Dear Students and Families: As you prepare for your return to campus, I want to remind you of the critical role each of us plays in protecting the health and well-being of our campus. Our individual actions impact our broader…
January 2021: Progress on Campus Commitments
Dear Members of the Syracuse University Community:
The first week of this new year has already been challenging. The health and racial pandemics combined, sadly, with the turmoil at the nation’s Capitol building have made the start of 2021 an indelible time in American history. But as a community, we remain committed to strengthening equity on our campus.
We have learned many lessons in the midst of COVID-19 and the racial injustices that have occurred, shifting our ethos.
On campus, our students, staff and faculty learned to navigate our educational experience under unprecedented challenges. We have learned new ways to work with each other. And we learned from our #NotAgainSU students, international students, Jewish students and Indigenous students that there is much we can do to build a better campus community. One such example is our progress toward the Campus Commitments. Please find our recent updates below:
- The SEM 100 curriculum was approved by the University Senate in October. SEM 100 will become a full one-credit course in fall 2021.
- Based on student interest, the University will add learning communities or identity-based housing communities to as many residence halls as possible and continue with advertising and marketing enhancements.
- Three candidates for the position of assistant director of diversity, equity and inclusion in the Office of Student Living made presentations to leadership with the Division of Enrollment and the Student Experience in November.
- In reaching the University’s commitment of 32 clinical counseling staff, with current offers as of Jan. 4, the Barnes Center will have all five of the newly committed positions in place. Fifty percent of the staff members identify as white, and 50 percent of the staff members identify as a person of color.
- The Native Student Program will be housed at 113 Euclid Ave. Upgrades to the student gathering environment, including a kitchen and accessible restroom, are complete. An accessible entry will be constructed, and an elevator study is in progress.
- A successful pilot of the anti-Semitism education and prevention training was held on Oct. 21. All of the participants reported that the training helped them learn the essential elements of the topic and that the training was a good use of their time. The anti-Semitism training will be offered remotely to students in spring 2021, with full implementation planned for fall 2021 when in-person training is again permitted.
- An Indigenous-identifying counselor has been hired in the Barnes Center and the University will prioritize the recruitment of staff with diverse identities when vacancies occur on the counseling staff. Future recruitment efforts will be targeted to Indigenous nations/tribal communities. The Barnes Center plans to hire an Indigenous healer in spring 2021.
It is our goal for every student, staff member and faculty member to feel their presence and lived experiences are valued and welcomed. We will continue to apply lessons learned to the work we’re doing this year in our quest to further enhance equity, diversity, accessibility and inclusion.
Keith A. Alford
Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer