Echoing the principles expressed in the UChicago Community Statement Against Racial and Ethnic Discrimination, this petition of demands seeks to specifically address the culture of racial intolerance at the University of Chicago through tangible policy changes.
Unless further clarified within the specific points, we expect the University to enact these changes by the start of the 2015-2016 Academic Year. These demands are immediate actions that the University can undertake to rectify any claims of inadequate response and protect students moving forward. All initiatives should accompany a public statement clarifying their intent and purpose.
- Campus Climate Survey
- This initiative should be initiated by the beginning of Winter Quarter 2015
- The Campus Climate Survey should be informed by the research of Hurtado et al 2008
- An intersectional approach will be utilized that takes into account all forms of identity including, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, etc.
- Cross-Cultural Competency Program
- Commission a program, similar to AlcoholEdu, that demonstrates the importance of cross-cultural acceptance and inclusion.
- This program will be tailored to the specific roles of administrators, faculty, staff, and students.
- This will ensure that all members of the UChicago community have a clear and concrete idea of what behaviors and attitudes are crucial to creating an inclusive and civil community.
- Accountability and Transparency
- The University should provide a detailed and transparent list of disciplinary/accountability actions as shall be elaborated in (3.d) such that students will be aware of the consequences of any discriminatory actions, as administered by the University.
- Disciplinary/accountability mechanisms for individuals with concrete actions predetermined by the University, in the case that the disciplinary process finds an individual to be guilty of engaging in discriminatory acts.
- Disciplinary/accountability mechanisms for student groups with concrete actions predetermined by the University, in the case that the disciplinary process finds a student group to be guilty of engaging in discriminatory acts.
- The pre-determined actions in response to any acts of discrimination should be gradated, for instance, ranging from an additional educational requirement to minimize the opportunity for future misconduct, to a more serious punitive response.
- These clear, concrete, and transparent processes and disciplinary protocols will help create a campus culture that prioritizes the inclusion of students from diverse backgrounds and builds a climate where everyone feels safe to participate in the University’s community of learning.
Significant steps must be made to meet the long-term demands by fall of 2016. Updates on any and all progress should be made public on a quarterly basis. As members of an institution dedicated to higher learning and the intellectual development of its students, we prefer to prioritize educational interventions that work to avoid any occurrences of bias or discrimination as a whole. We believe that all cases of racial and ethnic intolerance lead to harmful actions, but are not all intentionally offensive. At the root of this issue is the lack of education in racial-ethnic history and ignorance in regards to the negative consequences of perpetuating false stereotypes. As such, we dedicate the following long-term goals to cultivate within the student body respect for difference and diversity. As such, standards for accountability can become nothing more than checks against rare instances of discrimination.
- Curricular Development
- Diversification of the Core curriculum by encouraging and/or developing more courses that grant significant attention to the concepts of race and ethnicity.
- An additional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion requirement added to the Core informed by initiatives similar to UC San Diego’s DEI requirement.
- This can take the form of a writing-seminar style appendage added to civ or sosc. It can be taken pass fail, but will be a requirement for graduation.
- Further development of O-Week Programming, especially a component within the CLM meetings.
- An investigatory committee should be set up to draw from the successful efforts of our peer institutions in implementing required diversity and inclusion education for all of their students.
- Diversification of Faculty
- Intensification of concrete strategies for attracting diverse faculty well beyond the current efforts being made.
- These new faculty members need not necessarily specialize in racial or ethnic studies.
- Implementation of concrete strategies for retaining diverse faculty including, but not limited to, supporting programming and courses in their specializations.
- We expect short term results concerning the recruitment and retention of diverse faculty members as well as transparency on those matters in the future.
We, the undersigned, hereby hold the administration and academic leadership of the University of Chicago accountable to address our concerns and meet our demands. We believe that a commitment to the aforementioned stipulations is both reasonable and attainable, and is in line with the institution’s past promises of fostering a welcoming and diverse environment of academic exchange - free from the distractions of racial and ethnic discrimination and harassment.