Inclusive Living and Learning
These demands were presented to Christina Klawitter, Dean of Students; John Winkelmann, Associate Dean of Students and Director of Residential Life; and Jen Walsh, Director of Student Engagement and Leadership, by SIC and RAs on Monday, October 3, 2016 and will be kept on the Dean of Students website with progress updated periodically throughout the semester.
Short Term Demands
1. We DEMAND that RA who quit to be given her job back immediately, whether she has it or not.
2. We DEMAND that John Winkleman and Christina Klawitter send out an all campus email by Wednesday, October 5th that explains what happened at the all staff meeting on Wednesday, September 28th that includes an apology to all marginalized students for the poor treatment they have received during their time in this position.
Complete 10.5.16. Email, containing apology, was the preamble to our response to these demands. It was sent to campus on October 5, 2016.
3. We DEMAND to have an all staff Anti-Bias training headed by the Office of Inclusive Living and Learning in collaboration with the Office of Academic Diversity and Inclusiveness by Wednesday, October 19th.
Complete 10.19.16. This meeting was facilitated by Cecil Youngblood and Nicole Truesdell on October 19, 2016.
4. We DEMAND to have a second RA all staff meeting that is run for an hour and half 9:00-10:30 by students of marginalized identities by Wednesday, October 26th.
The residence life professional staff commit to making space for this meeting on Oct 26. RA staff who identify as marginalized and are interested in leading this session will work with Cecil Youngblood and Nicole Truesdell and prepare for and lead this meeting. This meeting will be supported with trained facilitators from OILL and/or OADI.
Complete 10.26.16. In collaboration with the students who made these demands, it was decided that Cecil Youngblood would facilitate this meeting, and this meeting occurred on October 26, 2016.
Long Term Demands
1. The RA’s DEMAND to see the RAs’ hiring interview questions and DEMAND we have an entire third interview about inclusivity for hiring RAs
a. Interview must be headed by someone who has been thoroughly trained by the OILL and OADI collaboration.
RA hiring is conducted by residence life professional staff and RA student staff. The interview process, including the interview questions, are designed together by these professional and student staff and any RA staff may participate, including those students who have brought forward these demands. Currently, some questions on diversity and inclusion are elements of RA selection (e.g., What qualities do you think should exist in an inclusive community? What could an RA do to make sure that all residents within a community feel supported? How would you address a conflict on your floor if it was based on a difference of social identity?). For next year’s selection process for next year’s RAs, a more formalized rubric will be used to evaluate the RA candidates’ responses; staff from OILL and OADI will assist in developing this rubric. Residence Life staff will give all current RAs access to the current interview materials and invite feedback on ways to strengthen the process. Furthermore, those on the hiring committee will engage in implicit bias training and an equity advisor will be invited to help strengthen the hiring process design and the anti-bias training.
May 2017 update: All RAs were given an opportunity to review interview materials during winter 2017 training. The RA selection committee also did a review of our group interview activities. One group interview activity focused specifically on inclusivity, and inclusivity questions were included as a part of several other components of the RA interviews. A rubric was created, in consultation with OILL staff, and used for both mid-year RA hires and for RAs hired for the 2017-18 year. Staff and students on the RA selection team were trained on implicit bias and its implications for hiring.
2. We DEMAND that the explicit definition of inclusivity, is a demonstration of equity and social justice through awareness, understanding, and respect for the differences in identity, culture, background, experience, and socialization, and the ways in which these forms of difference impact how we live and learn. Inclusivity requires equitable, institution wide representation and access to resources. In practice, this manifests itself by each individual being aware of, committed to, and responsible for the well-being and care of all students, staff and faculty.
We understand that this definition was created by the Task Force on Inclusive Living and Learning in the Fall of 2015; it’s our understanding that the task force passed a resolution encouraging faculty to use it in their course syllabi. Last known public discussion of this definition was in the fall 2015 at faculty senate. It’s our understanding that there’s been no disagreement about its content, including from Residence Life staff or SEAL staff. We commit to using this definition in professional staff development and student staff training.
3. We DEMAND a ⅓ of OL’s need to be a person of color, first generation or low income (possibly disabled, or transgender?) (reaching out to these students? Someone to keep hiring in check other than Jen?)
a. Legality b. More representative of the students coming to Beloit
Student Engagement and Leadership aims to hire an orientation leader staff that is reflective of the current student body. Looking at aggregate data from the 2016 OL pool, 40% of the OL staff was comprised of those identities demanded here. Numbers don’t necessarily tell the full story, however; in particular, we acknowledge that visible diversity matters. SEAL staff commit to increasing their efforts to recruit from the groups of students demanded here, including participating in anti-bias training and consulting an equity advisor about ways to enhance the hiring process. SEAL director will offer more information sessions about the role; will ask for nominations from new and more sources; and will generally model the approach being used to hire RAs, including use of a rubric for evaluation and asking questions about candidates’ perspectives on and experiences with inclusivity.
