Response to Black Student Demands
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 the 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, 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 current status as of October 25, 2021.
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.
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 worked with the Coalition of Black Student Organizations to confirm the list of student organizations interested in meeting and opened her calendar to any requested meetings on an ongoing basis.
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.
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) training modules for faculty and staff have been deployed via REPORTER, the university’s online training registration platform. These modules are now required for all employees.
All new employees repeat the training at recurring intervals. The REPORTER system automatically sends notifications to employees to ensure that they complete their training when scheduled.
In addition, NC State placed DEI professional development goals into all SHRA and EHRA employee work plans beginning with the 2020-2021 performance cycle. The revised performance evaluation forms are available on the university’s Employee Relations website. All EHRA non-faculty and SHRA employees must now have performance evaluation plans that reflect the updated emphasis on NC State’s commitment to a diverse and inclusive community.
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.
A new African American Cultural Center director was hired in October of 2020.
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.
Student organization leaders are now required to complete diversity training, which is also highly encouraged for all other students. Due to the pandemic, this training requirement is served through EverFi online training.
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.
Student organizations are now required to complete diversity training, which is also highly encouraged for all other students. Due to the pandemic, this training requirement is served through EverFi online 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.
Chapters must participate in at least one EPIC (Encouraging Positive Interventions within Chapters) program annually. Chapters rotate topics once per year, and by the third year will have completed programs on Sexual Assault Prevention, Diversity and Inclusion, and Alcohol and Other Drugs. (Note: The first-year Fraternity and Sorority Life piloted programs in fall 2018).
All chapter presidents are required to complete the training module before the beginning of each academic year.
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.
NC State’s 2021-30 Strategic Plan: Wolfpack 2030: Powering the Extraordinary, was endorsed by the NC State Board of Trustees on April 16, 2021. The plan includes seven strategic goals, including Goal 4: Champion a culture of equity, diversity, inclusion, belonging and well-being in all we do. Development of this goal was led by Vice Provost Sheri Schwab and Executive Director of Counseling Center and Prevention Services Monica Osburn, who co-chaired a task force. The development of this goal involved a thorough feedback gathering process that involved numerous constituencies, including students, faculty and staff.
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).
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.
University Advancement supports OIED through additional giving opportunities and campaigns benefiting Black student organizations, student spaces and programs, including campaigns for Day of Giving, Giving Tuesday, Extraordinary Opportunity, and several other initiatives.
We demand that the Black Male Initiative Village shall only relocate if there is an overwhelming majority of BMI students affirming the relocation.
University Housing wholeheartedly supports and believes in the future of this program and the impact it has in supporting the Black male student experience. BMI Village will stay in its current location.
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.
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.
University HR and OIED, along with commitment from each college dean and division director, has worked 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.
To see the current number and distribution of Black faculty and staff, please see the Diversity section of the Institutional Strategy and Analysis website.
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.
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. Facilities has now completed an additional phase of outdoor lighting upgrades using LED fixtures that emit much brighter light.