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BSU X CUSC 06 / 2 4 / 2020

Black Student Union x Student Council 

The Black Student Union’s Expansion on Existing Demands 

1. Regarding Demands 1 and 2, we remain adamant that University Police cut all ties with Worcester PD, that any funds gained from this action be reallocated to support Black students on campus, and that University Police officers stop carrying weapons (automatic and semi-automatic weapons, and batons). At this time we require an actionable plan with a set timeline, enumerating relevant resource allocations (i.e. financial; personnel), and detailed reasoning of the plan to execute these demands. 

We expect to see the specific implementation steps of the relevant commitments proposed by the University in recent statements, including but not limited to “increased anti-bias training,” “body cameras,” and “new different” demilitarized and trauma informed “approaches to campus safety.” As the University has publicly mentioned it will be “discontinuing use of off-duty Worcester police officers”, the expected University police budget for these intended hiring shall be allocated temporarily towards expanded anti-racism training, with the long-term permanent goal of pursuing alternative methods of security that do not include any iterations of police/police programs. Evidence-based public safety models that reduce violence and center trauma-informed approaches has already been successfully implemented in cities across the U.S. 

In the meantime, our collective will continue to inquire about relevant policies and statistics to inform our advocacy as well as to increase transparency and accountability from University Police with our student body. This line of inquiry is including but not limited to policies regarding University Police and Worcester PD jurisdiction, information from whom the University purchases weapons from, records on weapons discharged by University Police officers, as well as information regarding the nature of University Police’s relationship with Worcester PD. We appreciate your cooperation. 

2. With respect to Demands 3 and 4 and acknowledging recent statements by the University committing to cultural competency/anti-racism training, we require an actionable plan with a set timeline, enumerating relevant resource allocations (i.e. financial; personnel), and detailed reasoning of the plan to execute these demands. 

We expect a particular focus on the implementation steps and reasoning behind the announced NCCJ anti-racism training, the anti-racism training of staff beyond “encouraging” the Diversity and Inclusion Certificate program, and the anti-racism training of faculty and of all students. 

BSU X CUSC 06 / 2 4 / 2020

Foreseeing that the University will not implement the above initiatives before the beginning of this school year, we propose an online summer cultural competency training be created and implemented this summer, which is mandatory for all students. 

This program should be developed by the Dean of Students Office in collaboration with the Dean of Faculty and should consist of a module on discrimination, micro-aggressions, and anti-racism. Such training, after approved by BSU, can take the form of a short seminar built by faculty with different reading and media components, and a 750-word essay on what students learned from the material (See ii-3). Alternatively, it could be based on existing comparable training. 

We suggest this training be: 

  • Akin to the “Alcohol Awareness” Online Training, in that it should be made available online at the latest by August 1st, required of all students to complete before the first day of classes August 24th, and may result in a hold if not completed; 

  • Comparable to the “One Love” Training, in that there is a facilitated follow-up, in-person dialogue later in the semester, but should be facilitated by faculty/staff instead of students; 

  • Similar to the Math/Literature Placement Exams that incoming students take, in that it is made accessible through Moodle. 

  • In the event that this proposed online summer cultural competency training cannot be implemented, we demand the University make a public response explaining the explicit rationale for their noncompliance. 

  • Additionally, the Dean of Students Office, Student Leadership and Programming (SLP), Residential Life and Housing (RLH), and Clark Athletics should conduct a review and publish the findings of its existing cultural competency and/or anti-racism training for Orientation Coordinators (OC), Resident Advisors (RA), Peer Mentors (PM), and all student-athletes. Another immediate step that we suggest to be implemented by this Fall ‘20 Orientation is facilitated dialogues for all student leaders mentioned as well as an additional facilitated dialogue for each sports team. 

These dialogues should focus on current and ongoing issues of systemic racism, and broader topics of race, ethnicity, identity, oppression, sexual orientation, gender, and social class. We recommend the above offices collaborate with the Multicultural and First-Generation Student Support Office (MFGSS) to assign OCs, RAs, and PMs summer reading materials on these topics comparable to the summer reading ACE/Connections Mentors receive. 

In a follow-up session, which should be a part of orientation training, each of these groups of student leaders should engage in a dialogue on the material and ongoing issues of systemic racism facilitated by a staff member. 

BSU X CUSC 06 / 2 4 / 2020

 

These last weeks, the students of Clark Athletics Inclusion Coalition (CAIC) have taken on the labor of facilitating conversations with each sports team. As each team's season begins in Fall ‘20 and Spring ‘21, respective coaches with the support of a staff member should facilitate a similar dialogue. We recommend the Clark Athletics Department collaborate with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) and CAIC to write up an outline to help facilitate these dialogues with each sports team. 

In the event that these proposed facilitated dialogues cannot be implemented, we demand these offices to make a public response explaining the explicit reasons for their noncompliance. Looking forward, we recommend the above offices particularly revise their semesterly Winter Training in that the burden should not be placed on students to lead anti-racism presentations. Beyond this, if an institutionalized alternative has still not been instituted by Spring ‘21, we recommend the above format of Student Leader Anti-Racism Dialogues be repeated in the spring semester. 

We expect that these dialogues should not be a financial burden to the University as a means of avoidance. However, we expect that if this responsibility of facilitating or designing said training falls onto faculty as additional work, they shall be compensated accordingly. 

3. In relation to Demand 5, requesting representation on the search committee for the next Chief of Police, we appreciate your agreeing to have 2 Black staff members as well as a Black Student Union representative be on the committee. 

We expect the details and logistics of the hiring process to be included in the University’s semesterly report (see Demand 8). Further, we would appreciate your cooperation as our collective plans to additionally increase the transparency of this search process by publishing our own reports. 

