University Moves Forward with 21-Point Action Plan for Inclusivity

Sarah Anderson, Maroon-News Staff

On Friday, March 20, President Jeffrey Herbst invited Colgate students and faculty members to explore the recently updated Colgate for All website, detailing the progress made on the 21-point action plan released by administrators to end the September sit-in earlier this year.

“As I noted in our university-wide staff meeting earlier this week, there is much being done in addition to the 21-point plan and our efforts will continue far beyond the point at which we have fulfilled the commitments made in September,” President Herbst said in his email to Colgate’s students and staff.

 The site details which points in the plan have been completed and which are still in process, as well as what action has been taken on each point.

Nine of the points have been completed already, including increased diversity in admissions tours, diversity training for financial aid staff, trainings for Colgate students and faculty as preparation for study abroad, installation of cameras with audio on the cruiser, a campus climate survey specifically on race, publication of retention rate of racial minority groups and addition of a professional staff-level supervisor on the Budget Allocations Committee (BAC), whose job is to ensure resources are being distributed equitably.

While Colgate explored how to implement each of the points, some of the specifics of the points needed to be adjusted. For example, three scheduled trips to Syracuse didn’t reach the minimum number of students and were cancelled, so the pilot program was ended. Some points also needed to be interpreted more broadly. In regards to multicultural sororities and fraternities, Colgate is in the process of creating more residential learning communities and will be “offering a space on Broad Street that promotes diversity and inclusion.”

Others were completed in entirety. For example, all staff members from the Office of Financial Aid have completed two diversity training sessions, and cameras with audio were installed on the cruisers on March 2. The 12 points that have not been completed are in progress, with a detailed description of what has already been done and plans for the future.

Vice President and Dean of the College Suzy Nelson feels that progress on the 21-point action plan has been very important in helping Colgate move forward.

“The 21-action items have been a catalyst for change at Colgate.  Our work is just beginning.  There has been a grass-roots approach to improving our campus, and several faculty, staff and students have found ways to continue to explore the issues that were raised as a result of the fall sit-in,” Nelson said.

 Students were also involved in the formal implementation of the plan, particularly in “co-designing educational sessions, attending conferences, working with SGA to review the BAC processes, and helping to develop a first-year reader that is a compilation of student and alumni/ae works.”

 One of the students involved in the sit-in, first-year James Long, recognizes that some progress has been made, but feels that there is still more that needs to be done.

“The administration has accomplished some of the basics like camera’s on the cruiser and more staff diversity training but there is still a lot of work to be done. Real progress won’t happen unless every Colgate student is having discussions about privilege, identity politics and systematic oppression, and every Colgate professor is capable of leading those discussions,” Long said. “I don’t think what the administration has done so far is enough but it is a decent start.”