Brown University President Christina H. Paxson announced that the university would address the issue of campus racism with a 10-year plan worth $100 million. The action plan will combat racism in its campuses and promote diversity, according to the announcement posted on the university’s website.
The 19-page draft action plan is called “Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion: An Action Plan for Brown University.” It includes a set of actions to solve the issues faced by campus members, including injustice, inequity, privilege, power and racism. There are three doctrines included in the plan, namely academic leadership, investment in people and campus community, with each category having a set of real measures to support the university’s goals.
The plan’s concrete measures include the establishment of a committee on diversity and creation of an annual report that will include information and data on its progress; expansion of campus research on social justice, ethnicity and race; doubling the number of faculty from the usually underrepresented groups by 2024 or 2025; provision of additional financial support of undergraduate students from low-income families and the appointment of a dean specifically to work with them.
President Paxson also thanked the students of color for calling the attention of the university and the need for action to address injustice and racism on campus. She said they heard the deep pain expressed by faculty, staff members and students of color and that it was very real. She added that the key to its aspirations as a university is to create an inclusive and just campus community and that discrimination and racism on campus counteract the university’s goals of being an inclusive, academically excellent and diverse community.
In the early part of November, students numbering in the hundreds from Providence College and Brown University started a protest on racial discrimination. A day after the protest, there was a report that a public-safety officer of the university assaulted a Darmouth student attending a Latino student conference in Brown. The incident sparked protests from a number of colleges and universities in the U.S. including Princeton University, University of Missouri and Yale University.
In response to the incident, President Paxson had to send each Ivy League college president a letter of apology. Several student organizations, represented by 35 graduate students also demanded that administrators of Brown University should boost their relationship with students of color.
An online feedback form will be available until December 4 so that public comment on the Pathways draft could be sent before the draft is finalized.
The Pathways plan is said to provide traveling expenses for low-income graduates during emergencies at home, computers and health insurance. As many as 60 new faculty members would be added by 2025 and staffing boost at centers in the campus will focus on transgender, bisexual, lesbian, gay and female students.
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