Additionally, we recommend an online interactive forum with students and final candidates be held as a part of the Chief of Police hiring process, to enable more Black voices to be heard and for students to ask questions of finalists. Consequent student input should be collected by the search committee and should weigh on the final decision.

 

4. As to Demand 6, we have received colloquial evidence that a Revision of the Racial and Bias Incident Reporting has recently been started by ODI and will likely be completed by Fall ‘21. Nevertheless, we require an actionable plan with a set timeline, enumerating relevant resource allocations (i.e. financial; personnel), and detailed reasoning of the plan to execute these demands. We urge larger institutional support for this reform, again not by statements, but by added resources to this effort, specifically financial allocations and increased personnel working on this.

 

BSU X CUSC 06 / 2 4 / 2020

We propose that in the short-term certain “quick fixes” be implemented before this Fall ‘20, such as: Changing the actual Bias Incident Report Form to include: 

  • Increase of the maximum size limit for supporting documents, not limited to photos Confidentiality policies to understand who has access to this report 

  • Clark’s Anti-retaliation policies within the introduction of the form 

  • Option to list and provide identifying information of involved parties 

  • Option to the send this report to other offices or exclude specific offices/members of the current team 

  • Option to download report as a pdf once submitted 

  • Option to accept or decline participation of the investigation 

  • Establish a notification system for students to be made aware of where they are in the process; what step of the process their complaint is in; 

  • Include a meeting in the process where the student has the options to meet with a member of the Bias Intervention Response Team, comparable to RA mediations. 

Looking forward to the long-term changes and overhaul of the system to be implemented by Fall ‘21: Within this year of overhauling the existing system, we ask that Black and BIPOC students be included in this reform effort and invited to work alongside the ODI office. 

We suggest a new position be created within the ODI to oversee and/or chair the Bias Intervention Response Team and whose objective will be to advocate on behalf of affected students in the process; We recommend there be an application process for anyone intending to be on the Bias Intervention Response Team. This application should be open to staff, faculty, and students as well. We particularly believe there should be student representation on the team. The “chair” of the Bias Intervention Response Team should review applicants with input from other student representatives. Faculty, staff, and students selected to join the Bias Intervention Response Team should undergo an anti-bias/anti-racism training before joining; 

The new Bias Incident Response Team should update their membership information on Clark’s website each academic year applicable so that there is transparency on the membership of the team. Students pursuing the Bias Incident Reporting Process should be made further aware of the membership of the Response Team and should have the ability to ask for specific Response Team members to not be involved with their particular case if they do not feel comfortable having them review their case. Further, we recommend that a larger system be developed to process Bias Complaints for other groups of the University (staff and faculty), so that a comparable form and process be open to all members of our community 

 

BSU X CUSC 06 / 2 4 / 2020

 

Again, we expect the University to create a new full-time ODI position given that this department is often overworked and understaffed. Additionally, any student working with the ODI to improve these resources shall be compensated fairly for their work.

 

5. With reference to Demand 7, we acknowledge the University agreeing to hire one Black mental health practitioner. We remain firm that a second Black mental health practitioner be hired by Fall ‘21, and request an actionable plan with a set timeline, enumerating relevant resource allocations (i.e. financial; personnel), and detailed reasoning of the plan to execute this second part of the demand. 

We propose the search for 2 additional Black mental health practitioners begin no later than Fall ‘20 and that the finalists in the search be selected and begin onboarding by Spring ’21. Additionally, Black and BIPOC students should be invited to form part of the search committee and a student interactive forum with finalists should be open to Black and BIPOC students not already on the search committee, and be given the opportunity to ask questions. Further, Black and BIPOC student representatives’ voices should weigh on the selection and onboarding process of the new hires. 

We acknowledge, the University has recently hired non-Black mental health practitioners who have experience working with BIPOC but this is not satisfactory. There should be intentional reform within CPG to ensure that it may financially support additional Black mental health practitioners. We ask that the hiring process of the new Black mental health practitioners be thoroughly outlined in the University’s semesterly report (see Demand 8), with a focus on ways Black and BIPOC student input on candidates will be gathered. If such input is not gathered, we ask for a report outlining the reasoning why as well as for why this candidate was selected. 

6. In regard to Demand 8, we appreciate your agreeing to provide regular updates. We ask that these updates: 

Be provided in the form of semesterly reports released to every member of the University (student body, faculty, and staff) and that a timeline/schedule be made available of when each semesterly report will be published; 

The publishing of the semesterly report should be followed by the scheduling of a Town Hall meeting where all relevant administrators will respond to student concerns, comments, and questions regarding the report. 

Further, the report should include a status update on each of the BSU’s demands, enumerated Demand 1 through 8. The specific requests proposed initiatives and suggested deadlines made in this Memo, "BSU Expansion of Existing Demands" should be equally and adequately addressed. 

BSU X CUSC 06 / 2 4 / 2020

Reminder, in this memo we have asked for: 

The particular review and reporting of the hiring and onboarding processes for Chief of Police and Black Mental Health Practitioners. 

We have also specifically asked for the Dean of Students Office, RLH, SLP, and Clark Athletics to make a public response if they do not implement the online summer cultural competency training and the facilitated dialogues. 

In the event that any of the initially proposed BSU demands or above expansion cannot be implemented, we demand the University make a public and detailed response explaining the explicit rationale for their noncompliance to each particular demand. 

Please note that these demands are not all inclusive and we reserve the right to expand on them further as conditions evolve and new information becomes available. Thank you for your time and we look forward to your response. Black Lives Matter. 

With power, 

BSU x CUSC 

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