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Paxson releases diversity, inclusion plan draft

Plan includes proposal for new first-gen center and dean for first-gen, low-income students

By
Senior Staff Writer
Friday, November 20, 2015

A working draft of the University’s action plan for diversity and inclusion released Thursday night outlines investments totaling more than $100 million over the coming decade that will “promote diversity and inclusion and confront the issues of racism, power, privilege, inequity and injustice that are part of the Brown experience for so many members of our campus,” the action plan states.

The document, titled “Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion: An Action Plan for Brown University,” was originally set to be released at the end of the month in its final form. But after the alleged assault of a visiting Dartmouth student who was a delegate to the Latinx Ivy League Conference by a Department of Public Safety officer Saturday, administrators opted to share a working draft of the document this week and field community input.

An online feedback form will be available until Dec. 4, at which point the University will review the submitted comments, modify the plan and release a final version by the end of the semester, Paxson wrote.

The University committed to creating a center for first-generation college students by fall 2016 and hiring a new dean “dedicated to working with and supporting first-generation and low-income students,” according to the plan. Additionally, the plan states the University will increase funding for low-income students to access needed goods and services such as health insurance, textbooks and laptops.

The Office of Campus Life and Student Services will double the money available through its Emergency Fund. The plan also states the University will increase access to housing and dining services during breaks.

The plan details efforts to increase diversity in hiring, bolster support services on campus for students from historically underrepresented groups, implement faculty and staff diversity and sensitivity training and foster research, teaching and discussion on issues of diversity.

The document reiterates the University’s commitment to hiring 55 to 60 faculty members from historically underrepresented groups by the 2024-25 academic year, which would double the current number of such faculty members. It will do this through more cluster hiring, continued support for the presidential postdoctoral fellows program and a new program aimed at attracting visiting senior scholars from historically underrepresented groups.

The plan also commits to doubling the number of graduate students from historically underrepresented groups within the same period of time. To further this goal, the Graduate School and Alpert Medical School are currently looking to fill administrative positions to oversee targeted diversity recruitment efforts.

Additionally, the plan states that the University will add two or three staff positions in the 2016-17 academic year that will work with the Brown Center for Students of Color, the Sarah Doyle Women’s Center and the LGBTQ center.

The plan also recommends creating a Native American and Indigenous Peoples Initiative to help recruit faculty members and postdoctoral fellows who do work in this area.

The document mentions the piloting of several professional development workshops related to race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and identity this January for faculty members, staff members, graduate students and administrators. The development of these workshops will draw on faculty members and compensated grad students with relevant expertise.

The plan does not explicitly state whether such workshops, once finalized, will be mandatory for faculty or staff members.

The University is also developing an orientation program for new faculty and staff members that looks at those topics and their intersectionalities.

Beyond these measures, individual departments will be responsible for developing and implementing specific training programs and professional development opportunities suited to their specific needs.

The document also states that the University will “examine the need for additional diversity and sensitivity training for all officers in the Department of Public safety,” but it does not commit to any changes in relation to campus police.

The Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America and the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice will both be expanded in order to provide additional resources for and strengthen “interdisciplinary scholarship on issues related to structural racism and social justice,” according to the plan. The BrownTogether comprehensive campaign identified the two centers as fundraising priorities, the plan states, and the University is seeking $10 million in gifts for each.

With support from the Provost’s Office, CSREA will launch a series of events on “How Structural Racism Works,” with the first taking place in December. This project will be one of several efforts to spark University-wide discussion on power, privilege, identity and structural racism, with the goal of making “Brown a leader on understanding and addressing structural racism in our society,” the plan states.

The plan also proposes doubling the number of sophomore seminars centered on power, privilege, inequality and social justice.

Going forward, the University will develop a call for proposals next month to start the process of finding an external firm to design a campus climate survey to gauge bias and discrimination more effectively.

The Office of Institutional Diversity will release an annual public report that will track the success of initiatives laid out in the action plan, and a Diversity Inclusion and Oversight Committee will form this spring to coordinate these efforts.

Administrators could not be reached for comment by press time Thursday evening, and students who have been vocal in calling for change declined to comment on the plan.

Topics:
  • Gray Liddell

    “Diversity is our strength!”
    Motto of the former country of Yugoslavia.

  • Brown Alum

    “The plan also proposing doubling the number of sophomore seminars centered on power, privilege, inequality and social justice.” Lest anyone have any doubt, the radical left and its abhorrent grievance industry have hijacked and fully cemented their control of Brown. Brown is an institution fully of, by, and for the radical left. Whether in the years ahead during the recently announced capital campaign moderate and/or conservative-thinking alums will donate to Brown’s far-left causes and mission will be an interesting question. Their voice is neither heard nor reflected in any meaningful sense on campus and, worse, it is shouted down and silenced by the left at every turn.

    • A New Leaf

      “Power, privilege, inequality and social justice.” How are these issues of the “radical left?” I see them as issues of humanity.

      • MaroonVee

        All terms of the left. In actual practice they really mean special privileges for some at the expense of the better qualified.

  • ShadrachSmith

    Mandatory re-education classes, how Marxist.

    The whole thing is based in Marx’s belief that the existing culture doesn’t matter any more because the new system of Justice [empowering social groups] is replacing the old system of justice [American individual liberties].

    That is what Rawls system of Social Justice shares with Marxism, the existing laws and customs just don’t matter any more because we have a new faction in power under a new system of Social Justice. The Mongols used the same system of politics…SJWs are here now, and we are in charge, and we ain’t kiddin.

