Response to Black Student Demands

Status Updates

Following the Chancellor’s statement on Jun. 4, 2020 denouncing anti-Black racism in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and committing the university to further action to address inequities, a group of committed Black Student Organizations issued a Change.org petition requesting specific actions for Advancing Black Undergraduate Life at NC State University.  Chancellor Woodson’s statement commemorating Juneteenth included a commitment to meet all of the items in that petition. The Chancellor, along with Lisa Zapata, interim vice chancellor for academic and student affairs, Sheri Schwab, vice provost for institutional equity and diversity, and Stephanie Helms Pickett, associate vice provost for institutional equity and diversity, then met with student leaders on Jun. 22, 2020 to discuss the petition. Several items were met immediately and some need additional time to bring to fruition.

Below is the list of each petition item and the current status as of Jul. 21, 2020.

Demand 1

We demand that representatives from the NC State Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity (OIED) must have regular (once a month) meetings with the leaders of Black organizations on campus to ensure that the university is actively listening to Black students’ concerns.

RESOLVED 6/22/2020

Initial meetings with the Coalition of Black Student Organizations were held with Chancellor Woodson on Jun. 22 and Jun. 25, 2020, and with the Black Graduate Student Association on Jul. 14, 2020.  Vice Provost Schwab will be working with the Coalition of Black Student Organizations to confirm the list of student organizations that are to be included and ascertain a regular meeting schedule.

Demand 2

We demand that all incoming NC State faculty and staff must complete sensitivity training, upon employment and repeated every 3 years, on how to navigate and address racism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia and other forms of discriminatory and violent language/actions. While the selection of the training program will be the responsibility of the university, the program must be evidence-based and not bid-based in order to ensure maximum effectiveness. This should be enacted by the end of the fall 2020 semester.

RESOLVED 6/22/2020 as to the module being selected and offered to employees.

IN PROGRESS as to achieving completion by all current employees by the end of fall 2020 semester.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) training for  faculty has been secured for the upcoming year and is presently available via REPORTER, the university’s online training registration platform.  We have selected and will soon offer a DEI module for all employees and students (EverFi), beginning Sep. 1, 2020. From here, we will build out a program so that all new employees receive the mandatory training and that such training is repeated for all employees at least every 3 years. We will use the REPORTER system to ensure that employees complete this mandatory training within the academic year.

In addition, NC State has placed DEI professional development requirements into all SHRA and EHRA employee work plans beginning with the 2020-2021 performance cycle. The revised performance evaluation forms for the 2020-2021 cycle can be found on the university’s Employee Relations website. It is expected that all EHRA non-faculty and SHRA employees will have performance evaluation plans that reflect the updated emphasis on NC State’s commitment to a diverse and inclusive community.  We are seeking routes to implementing similar accountability measures in faculty responsibility realms.

Demand 3

We demand that NC State hires a full-time director for the AACC by the end of the fall 2020 semester. The director position has been vacant for a full academic school year. The hiring process should include students, having students appointed to the hiring committee.

RESOLVED 6/22/2020 as to the search being underway and candidates being interviewed.

The search for this important position was already underway when the petition was submitted, with interviews of finalists occurring on Jun. 22, Jun. 23, Jun. 26 and Jun. 29.  Open presentations by each finalist were part of the interview process, with the first 20 minutes of the Q&A session prioritized for responding to student questions. We seek to have a permanent director in place close to the beginning of the fall 2020 semester.

Demand 4

We demand that in addition to the currently required training, NC State requires all student organization leaders to complete a yearly training focusing on diversity and inclusion. If they do not complete this, they will not be able to register as a university-affiliated organization.

IN PROGRESS 7/21/2020

OIED and DASA are working together to accomplish this important recommendation. We already require student organization leaders to engage in campus trainings through their roles, so the diversity component will be a requirement as well. We will identify how the training specifically for student organizations might supplement and be different from the required training. In addition, we will need to resolve policy/regulation components related to the requirement being met in order to register as a university-affiliated organization, and what non-compliance would entail.

The plan is to have demands 4 and 5 be met through the supplemental instruction provided by EverFi. However, students are only allowed to complete the supplemental training once they have completed the mandated student module. We seek to hire a graduate student and a cadre of undergraduate students to facilitate the supplemental training not earlier than Oct. 2020 and run through the entire academic year.

Demand 5

We demand that a mandatory in-person diversity and inclusion training be added to the Greek life Standards of Excellence requirement. At least 75% of the chapter must attend the training. The training will specifically be geared towards Greek life. The training will be decided by the Department of Fraternity and Sorority Life based on evidence of efficiency.

IN PROGRESS 7/21/2020

Similar to #4, OIED and DASA, including Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL), are working together to find training that will build upon the educational experience of the required DEI training that all students will take. Fraternity and Sorority Life began their diversity and inclusion work this past year by acquiring licenses for members of the Greek community to begin engaging in both a DEI module (EverFi) and a face-to-face training.

Diversity and inclusion is a part of FSL’s Standards of Excellence program in two places, Section III: Campus Leadership and Involvement and Section V: Educational and Learning. See their Standards of Excellence Submission Form for a summary.

Chapters must participate in at least one EPIC (Encouraging Positive Interventions within Chapters) program annually. Chapters will rotate topics once per year, and by the third year will complete programs on Sexual Assault Prevention, Diversity and Inclusion, and Alcohol and Other Drugs. (Note: The first-year Fraternity and Sorority Life will be piloting programs so chapters can participate upon request for distinction only. This programming requirement began fall 2018).

