Open letter: Faculty Senate calls on CLU admin to address racial climate

Faculty Senate

Dear Administrative Officers of CLU,

In light of the response of CLU administration to recent racist incidents, the Faculty Senate calls on administrative officers in the cabinet to make available for public review a plan for specific and measurable actions to be taken to address the existing racial climate on campus.

Taken in context, the racist events that came to light in the previous weeks are not isolated incidents but only the most recent examples of long-standing and institutional shortcomings at CLU on the issues of racial equity and justice.

The administration’s response, in both tone and content, to the racist incidents of the previous week does not instill confidence that the depth and breadth of the racial problems on campus are understood, nor that CLU has the administrative structures in place to address student, staff and faculty concerns.

The 2022 Strategic Plan states that an Equity Leadership Council will “collect data” and “conduct detailed exit interviews with faculty and staff of color who choose to leave the university.”

Interviewing faculty and staff that have already left the University, as well as promising further campus wide discussions, pays insufficient attention to the urgency of the issues on campus, particularly for communities of color. The plan also states that the “university’s leadership must commit to campus wide discussions about race and equity.”

Where, when and how is this happening, particularly at the cabinet and regent level? Who is directing the structural changes of upper level administration and how will accountability for these changes be monitored?

The Faculty Senate would welcome further data gathering and public reporting by the Equity Leadership Council, particularly addressing tangible progress made on strategic plan key indicators such as:

  • Increased diversity at the Board of Regents and cabinet level that reflects the racial/ethnic demographics of California.
  • Improved campus climate for students, staff, and faculty as measured by campus surveys and focus groups.
  • Guidelines and measures of faculty, staff, and student cultural competency.
  • Guidelines and measures of Administrative cultural competency.
  • A demonstration of the ways in which faculty and staff leadership and promotion are related to equitable policies, practices and procedures.
  • Demonstrated administrative engagement with current students regarding the campus climate as seen from the student perspective
  • A plan for student, staff, and faculty reporting of racial prejudice and discrimination, as well as clear accountability for those who commit such actions.
  • A plan for communicating with, and to, the campus community in the event that racist incidents occur.

We are writing in support of students, staff, and faculty who have sought to make immediate and meaningful change to our community. Without meaningful actions, accountability, and progress on repairing the racial climate at CLU we are failing both our students and our mission.

The Faculty Senate