidents Council 1) completed

2) completed

3) completed

4) in progress

5) in progress

6) in progress

28. Students from some affinity groups expressed that there is inadequate support to address their spiritual needs. The Council approved the creation of a Muslim Student Life Coordinator position to provide a professional staff member who represents the interests of students in the Muslim Community. This position is in addition to the three existing full-time professional staff positions in the Office of the Chaplains and reinforces the inter-faith approach for serving The Claremont Colleges. 7C Presidents Council in progress
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29. Student affinity groups that run student sponsor programs would like their sponsors to be afforded the same status as student mentors, especially with regard to first year orientation program training and participation. Explore ways, including finding the financial resources, to incorporate affinity group sponsors into orientation training. Interim President, Office of Student Affairs in progress
30. Students from some affinity groups feel that they are not adequately represented in institutional data reported to the public. Determine if disaggregated data exists and explore the feasibility of reporting this on the College website. Interim President, Office of Admissions, Office of Communications in progress
31. Students from certain affinity groups request that more faculty be hired into the Intercollegiate Ethnic Studies Departments at the Claremont Colleges. The Academic Deans Committee of The Claremont Colleges are preparing a proposal to bring forward to the Council of Presidents. Academic Deans Committee, Council of Presidents in progress
32. Students expressed the need for a mechanism to inform their professors of their gender pronoun. Pitzer Information Technology has created version one of a solution that allows students to indicate their gender pronoun through their Student Portal and for advisors and faculty to see this in their student rosters. Office of Information Technology in progress
33. Students expressed the need for faculty to make the effort to learn the correct pronunciations of their names. Technology could be created to allow students to inform professors of the correct pronunciation of their names. Faculty, Office of Information Technology in progress
To be continued…

 

Below is the original letter from concerned students of color at Pitzer College dated November 23, 2015:

Concerned Students Letter

Page last updated on October 10, 2016