Members of the University’s administration and faculty discussed the Anti-Black Racism Task Force at the second semester faculty meeting on Tuesday.
President Christina Paxson P’19 opened the meeting by addressing the recommendations of the working group. She pointed to the university’s “advances in compositional diversity,” citing the doubling of black faculty numbers since 2014 and the increase in the black student body to 14%.
“What the report really highlights… is that we have work to do in the areas of inclusion, the way people are treated on campus,… to even focus on the diversity of the membership in departments (academic and administrative), “Paxson said.
The university has already adopted many of the task force’s recommendations, including doubling the size of the Presidential Diversity postgraduate program, planning renovations to Churchill and Harambee homes, expanding partnerships with historically black colleges and universities, and promoting increased engagement with black high school students in Rhode. Isle.
Paxson also spoke about the second edition of Brown’s Slavery and Justice Report, which will be a “fully digital edition with new content and new essays.” The original report was chosen as the University’s freshman reading this year, for the second year in a row. Currently, the University is discussing making the report a permanent addition to the orientation of new students, regardless of freshman reading.
The University also recently received approval for its first steps in creating a Howard Hughes Medical Institute-funded program that “would aim to bring diverse students, again with an emphasis on black students, into sciences,… social sciences and humanities, ”said Paxson.
Paxson spoke of several other recommendations, the future of which she said must be determined at the faculty level. These recommendations included that each concentration requires a course that prioritizes black history, culture and scholarship and the establishment of an anti-racist institute of science, technology, mathematics and medicine. The institute would provide a place on campus for scientists and engineers to study the effects of racism in their fields, according to the task force report.
These programs “arise from faculty-led initiatives, they go through the Academic Priorities Committee as they grow up, they come to the faculty for approval,” Paxson said, adding that the Brown Institute for the Environment and Society and the Brown Arts Institute have gone through similar processes.
“This report identifies anti-black racism as a force that causes significant harm to black students, black professors and black staff, but (it) ultimately diminishes us all,” said Seth Rockman, associate professor of history and member of the Intervention Force. “I urge all faculty members to spend time with this report, read it, and follow some of the ways it suggests that combating anti-black racism has a lot to do with our greater (Plan d ‘action for diversity and inclusion) goals. “
The Diversity and Inclusion Oversight Board, as well as the Society’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee will “work to provide governance and oversight” of the University’s progress throughout. of the year, Paxson said.
The Faculty’s Executive Committee also passed a motion with a 98% majority to update the “Principles Governing the Academic Calendar” with formal recognition and observation of Juneteen as an academic holiday.