    Replacing American constitutional law with the whims of our new masters…Good, Bad, Discuss.

    • Puzzled, much.

      It’s puzzling to me how you
      appear to suggest that what you describe as “the new system of
      justice,” which I take to be synonymous with “Rawls [sic] system of
      Social Justice,” (since you ally them both with Marx in an implied
      pejorative sense) somehow replaces a system of “individual liberties.”

      It’s puzzling because Rawls’ first principle of justice states: “”First: each person is to have an equal right
      to the most extensive basic liberty compatible with a similar liberty for
      others.” (Rawls, A Theory of Justice, Rawls, p.53 revised edition; p.60 old 1971 first
      edition). True the second principle justifies deviations from this only where
      inequalities are to the greatest benefit to the least well off, but that’s a
      way of ensuring the inequalities remaining, *after* the basic liberties
      are assured for *all* citizens, are just. Still, that principle comes
      second. The basic liberties are first.

      It’s puzzling because I see you repeating the
      claim on other threads and comments that somehow Rawlsian liberalism represents
      this anti-liberty tradition of the hard left steamrollering basic
      constitutional liberties. And the claim that Rawls is apparently a group-rights
      theorist (bizarre when contrasted with actual group rights theorists). Yet,
      spend a modicum of time actually reading Rawls, and those claims and
      implications are patently misplaced.

      The kind of social justice Rawls promotes is
      liberal democratic (in the political-philosophical-analytical sense, not the
      partisan one–i.e. in the sense that the U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada, New
      Zealand, EU countries etc. are at least avowedly liberal democracies because
      they are philosophically committed to liberal democratic values, however these may
      be realized in practice with varying commitment and success). Rawls’ theory
      requires that *ALL* citizens have access to the individual liberties you prize.
      And if some citizens in groups which have historically suffered and remain
      subject to marginalization are prevented from enjoying those liberties, that’s
      a problem of political justice that we’re required to address–albeit one that
      in terms of ethnoracial inequality, liberal theory has largely been
      woefully inadequate in addressing. (It also happens to be a problem under
      the U.S. Constitution).

      TL;DR. Clearly, you have some kind of beef with some
      conception of the “pursuit of social justice,” but I really don’t see
      how the pseudo-intellectual misuse of political theory helps your case. If
      you’d care to set that aside, make your claims/observations consistent with
      your belief in upholding individual liberties and try to show us
      how apparently you diverge from Rawls and the liberal democratic view of
      justice, perhaps you’d have something approaching an argument with which your
      audiences could engage.

      Unless, of course, you’re just a wanton troll. In which
      case, as you were, but kindly quit presenting your false equivalencies and
      conflations as though they are authoritative arguments.

      • ShadrachSmith

        There is nothing implied about my opposition to almost every part of Marx/Rawls. They empower the tools of tyranny, preferably Marxist.

        1) The Liberty principle

        “First: each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive basic liberty compatible with a similar liberty for
        others.”

        Grammatically, that statement promises the citizen nothing. Pity you missed that.

        2) The Distributive principle, which the administrative justice systems Rawls designed to suit a Marxist dictatorship. The principles are simple: take what you see and give it to whoever you want. The Mongols use the same principle with much success, but they could ride horses.

        If you don’t see current academic political fashion as accurately described by the term Rawlsian Marxism I would be happy to walk you through it. Have you read any of their books? If you have read Madison’s Fed#10, you will see that he describes using political intimidation to suppress individual rights as the very definition of tyranny and evil in politics. I think Madison had a point about that and I would love to discuss it with you…if you’ve read Madison too 🙂

  • stratomartin

    Standards continue to tumble all around us. Lowering the bars of intellect and behavior so all can have a seat at the table. Welcome the great unwashed; of any race.

    • rick131

      That is why schools are getting rid of the SATs and making the SATs easier so more minorities can apply.

  • Brown Alum

    The best way to increase diversity is to increase ranking. Students of all colors want to go to the best school. The PLME attracts the best students from across the nation because of its prestige. That is why it is the most diverse. It is time for Brown to lead from strength. Select a few areas of excellence (e.g. Applied Math, Econ, Computer Science) and be the best in those areas. The diversity will follow.

  • Bill Webb

    Never-ending search for the “great white defendant”

  • MaroonVee

    So basically Brown wants to institute Affirmative Action, through the back door. Hasn’t the USSC ruled this illegal. If not it should.

  • Eric Rohmer

    the irony is that paying for these new centers and these new deans will make Brown even more prohibitively expensive

    if private colleges (such as Brown) want to make their campuses more diverse, they can’t keep hiking tuition up and up, closer to six figures every year. it’s absurd.

  • Quick question, Christina: With only 13% of applications to Brown coming from outside the US, does that mean that the US has 87% of the best and brightest applicants in the world?
    Or does it suggest that Brown’s focus on the US limits its access to the best and the brightest around the world?
    …a better approach would improve Brown’s “diversity”

    Christina, why don’t you reach out to students from around the world?

  • rick131

    They won’t spend a hundred million on a new science or engineering or student center or dining hall building, but they will spend the money on this garbage.

    • Brown Alum

      Very insightful comment and right on the mark! It’s a complete disgrace that Brown completely caves to the radical elements in the student body and wastes such extraordinary sums in an effort to try to pacify and placate those who cannot and will not be pacified or placated. This is the principal reason why I’ve gone from being a six-figure donor to Brown to $0. It won’t surprise me at all to learn that moderate to conservative-leaning alums decide not to support the current capital campaign and leave the funding of Brown’s uber-leftist mission to others.