Points in the Implementation Plan the university and student representatives of the Ford Hall 2015 movement had developed last fall are in the process of being fully outlined and accomplished, wrote Interim President Lisa Lynch in an email to Brandeis community members. The progress described involves students, staff and faculty to address racial injustice and discrimination on campus.
The Draft Implementation Plan for Diversity and Inclusion referenced in Lynch’s email includes nine different goals, each with a status, timeline and point person. The statement was agreed upon after students occupied the Bernstein-Marcus Administration Building for 12 days in November and December.
Brandeis is using the search firm Witt/Kieffer to find a Chief Diversity Officer. The search committee is made up of two undergraduate students, two graduate students, faculty, staff and a member of the Board of Trustees, led by Interim Provost Irving Epstein.
In an effort to recruit and retain more underrepresented faculty and staff, deans have been working on mentoring programs for junior faculty. The Faculty Senate and the Committee on Faculty Rights and Responsibilities is finalizing a plan for Target of Opportunity Appointments.
The Implementation Plan stated that the university would plan to increase the pool of underrepresented applicants and increase scholarships for graduate students, especially Posse scholars and graduates of HBCUs. There has been a 14.8 percent increase in African-American applicants and an 18 percent increase in Latino/Hispanic students for the upcoming academic year, according to Lynch’s email. A new scholarship, modeled after the Posse scholarship, will be offered through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, awarding full tuition and a $10,000 stipend to up to five students per year.
Professional ombudsman training was provided for three members of Academic Services, who are now serving as ombudspeople. They are available to speak confidentially with students about campus-related concerns. Staff at the Hiatt Career Center have received training in multicultural competencies, another issue addressed in the Implementation Plan.
Lynch thanked students for their work to make the university more diverse and inclusive. “This work is part of the fabric of who we have always been as Brandeisians—committed, passionate and resourceful in the pursuit of social justice and equality for all,” Lynch wrote.