Our initial plan to advance an anti-racist Watts College
October 7, 2020
Updated April 27, 2021
Our Watts College community remains deeply concerned about our faculty, staff and students of color. The killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and the shooting of Jacob Blake are tragedies that underscore the need to grapple with the ever-present legacy of racism, white supremacy and discrimination in our nation. The violence against Black and Indigenous communities must end. We mobilize now with a renewed sense of urgency to advance racial justice in our local communities and the nation. We stand in solidarity with our Black faculty, staff and students and affirm that Black Lives Matter.
We recognize that we must examine ourselves with a sense of immediacy, understanding that it is our responsibility to identify and eradicate any policies or practices of the college that have created inequities due to our action (or inaction) for groups that face disadvantage as a result of systemic racism.
Based on recommendations from our Committee on Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) — a standing committee that helps the college to realize its vision by formulating coordinated actions and initiatives to address diversity, equity and fairness — we are providing a list of actions we will be taking immediately to advance anti-racist practices. We recognize the importance of sharing power in doing this work and remain grateful to the faculty, staff, students and community members who serve on CDI for their role in advancing this effort.
We look forward to considering additional ideas for ongoing engagement in the following academic year to ensure our faculty, staff and students are included in the planning process. Pending available resources and budgetary approval, we aim to secure a permanent leadership position to lead diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging within Watts College. This is just the beginning.
Racial climate survey
Racial climate survey
We will contract with an external consultant to advance an evaluation of the work climate of the college as it relates to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. The consultant will launch an anonymous climate survey by the end of January 2021. We are prepared to make changes to policies and practices that emerge from the feedback gathered from our faculty and staff through this confidential mechanism. We are prepared to invest in providing anti-racist training that can be implemented for all employees of Watts College, including our senior leadership team, which remains committed to modeling lifelong learning as it relates to eradicating systemic racism; this training will be informed by the feedback that emerges from the survey.
04/27/2021 UPDATE: With the help of our Committee on Diversity and Inclusion (CDI), we identified and advanced a contract with MGT Consulting Group in December 2020. An ad hoc committee of CDI was formed to work directly with MGT on two phases of this project. The first phase involved conducting interviews and focus groups with Watts employees (faculty, staff and student workers) to inform the develop of an equity and inclusion climate survey. Phase 1 was completed in March and a report with findings will be provided to us in May. An initial draft of the equity and inclusion survey instrument was developed by MGT and the CDI ad hoc committee that was informed by findings from the interviews and focus groups. The draft of the survey was submitted for university review in early April but revisions based on feedback could not be completed for distribution prior to the end of the spring semester. We will be working with the university this summer to revise such that survey will be administered in September of 2021.
We moved information regarding reporting of discrimination and other Title IX offenses to a more prominent place on our website. The "Reporting Discrimination" page publicservice.asu.edu/reporting-discrimination was created to provide faculty, staff and students with information about reporting. We will increase the frequency of our communication regarding reporting. We aim to secure spaces for faculty, staff and students who are Black, Indigenous, Latinx or from other oppressed groups to help foster connection and empower resilience.
04/27/2021 UPDATE: The website work is complete and we have increased the cadence of communications on how to report discrimination. One theme that emerged during the focus groups and interviews cited concerns employees shared regarding reporting discrimination. We will be holding a training with all supervisors this summer to reinforce ASU’s policy https://www.asu.edu/aad/manuals/acd/acd401.html that prohibits any negative consequences that result from reporting concerns related to discrimination and to reinforce the mandated reporting by supervisors of all Title IX violations https://www.asu.edu/titleIX/. We will host a second version of this training in the fall semester with supervisors who are faculty who are not on contract during the summer. More work may be done regarding this concern once the equity and inclusion survey is complete but we did not want to wait to address this – having a work environment that is free of retaliation is not just consistent with ASU policy but also an expectation that is fundamental to our functioning as a college.
Evaluation of our hiring/promotion practices
Evaluation of our hiring/promotion practices
We have requested an analysis of the demographic data for our college from ASU Institutional Analysis as it relates to personnel actions such as hiring and promotions to confirm our internal tracking. We will review this report summarizing the racial composition of our faculty and staff across ranks and continue to look for any discriminatory patterns in personnel actions. We are also taking a critical look at our personnel policies to identify and change any barrier to the hiring or advancement of faculty or staff who come from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. An equity statement is now required for applications of faculty and administrators hired in Watts College and for all staff applying to positions of director or above to delineate how they have and will work to advance equity in their new position in the college. We also remain committed to increasing the diversity of our senior leadership team to better reflect the diversity of our student body, and we will continue to prioritize the promotion and/or hiring of Black, Indigenous and Latinx persons to leadership positions within the college. We will require that recruitment pools for any faculty, staff or leadership positions are diverse and will require that search committees attend training regarding equitable practices in hiring. We will provide a report that will be available to the entire Watts Community regarding this examination, with plans to remove any barriers for faculty and staff of color by December 2020.
