Program to combat racism and racial harassment and to enhance cultural diversity: Update

May 2000
To the University Community:

One of the clear and important goals of St. Cloud State University is to achieve diversity and social justice. This vision is part of our mission and is a major theme in our strategic planning. It has been widely discussed by all of us, and specifically by the Strategic Planning Committee. It is our most challenging theme, and it is one to which I am deeply committed. As a university, we have addressed our desire to successfully foster a truly tolerant, harassment-free, multicultural community, and we will continue our efforts to unite to nurture a more supportive environment.

In recent years, plans of action have been developed by the Strategic Planning Committee, the Student Government, and the Office of the President, all working in partnership with a variety of individuals and organizations on campus. Those plans have resulted in improvement in the recruitment of faculty and staff of color and other tangible signs of progress. The university has prepared a review of specific instances of progress based on these three plans. That review is attached to this memorandum. The document reviews advances made in five general areas, culled from the three plans for direction and progress:

There is no doubt that this university has made substantial progress in achieving diversity and social justice. There is, too, little doubt but that we have a long way to go. The point of this report is to thank the many of you who have contributed to our success, to celebrate the progress we have made, and to recommit myself and this office to continuing progress toward our mutual goals.

Progress Toward Achieving Diversity and Social Justice
at St. Cloud State University 1998-2000

Increasing the Diversity of the University Community:

Diversity will be achieved in part by including on our campus a population of faculty, staff and students that is more representative of the populations of the nation and the increasingly heterogeneous population of the state and region. In great part diversity means heterogeneity, and social justice cannot be achieved without a community of persons to define and advocate for social justice and provide support to victims when intolerance occurs. The university will interpret diversity to include persons of international origins, but it will not retreat from a commitment to increase the numbers of domestic minorities. Since 1998 the university has achieved substantive success in increasing diversity. Evidence of this progress includes:

  • Searches completed for Fall 1998 hiring included 23% persons of color.
  • Searches for Fall 1999 hiring included 19% persons of color.
  • Since 1998 all search processes have included a review of position descriptions by the Affirmative Action Officer intended to increase the potential for increasing diversity through that specific search.
  • All position advertisements for unclassified positions include the requirement of a "demonstrated ability to teach/work with culturally diverse people."
  • Hiring success for diversity has been achieved in highly visible positions, including the Director of Human Resources, the Director of Business Services, the Dean of the College of Science and Technology, the Associate Dean of the College of Social Science, the Director of the Chicano/a Studies Program, two Admissions Counselors, a counselor in the Counseling Center, the Assistant Director of Public Safety, and 26 faculty.
  • A Minority Support and Leadership position has been added in Intercollegiate Athletics.
  • The President's Office has funded a study by four members of the faculty intended to develop proposals for the retention and promotion of faculty of color.

Increasing Awareness and Sensitivity in the University Community:

In order to achieve a community where cultural differences are celebrated, and intolerance eliminated, the university and its citizens must establish a means through which diversity and social justice is defined, promoted, and where acts of intolerance are established as unacceptable. The university has made significant effort to achieve these ends.

  • Beginning in 1998 all entering students have been required to participate in Respect and Responsibility training before registering for the second semester.
  • Since 1998 new student orientation has included a review of the university's commitment to diversity and social justice, as well as the expectation that all campus citizens will participate in that commitment.
  • The Faculty Association and the University have developed a Racism curriculum for inclusion in the fall 2000 catalogue. Beginning in fall 2000 the course will be required of all new entering first year students, and in the fall of 2001 the course will be required for new entering transfer students as well.
  • Training regimens for Residential Life and Public Safety have been revised to include cultural, racial, sexual/affectional preference, and disability sensitivity and awareness.
  • A Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender support and training coordinator was hired in the fall of 1999.
  • Since 1998 numerous university-wide training and lecture sessions were sponsored, including James Banks (who also was a commencement speaker), James Lowen, Peggy MacIntosh, Lloyd Daniels (also a commencement speaker), Ntsikie Biko, Bernard Franklin, Victor Lewis and David Christiansen.
  • The Learning Resources Center identified 384 items in collections addressing issues of diversity and social justice. In 1999 an additional 269 items were added to the collection. A special collection on diversity and social justice has been created from these materials.
  • The University conducted a two-month training session on "Reporting Hate Crimes" which was attended by over 500 faculty and staff.
  • The University has obtained the Workplace Integrity, Self-Esteem, Equality and Respect (WISER) curriculum for delivery to all classified staff as well as MSUAASF and Excluded Managers. The initial training was conducted in March 2000 for staff in administrative affairs and facilities management.
  • Residential Life has created a Diversity Council to develop regular training opportunities for Residence Hall programming.
  • Residential Life created a Diversity Coordinator designed to develop training and celebration opportunities in Residence Halls.
  • Staff training has been numerous in 1998, 1999 and 2000. Specific training has included Student Life Directors and staff, Administrative Affairs Directors and staff, Student Government, Public Safety and Residential Life. Programs have included American Indian Culture, WISER, Safe Space, and Latino American Training.
  • The Public Safety Department engaged a consultant to conduct an analysis of preparedness for sensitivity to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals. Recommendations from that consultation have been implemented, including revised training routines.
  • Training for new Public Safety staff and ongoing training routines contain revised programs for race and sexual preference sensitivity.