12.6.16 New initiative for 2017: OLs in Fall 2017 will have responsibilities during International student orientation and New Student Days, in an effort to better support international students. As a result, OIE and SEAL will work more closely together on the OL hiring process. Jen is also working with Residence Life to schedule bias training. Jen is working with OADI to schedule an OL information session with their staff to better understand the OL role, among other all-campus orientation sessions that will be scheduled during January/February 2017.
December 2016: SEAL has proposed an increase in the OL stipend due to the extended nature of this new position, and to become a more fair working wage.
February 2017: SEAL enhanced a rubric for OL interviewing and hiring, while expanding the selection team to include staff from the Office for International Education.
April 2017: Still waiting to hear back about the OL stipend increase.
4. We DEMAND immediate action taken when things are reported and the person who handles needs to be trained by OILL and OADI.
We put into place an anti-hate and bias incident policy and reports of hate or bias can be made here. We have heard students are considering whether or not to pursue this option; we encourage them, and others who believe they have been harmed by hate and/or bias, to use this approach. The lead responders are Cecil Youngblood and Kate Linnenberg.
We understand this to also be a demand about responsiveness to requests made about residence hall problems, such as the recent mold issues. Karl Williams (Director of Facilities) has agreed to visit the Residence Life Assembly to further explore this issue.
May 2017: Updates on the anti-hate acts and bias incident policy can be found here.
5. We DEMAND more than one non-binary/transgender RA on staff and always have a non-binary/transgender RA on the gender neutral floor.
We will recruit specifically for someone who wants to, and believes they have the cultural competence to, successfully support transgender students. We will add specific marketing to students living on gender neutral floors and student groups connected to non-binary/transgender students, to invite them into the RA candidate pool. We will commit to more trans training for all RAs. We will give non-binary/transgender RAs first option for placement on gender neutral floors and in the Sexuality and Gender Alliance house. Should a cisgender RA be placed in these spaces, they will receive additional training, including attention to mental health training and some form of compensation for those who conduct the training.
6. We DEMAND that organizations using student activities fees (e.g. Programming Board, Funding Board, The Round Table, etc.) provide three inclusive programs per year.
We understand ‘inclusive programs’ to mean programs that appeal to marginalized students, feature performers/speakers/articles that are reflective of the interests of a diverse student body, and programs that offer educational opportunities for all students to engage around issues of social justice. We have also come to understand this demand to be about how we get more diverse voices into the BSC structures and alter the structures of BSC in order to be more inclusive of the bodies in BSC and of the wider student body. We commit to further development of the advisor role for BSC, and to the advisor being part of the restructuring and holding the group accountable to the structural changes that are proposed. In order to leverage structural change, Associate Dean of Students, John Winkelmann, will freeze the special project account until change is initiated. BSC will consult SIC leadership, SEAL leadership and staff in OILL and OADI in creating structural change. Success will be when all parties reach an agreement about restructuring.
10.21.16 Jen is in the process of scheduling a first meeting with these stakeholders.
10.27.16: Izak says the first meeting is happening on 10/31/16 at 4 p.m. BSC general assembly members have been asked to research other schools' approaches to how they "do inclusivity" in their student governments.
12.6.16: The BSC Task Force has met six times, and has come up with a list of four recommendations for structural improvements to BSC. The group has agreed to continue for an undetermined amount of time in Spring 2017 to finalize these recommendations.
2.20.17: The BSC Task Force made a final decision, largely resulting from the internal BSC restructuring that is currently taking place. The team signed off on these results, and they can be found here.
7. We DEMAND that by the incoming class of 2021 you must have a video similar to the sexual assault video that discusses race and other marginalized identities (i.e. gender, sexuality, ability, socioeconomic status) and for the first year that it is implemented everyone on campus must watch it, including faculty, staff and administration.
a. This video can be made by Students for an Inclusive Campus in collaboration with other inclusive groups on campus.
We are aligned in wanting students to understand our commitment to being an anti-racist campus. We think that a vehicle for communicating what anti-racist means at Beloit College, what student, faculty and staff responsibilities are relative to this commitment, and what is underway to achieve this would be helpful for a variety of audiences. Such a tool could engage prospective students, current students, potential employees, etc. We are concerned for the specificity of the ‘video’ as the vehicle; it may be the right vehicle but we can imagine other vehicles might better serve the purpose. OILL and OADI staff will take the lead in identifying next steps and engaging relevant parties. We commit to finding resources needed to pull this off.
The approach needs to navigate the following: how we can repeat the exposure without just repeating the same content and method; what are the advantages and disadvantages of requiring engagement; using time on Advising Practicum to advance this priority; differentiating the tool in ways that work for new students and for continuing students; identifying a schedule to commit to refreshing its content regularly; what does deep engagement with the material look like; where the vehicle and its engagement gets embedded.
Last updated 04.28.2017