04/27/2021 UPDATE: We received a report by institutional analysis regarding the break-down of our racial composition in October. We were informed that these data could not be shared broadly considering HR data are private and many cells were small enough such that there is a risk that how individuals report their own identity could become known should we make these data public. We hired an Associate Dean of Inclusive Design for Equity and Access. Dr. Chandra Crudup started in this role on February 1, 2021. She will be responsible for reviewing data at the beginning of the academic year to identify areas of growth in the recruitment and retention of faculty and staff from underrepresented racial/ethnic populations. We now require diversity statements in all faculty hiring and were poised to extend this practice to staff hiring. However, this policy has been found to create a barrier to hiring people from underrepresented racial/ethnic populations. We are re-evaluating this policy to consider ways it helps and hinders this fundamental goal of increasing the diversity of faculty and staff who work for the college.
Our four schools and our interdisciplinary degree programs will conduct a critical review of all degree programs, including our PhD programs. Curricula will be reviewed: (a) to ensure all degree programs in the college include content that addresses the specific impact of racism in their areas of study, (b) to clarify the role of public service professionals in combatting racism, white supremacy, inequity and unfair treatment of people of color, (c) to update the content to ensure our students are able to recognize instances of structural racism built into our institutions as well as their own implicit biases, (d) to provide education regarding our responsibility as public servants to stand up to unfair treatment when experiencing or observing unjust actions, and (e) to ensure content written by people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, when available, is included as required readings. Changes to the curricula remain an important area of faculty governance. With that said, it is the position of our leadership team that all schools should have a course focused on the fundamental value and importance of diversity, equity and inclusion in our society along with content regarding racism, anti-racism and a critical evaluation of the inequities that are inherent in the public service fields represented in this college. A plan for this review will be submitted to our office by December 2020, with a final report due May 2021.
04/27/2021 UPDATE: Our four schools and interdisciplinary programs submitted a plan for reviewing their curricula in December 2020. During the spring semester, faculty committees were formed to advance these plans. We expect reports from each unit in May. With that said, this is a huge undertaking that will take longer than one semester, and this is something that should remain front and center moving forward. We expect this work to continue next year and seek to identify a schedule for reviewing curricula every three years to embed this commitment as a permanent part of curricular review.
We recognize the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black, Indigenous and Latinx communities. We understand that our approach to the accommodation process as defined by the university is a work-in-progress, and we will make adjustments as we understand the ramifications for safety and equity. We pledge to continue working with faculty and staff who are working on campus and to revise plans to meet their needs. We will provide regular communication to our faculty, staff and students as the situation changes. We will ensure Watts College employees are informed about ASU resources, including the process for accommodations, COVID testing, computers and hot spots, and counseling.
04/27/2021 UPDATE: We worked hard to provide consistent communication about the process of accommodations for faculty and staff with regular updates regarding resources available to our employees. Specifically, we provided regular updates through email sent by senior leaders, virtual townhalls, at regular meetings, and through communication through supervisors and through the business team. By increasing the cadence of communication and having communication flow through multiple platforms and sources, we worked to ensure all employees were aware of their options related to accommodations, COVID testing, access to the vaccination, and general updates regarding how the pandemic was impacting the workplace.
ASU Police collaboration
ASU Police collaboration
We will seek opportunities to engage Chief Thompson to assist in examining policing policies on campus regarding their potential to disadvantage Black students, staff and faculty and people coming from other diverse racial and ethnic groups. Considering our expertise in evidence-based policing, we have a responsibility to assess and support the practice of policing at ASU and look forward to infusing this expertise across our practices here at ASU.
04/27/2021 UPDATE: Director Jon Gould and faculty from the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice have been working with Chief Thompson on a committee to advance evidence-based policing practices at ASU. We also hosted a virtual townhall with Chief Thompson this semester and will be meeting with him in May to follow-up on feedback provided during that townhall. We plan to host a townhall with Chief Thompson and out students in the fall.
Support Black students, faculty and staff
Support Black students, faculty and staff
We look forward to contributing to and participating in President Crow’s plan to advance a list of 25 actions to support Black students, faculty and staff available at: https://president.asu.edu/statements/asus-commitment-to-black-students-f....
04/27/2021 UPDATE: We have several members of the Watts community who are participating on sub-committees as part of the university’s LIFT initiative. We will continue to explore ways that we can contribute to this important work.