Members of the Kent State Anti-Racism Task Force Transition Team hosted students and other faculty at a Zoom town hall on Thursday, where they shared progress on the 106 goals anti-racism campaign on campus.
Following opening remarks from President Todd Diacon and Provost Melody Tankersley, the town hall began with Senior Vice President of Student Affairs Lamar Hylton providing information on seven of the recommendations completed by students and faculty, including the development of a faculty hiring best practices manual, the addition of the Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to the Strategic Recruitment team, and the expansion of escort services of security.
“We were able to increase the number of security escorts that go into this program, and the hours to be a 24/7 operation for our campus, which was huge for us,” Hylton said. “It’s a great company for student employment and it also helps our student safety efforts.”
Hylton also described how the university revamped its Community Oriented Policing Program, or COPS. The program aims to allow members of the campus community to communicate directly and regularly with campus police and provides educational resources for those who wish, including personal safety classes, alcohol and drug awareness and ALICE training.
“[It’s] a community program that really helps community members understand policing and community-based policing,” Hylton said. “We were able to reinforce this in many ways in terms of resources and people, training opportunities and number of participants.”
Following this, the Transition Team Committee reported on eight recommendations on which work is still in progress, some of which are the diversity statement on Syllabi, an annual conference on anti-racism and updates of the anti-racism dashboard.
The diversity statement was developed by the university’s Academic Program Committee, chaired by Undergraduate Student Government Chair Chazzlyn Jackson and English Professor Nicole Willey. Jackson and Willey said that while the statement is not required in university curricula, they hope professors will include it in their materials.
The statement expresses the university’s commitment to “creating and sustaining equitable and inclusive learning spaces” and describes the meaning of diversity as the intersection of “race, ethnicity, nationality, primary language, age, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, mental and physical ability, socioeconomic status, family/caregiver status, and veteran status.
The ongoing work on the program statement is in the form of an “ongoing review process”. The Anti-Racism Dashboard says changes will be made regularly to ensure messaging is in line with university values.
The committee also announced its annual anti-racism conference. The dates for this year’s conference are Thursday and Friday October 6th and 7th. Further details will be announced on the Anti-Racism Efforts website.
“Its purpose is to create, through the intersectional lens, our awareness and understanding of anti-racism,” said Gumiko Monobe, a professor in the School of Teaching, Learning and Curriculum Studies. “The conference aims to produce action-oriented strategies that will advance anti-racism in the Kent State community, and it is about learning and supporting as a catalyst for change.”
Monobe said there will be lectures, research presentations, panel discussions, panel discussions, and even art and performance exhibits at the conference, all under the general theme of Against racism. She said there will be other sub-themes including, but not limited to, racist culture in the workplace and in classrooms, intersectionality and sense of belonging, peace and healing.
There are still details the team is working on, such as the venue, schedule and agenda for the conference, creating its own website, marketing the events, and creating ways for campuses. regional to get involved.
The town hall concluded with an update on the Anti-Racism Dashboard, which provides summary and detailed information on the recommendations the Task Force has received from students and faculty, and tracks the progress of each of the Goals. The dashboard also groups goals by people involved, such as “Faculty”, “Students”, “Staff”, as well as the timeframe for the goal, long or short term. Like the other projects the working group has discussed, the dashboard is updated regularly.
Wyatt Loy is a journalist. Contact them at [email protected]