As with many units across the university during the 2016-17 academic year, Student Affairs has been engaged in a number of activities that contributed to the university Action Plan on Speech and Race. Staff across the division either headed up or contributed to no less than nine action plan activities. Here’s a brief review of what we have contributed to and will continue to address as we move into the 2017-18 academic year.
- Two Student Affairs staff members were on the task force that revisited the current Guiding Principles of Speech and Expression for possible revision and updating. The group began meeting in January 2017 and wrapped up their work in May 2017. Updated principles were shared with the university community in late May. Moving forward Student Affairs and others will be involved in educating students on the principles.
- Staff in the Office of Student Involvement pulled together a group of faculty, staff and students to review and update the speaker request process for student organizations. They completed their work in May 2017, and as a result, a speaker review committee consisting of two faculty, two staff and two students appointed by Faculty Council, Staff Council and the Student Government Association was formed.
- With the President’s Diversity Council, Student Affairs staff members conducted a gap analysis to assess current practices and policies around speech, expression, discrimination and harassment.
- In fall 2016, Student Affairs staff in University Ministry delivered student protest workshops which will be offered again during the 2017-18 academic year.
- New Student and Family Engagement has incorporated information about the Anti-Discriminatory Harassment Policy and how students can file a racial or protected class discrimination complaint in new student orientation.
- Student Affairs requires all staff who sit on staff search committees to complete the BUILD Diversity Certificate Course “Best Practices in Recruitment and Retention of a Diverse Workforce.”
- University Counseling Services hired a staff psychologist to specifically address the needs of African-American students in processing issues related to race, speech and campus climate.
- The division’s strategic plan Goal 4 team reviewed a number of culture/climate surveys and ultimately selected UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute’s Diverse Learning Environments survey to gauge student perceptions of institutional climate. Once selected, the team worked with Institutional Research and Market Analytics, the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity, the Student Affairs marketing communications specialist and the Office of Public Relations and Communication to promote and administer the survey and analyze and communicate results to students and the broader community in spring 2016 and 2017.
- The Dean of Students office worked with the divisional marketing communications specialist to tighten and improve crisis response messaging as part of the speaker Safety Response Team structure.
As we move into the 2017-18 academic year under new university leadership, we will continue to review and update our activities related to speech and race on campus to respond appropriately to our students needs.