An initiative of the Harriet Tubman Center and the President's Office
- Ewuraba Annan
- Anne C. Bailey, co-chair
- Linda Biemer
- Sharon Bryant, co-chair
- Khaleel James
- Matthew D. Johnson
- Curtis Kendrick
- Robert Ji-Song Ku
- Alexsa Silva
- Kathleen Sterling
- Quanison Wright
6 Listening Sessions
- Increasing faculty diversity through cluster hires plus support and mentoring
According to recent University data, the following Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) faculty numbers are out of a total of 1055: Native American (6); Black (39); Latinx (44); and Asian/Pacific Islander (187). The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) believes that setting goals that mirror state and national population averages is important.
- Racial incidents: streamlining responses
Testifiers spoke of a lack of a consistent set of policies to address racist incidents and hold violators accountable. Although free speech is valued, it is not always clear when this becomes harassment, bullying, hostility or a violation of the Civil Rights Act. Clear policies needed that are widely disseminated.
- Review/change Pluralism track in General Education
Testifiers agreed that though there are many options in the Pluralism track, there is no specific requirement that students learn about BIPOC history or experience from an anti-racist perspective. Changes needed consistent with SUNY Diversity Action Plan.
- Diversifying the University Police Department
Several testifiers called for more BIPOC officers and discussed disproportionate treatment of BIPOC students; also called for translators to address the needs of international students. New data- driven processes considered a step in the right direction.
- Colleges, schools, departments and programs must be held accountable for diversifying
staff, faculty and students
As an example, consistent with the SUNY Diversity Action Plan, TRC recommends implementation of biennial surveys to faculty and staff to assess the climate for racial relations. The results should be made public.
The Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) could follow up with departments/divisions/programs where there are indicators of problems.
- Addressing “invisible labor” of BIPOC faculty and staff
While many BIPOC faculty and staff shared that they are happy
to help all students have a great experience at Binghamton, they bear a disproportionate burden of mentoring BIPOC students and serving on search and diversity committees. Valuing this work and tying it to assessment is recommended.
- Recruitment and retention/ promotion of BIPOC staff
Several testifiers said that the ladder of promotion for BIPOC middle managers was unclear. Tenure-track faculty have clear promotion trajectory from assistant, associate, to professor but staff trajectory needs more clarity. Important to focus on retention of current staff and faculty, and recruitment of more staff from in and outside the immediate area.
- Providing temporary off-campus housing and formalizing onboarding process for faculty
BIPOC testifiers expressed concern with finding suitable housing. The University should consider setting aside temporary housing for new faculty and staff and housing fairs for students. A formal onboarding process that addresses cultural needs will also help individuals to become acclimated to the Binghamton area.
- BIPOC representation in senior leadership and oversight of institution
Currently there are few BIPOC representatives on the governing bodies of the institution – Board of Directors of the Binghamton University Foundation and the Binghamton University Council. TRC recommends seeking diversity when there are openings or replacements needed for both the Foundation and the Binghamton University Council.
- Strengthening academic and social support system for BIPOC students
Many of the academic and support programs are grant funded and
are dependent on the changeable priorities of external funders. Testifiers expressed desire for strengthening existing programs and adding more University-funded programs that create a culture of belonging for BIPOC students and all students more generally.
The commission’s recommendations will do much to enhance diversity on our campus and make Binghamton University a place that is truly welcoming and just.
- Harvey G. Stenger, President