Dear Students and Families: Congratulations—we crossed the threshold of the midway point of the fall semester earlier this week! I hope you’ll take time this weekend to recharge your batteries, connect with friends and burn off some stress. The activities…
Final Report of the Board Special Committee on University Climate, Diversity and Inclusion
Dear Members of the Syracuse University Community:
We are writing today to share the final report of the Board of Trustees Special Committee on University Climate, Diversity and Inclusion. This committee was convened in December 2019 with the goal of providing a comprehensive analysis and recommendations regarding policies, programs and other initiatives required to foster a sustainable approach to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility at Syracuse University. Its findings provide guidance and focus for additional investments in people and programs that will help Syracuse University continue its work in cultivating a campus community that is welcoming and respectful of all individuals. We hope you will take some time to review the full report [PDF]. While this report represents the culmination of months of intensive engagement, introspection and assessment, our collective work will continue as the University implements our recommendations.
From the beginning of our work, the committee has sought to understand the Syracuse University experience from a variety of perspectives by:
- holding numerous listening sessions and one-on-one conversations with students, faculty and staff;
- exploring challenges faced and solutions implemented by our peer institutions;
- commissioning a pulse survey to establish a baseline of the campus climate;
- engaging a third party to assess the University’s current diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility assets; and
- conferring with and obtaining recommendations from an Independent Advisory Panel (IAP) of experts in the fields of diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility and public safety.
We appreciate the candor with all those who engaged with us throughout this process, especially from those who shared their experiences with us and for whom these issues are deeply personal. We want to assure our students, faculty and staff, particularly those who have experienced any form of racism, bias or discrimination, that we are committed to long-term investments and solutions. That commitment is reflected in the recommendations we have detailed in our report, all of which we believe are important in creating meaningful and sustainable change.
These recommendations include a $50 million investment to identify, hire and retain a more diverse full-time faculty. This includes generating a post-doctoral student pipeline into disciplines that have underperformed in attracting and retaining individuals from underrepresented communities, and investments in recruitment and retention efforts to transform culture at the department level.
The report also includes recommendations to enrich and modernize the curriculum; enhance the residential student experience; strengthen and prioritize diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility across all training, programming and facilities planning; and reimagine the role of and engagement with public safety.
Reshaping our culture and community requires a review of every facet of the University—its structures, systems, processes, values and people. The committee’s work is part of a broader Universitywide effort, including the implementation of the Campus Commitments and the important actions being taken within the academic units. The University’s work also includes the comprehensive review of the Department of Public Safety, led by former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch that was shared with our community last week. Later this month, Dr. Damon Williams will share findings from the climate survey that was conducted in the fall. While the final report of the Board Special Committee concludes this chapter of our work, an Advisory Committee on University Climate, Diversity and Inclusion of the Board of Trustees has been empaneled. The Advisory Committee will provide strategic oversight and implementation with respect to the Special Committee’s recommendations, and support the University’s continuing efforts to foster a culture of inclusion.
All of us, including the Board of Trustees, must be invested in this work. We are confident in the dedication and boundless energy of all those who share our passion for an inclusive and welcoming Syracuse University for every member of our community.
Richard Alexander L’82 and Jeffrey Scruggs
Co-Leads, Special Committee on University Climate, Diversity and Inclusion