SUNY announces 25-Point diversity, equity, inclusion plan to eliminate cultural, institutional racism

New York News

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – During Thursday’s SUNY Board of Trustees meeting, Chancellor Jim Malatras announced SUNY’s 25-point Action Plan to close racial equity gaps and eliminate cultural and institutional racial discrimination on SUNY campuses. During the meeting, the Board of Trustees also approved one of the recommendations from the new Plan: creating a new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee of the Board of Trustees to provide policy direction.

This new committee will be led by co-chairs Trustees Marcos A. Crespo and Camille Joseph Varlack.

Chancellor Malatras announced the start of the process in September 2020 and requested a comprehensive assessment of racial equity gaps be completed and that recommendations be provided by winter 2021.

“The unfortunate fact is that racism and discrimination still exists within the academy and it has been put into sharper focus as the result of recent troubling events of racial, ethnic, gender, and religious injustices across the country. We must use the moment to shatter the deep and pervasive discrimination that still exists by taking real and meaningful steps now. The comprehensive SUNY Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan is the culmination of tireless work over the past few months to bring social justice and equity to the forefront, and it includes candid feedback from our students, faculty, and staff across our system. One report won’t solve the problem; but as Shirley Chisholm said ‘you don’t make progress standing on the sidelines.’ Conversations and conviction must manifest themselves into the steely resolve of action. Today, at SUNY, we begin to act to make SUNY the most equitable and inclusive system of higher education in the nation.”

SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras

The 25-point plan is designed to “create a more inclusive, representative SUNY” and to achieve equity in student success outcomes. It includes:

Close student academic equity gaps

  • Strengthen and expand opportunity programs
  • Expand re-enroll to complete programs to close persistent equity gaps
  • Develop a robust policy to expand college credit for life and work experience
  • Expand successful programs to support and recognize Indigenous learning across SUNY System

Create a more inclusive culture at SUNY

  • Develop a model diversity training program for campuses
  • Conduct a SUNY-Wide biennial climate survey
  • Review and enhance SUNY’s mission statement to expressly support diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Expand programs dedicated to the social-emotional and academic development of students of color
  • Expand clubs and other formal student organizations for students of color
  • Create a system-wide research institute on racial equity that focuses on African American studies
  • Create a permanent process to address diversity, equity, and inclusion at the Board of Trustees level

Embed racial equity into curriculum and toward racial equity

  • Incorporate diversity in General Education requirements
  • Update criminal justice curriculum
  • Develop a process to share best practices or best in class in embedding racial equity into curriculum

Strengthen institutional role of the Chief Diversity Officer on every campus

  • Conduct a system-wide audit of the impact and effectiveness of the Chief Diversity Officer role on every campus
  • Update policy to ensure that CDOs report directly to presidents at every campus
  • Ensure CDOs have sufficient resources to carry out their roles and responsibilities
  • Require that any hiring or change in employment status of a CDO be reported to the System Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Increase diversity of SUNY faculty and staff

  • Expand the PRODiG program to better serve SUNY’s community colleges
  • Establish a Black Leadership Academy
  • Forge partnerships between Educational Opportunity Centers and University Police Departments to recruit campus police officers in communities of color
  • Form a partnership with New York State Department of Civil Service to remove barriers to applicants to law enforcement positions
  • Create a public safety micro-credential to create education and workforce opportunities in law enforcement for students of color
  • Increase diversity within all candidate pools for non-faculty campus hiring
  • Expand campus participation in New York Higher Education Recruitment Consortia (HERCs)

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