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Monday, May 23, 2022

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Moving Beyond Healing to Action

The following was sent as an all-campus email on March 8.
By SDSU News Team
 

After a week of healing in the aftermath of a reported incident where multiple individuals called out a racial slur directed towards the Black Resource Center at San Diego State University, SDSU President Adela de la Torre, Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Christy Samarkos and Chief Diversity Officer J. Luke Wood released a follow up statement about campus response and additional action. 

We believe that whenever members of our community experience an egregious act that dishonors our humanity and the values we uphold, we must take time to come together to dialogue, listen and support one another. That was the intention of this week’s healing circles after learning that a racial slur was yelled outside of the Black Resource Center. 

We have met with many students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members this week. Many of you have shared sentiments of anger and heartbreak. Some of you have even come forward to share additional stories of discrimination based on your diverse backgrounds and experiences. 

To our Black students, faculty and staff: we see you, we hear you and we stand with you. 

To our entire campus community: We must take further action together and now. 

Since Monday, and in addition to the three healing circles scheduled, we have implemented important changes meant to improve the safety of our campus. These improvements complement existing programs, services and other efforts -- some of them long-standing at SDSU -- that broadly support improved diversity and inclusion in support of all members of our campus community. 

Systems for Reporting Bias 

For several months, we have been working to establish a coordinated system to track incidents of hate and bias, such as those we have recently experienced. The system will be based in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion in collaboration with the Dean of Students. The university currently has many processes in place for reporting issues of bias as they occur, including Public Safety, the Office of Employee Relations and Compliance, the Center for Student Rights and Responsibilities, Human Resources and Academic Labor Relations. This system will not supplant those established avenues of reporting, but will help the campus identify incidents and trends, as well as coordinate and develop strategies for community improvement. 

  • Hate crimes should be formally reported to the University Police by calling 619-594-1991 or emailing policeinvestigations@sdsu.edu.
  • Students can report incidents to the Center for Student Rights and Responsibilities online
  • Information about the employee reporting process is available through the Business and Financial Affairs website. 

Enhanced Security Measures at the BRC 

The campus police have provided the Office of Diversity and Inclusion with recommendations for enhancing security at the Black Resource Center. As a result, the campus will enhance security measures at the center by implementing several key recommendations from the report, to include enhanced security and improved coordination with University Police. 

Discussion Circle on Recommendations for Improvement 

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion will host a discussion with students in the Black Resource Center with Chief Diversity Officer J. Luke Wood. The purpose of the discussion is to listen to recommendations on how SDSU can work to ensure that Black students feel welcomed, safe and supported by the campus community. The discussion will take place on Tuesday evening. Contact harambeescholars@sdsu.edu for details. Light refreshments will be served. 

In addition to the aforementioned, SDSU has two new initiatives that are designed to improve campus climate in the SDSU community. 

Provost’s Professors of Equity 

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s inaugural Provost’s Professors of Equity in Education were named this spring. The Provost’s Professors have begun providing intensive, ongoing professional learning opportunities for SDSU faculty on diversity-related topics (including ways to avoid race and gender-based bias). You can learn more about the group by visiting the Professors of Equity webpage. Faculty and staff may also request professional learning opportunities from the Professors by filling out the online form. To learn more, contact Cristina Alfaro, Provost’s Chair of Faculty Diversity & Inclusion, at calfaro@sdsu.edu

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) 

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion also recently launched Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). ERG’s are designed to build an inclusive environment for SDSU employees from various employment groups, with particular attention to employees from historically underrepresented and underserved backgrounds. ERGs commonly include faculty and staff associations for varying identity groups, including Asian and Pacific Islander, Black/African American, Latinx, Native American, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community members). To learn more, contact Emilio Ulloa, the Employee Resource Groups Coordinator, at emilio.ulloa@sdsu.edu

These efforts are part of a number of new and emerging efforts designed to foster diversity and inclusion on our campus. We believe that through our collective action, we will be able to help build and nurture a compassionate culture where students, faculty and staff can thrive, no matter their background. 

 

Adela de la Torre

San Diego State University President 

 

J. Luke Wood

Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Vice President for Faculty Diversity and Inclusion