All chapter presidents are completing the module this summer with virtual facilitated discussions on Aug. 7, 2020.

Our Encouraging Positive Interventions in Chapters (EPIC) module rotation was sent to one-third of the community, with a face-to-face companion module thereafter. Unfortunately, the pandemic halted face-to-face trainings. We are currently in the process of rescheduling the training piece virtually for each participating organization. This fall, we will be able to provide the same EverFi tool to all members of the FSL community and will continue to expand these offerings even more broadly. While FSL currently articulates a 50% completion requirement, they have committed to a 75% requirement.  The DEI module was introduced in the EPIC modules in 2019. All chapter presidents are completing the module this summer with virtual facilitated discussions to augment the video module scheduled for Aug. 7, 2020.

Demand 6

We demand that NC State administration releases a clear and detailed protocol of the Strategic Plan Task Force before the start of the Fall 2020 semester. The administration should allow a window for public feedback. This protocol must explicitly state how it will benefit Black students. The protocol will be distributed via email and posted on a web page.

IN PROGRESS 7/12/2020

As part of the University’s Strategic Planning process, each Task Force’s report will be posted on the Strategic Planning website, with a two- to three-week time for community feedback on each report. This will include the Advancing Inclusion and Well-Being Task Force, along with the other eight areas. A campus-wide communication will be sent at the beginning of the academic year to invite feedback and comment. These communications will be through email and posted on the Strategic Planning website consistent with other communications regarding the overall strategic planning process. See the Strategic Plan Timeline for additional information.

Further, Vice Provost Schwab is part of the Steering Team; all Steering Team members will be charged to ensure that diversity, equity and inclusion, including an anti-racism lens, is incorporated into all aspects of the Strategic Plan.

Demand 7

We demand the creation of a designated fund that allows alumni and community members’ donations to be directly used for Black organizations, student spaces and Black life on campus continuously throughout the year. The current fund, the African American Cultural Center (AACC) Enrichment Fund, is not available continuously throughout the year. The dispersion of funds will be determined by the directors of the AACC and Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA).

RESOLVED 6/22/2020

The AACC Enrichment fund has been continuously available on the AACC Giving web page. The purpose of this fund is to provide resources for the space, programming and initiatives of the AACC but is not eligible to be given directly to student, faculty or staff organizations. The disbursement of these funds is determined by the director of the AACC; please note that the director of MSA does not have authority to disperse AACC Enrichment Fund monies.

The Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA) Enrichment Fund is likewise currently available, and has been available on the MSA Giving web page.  The purpose of this fund is to provide resources for the space, programming and initiatives of MSA but is not eligible to be given directly to student, faculty or staff organizations. Please note that the director of the AACC does not have authority to disperse MSA Enrichment Fund monies.

OIED is working with University Advancement to increase opportunities for giving in support of Black student organizations, student spaces and programs. 

Demand 8

We demand that the Black Male Initiative Village shall only relocate if there is an overwhelming majority of BMI students affirming the relocation.

RESOLVED 6/22/2020

University Housing wholeheartedly supports and believes in the future of this program and the impact it has in supporting the Black male student experience. We are committed to doing what is in the program’s best interest to ensure it is not only sustained, but nurtured to meet the needs of our current Black male scholars and future students. To that end, University Housing leadership has met with student leadership of BMI to continue discussion about the goals to support BMI and its future. These discussions will continue in the new academic year.

Additionally, NC State Living and Learning Villages are deeply rooted in partnership and collaboration and as such, have advisory councils serving as a steering committee to ensure villages stay true to their mission, reach established goals and help to shape their future to meet the needs of student participants. Important next steps in our discussions involve bringing together BMI student leaders and the advisory council to further discuss the program’s future. When a meeting is scheduled, we will share with involved parties.

Demand 9

We demand that the NC State administration actively recruits and hires Black individuals for all positions including faculty and staff. The university should work to gradually increase the percentage of Black faculty and staff each year.

IN PROGRESS CONTINUOUSLY

University HR and OIED, along with commitment from each college dean and division director, is seeking to bolster more inclusive recruiting and hiring practices for faculty and staff.  In Jun. 2020, NC State identified an initial 35+ individuals — 15 in HR and 1 person in each college and division — to take the Diverse Faculty/Staff Recruitment Certification by Academic Network.  This certification, which is the only one of its kind in the country, is specifically tailored to methods of locating, recruiting and retaining diverse applicants for faculty, staff and administrative positions.

Each spring, the Provost’s Office supports, through OIED, the Building Future Faculty program to bring current doctoral and postdoctoral students of color to NC State’s campus for development as academic professionals as well as to meet with departments at NC State that have faculty positions coming open in the future. 

Demand 10

We demand that the NC State administration install increased lighting throughout the entirety of the Brickyard and the areas surrounding Talley Student Union. The lack of proper lighting has raised several safety concerns, preventing students from feeling safe while walking in these areas.

IN PROGRESS 7/21/2020

Each year, Student Government spearheads a “night safety walk” in coordination with University Facilities and attended by students, facilities technicians and campus police to help routinely identify areas for improvement, especially around lighting. Notes about areas of concern are captured and either repairs are made right away or students are invited to participate in the planning to upgrade the lighting.

NC State Facilities will schedule a meeting with interested Black Student Organization representatives to review the current lighting around Talley and the Brickyard.  NC State has a detailed lighting study/design to improve campus lighting and is currently in an additional phase of outdoor lighting upgrades using LED fixtures that emit much brighter light.