Celebrating the Multicultural Fabric of the University Community:

Achieving diversity is only the first step. Truly celebrating our multicultural heritage also requires that we create events and activities designed to further our recognition of diversity and to celebrate our multiculturalism. Several efforts to that end have been made in the past two years.

  • Since 1998 the Office of the President has provided financial assistance for more than fifty events, projects and research efforts designed to promote the rich, multicultural quality of life at St. Cloud State University. These projects included speakers such as Lloyd Daniels and Ntsikie Biko, the Mind Overseas Program, which took twenty students to South Africa over two years, and conferences such as the Midwest GLBT College Conference. A list of the projects is attached to this report. The funding totals over $210,000.
  • The American Indian Center has held two student recognition dinners patterned after the Multicultural Student Services recognition program.
  • The American Indian Center sponsored and hosted the seventh annual Pow Wow at St. Cloud State University.

Supporting Social Justice and Eliminating Intolerance:

Unfortunately, and despite the best efforts of campus citizens, intolerant acts do and will occur. In a just society, it is important that when such occurrences are identified, they be treated fairly, with due process, and that penalties and sanctions be meted out where appropriate. The university is committed to this course of action and to publicizing these events and their outcomes.

  • The University added a ninth reason for automatic removal from Residence Halls -- bias-motivated offenses. Two individuals have been removed from Residence Halls for proven bias-motivated acts; several others have been removed for a combination of issues, including bias-motivated acts.
  • The University has published quarterly bias-motivated offense reports including descriptions of the reports, reviews of investigation, outcomes and penalties levied.
  • Residential Life has made several improvements including:
    1. Addition of video surveillance for lobbies
    2. Doubling night supervisor staff and instituting constant "rounds" for visibility, security and response
    3. All security staff have been assigned radios for constant communication and increased response
  • Public Safety, Residential Life and other offices have instituted a promotional campaign to establish "zero tolerance" and to make clear that any bias-motivated action will be seriously investigated and penalties assigned where appropriate.
  • Protocols to remove intolerant symbols from university property immediately upon discovery have been implemented and followed.
  • The Office of Student Life has developed a promotional effort with pocket cards that provide contacts for victims.
  • Advocacy routines have been established and are well used when reports of bias-motivated crimes are received. The Office of Affirmative Action, the Public Safety Department, the Women's Center, Multicultural Student Services, and the American Indian Center work collaboratively to provide assistance and advocacy for victims first.

Reaffirming the University's Commitment in the Region and State:

As a large and influential organization in the region, and as a value leader, the university has a responsibility to promote diversity and social justice in central Minnesota and across the state. The university is committed to that role and has had several successes in recent years to that end.

  • University publications are regularly reviewed to be certain that the university expresses and celebrates its commitment to diversity and social justice.
  • Faculty, staff, and students from St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud Technical College, the College of St. Benedict, and St. John' s University collaborated on a series of speakers and events that were held at each campus and in the community to celebrate diversity and social justice.
  • Faculty, staff and administrators have been participants in the Mayor's Diversity Initiative and have taken lead roles in projects within that program.
  • The University has provided support to the Pipeline Project, providing opportunities to regional students of color for after school, weekend, and summer programs at SCSU.

Back: To the Issues main page