Summary of Themes and Actions, with Timelines.

The College of Wooster must be an equitable and welcoming place, where students, staff and faculty can live, learn, work and thrive without harassment or discrimination. While there has been much done toward this goal, we have not yet achieved it. it is urgent that we do so. The themes below come from multiple discussions where students have raised concerns and observations about racism on our campus and ways to address it. The issues and needs described below come from the Black Manifesto (Oct.18th), the Town Hall (Oct. 19th), as well as from meetings led by Scot Council, the African Students Union, the student chapter of the NAACP, Bodies of Diversity, and the BIPOC Performing Arts Alliance. This is a living document which describes actions that the College is committed to take, and the steps and timeline associated with each one. Additional initiatives are being worked on, and will be added to this document as they become clearer. The document will be updated in the first week of each month, starting in the week of December 1st here.

Our themes

Increase availability of Black counselors.

Contract with independent counselors who can provide additional resources — Done. Partnership with Washington Wellness Institute for group and individual sessions starts in February.

  • Outreach to counselors who may be interested  – done

  • Finalize contract and start – done

Hire an additional full-time counselor with expertise in racial trauma and supporting the needs of Black and BIPOC students — Job description developed. Search beginning.

  • Develop and post job description – done

  • Search through spring term 2022 – beginning

  • Hire by July 1, 2022

Ensure equitable compensation and support for wellness and thriving of BIPOC staff and faculty.

Improve counseling access for employees – January 1, 2022

  • Add new Employee Assistance Program to broaden access to diverse counselors available at no cost – done

  • Improve insurance plan to strengthen mental health reimbursement – done

Equity assessment of compensation and positions/titles for faculty and staff -January 1, 2023

  • Develop scope of work for outside firm to do this assessment – by 1/15/2022

  • Recruit firms for the work and make selection -by 2/15/22

  • Firm reviews roles and compensation and makes report – July 1 2022 – Jan. 1 2023

Respond to the recommendations in the BIPOC faculty retention study which was completed this year. Use the information to update/review faculty thriving plan – February 2022

In collaborating with the Staff Committee, BIPOC employee caucus, Human Resources staff and others, develop a staff thriving and retention plan – July 1, 2022

Improve Beall Avenue Safety

Establish a group of community volunteers to collaborate with Campus Safety in providing additional eyes on Beall avenue at night and additional walking escort resources. – Done

Contract with staff who can provide walking escorts and added eyes on Beall until long-term staff can be hired – by start of Spring Term 2022

Add several new lines to Campus Safety Staffing to allow more staff at night to support student needs – by end of Spring Term 2022

  • Roles posted to move two part time positions to full-time. Search underway. – hire by end of spring term 2022

Establish working group of trustees to develop additional technological, legal and community approaches to making Beall safer – group established, work underway

  • Group selected and is meeting. Will report to board at February board meeting and to community in the same time frame.

Work with Mayor, Wooster PD and CSS to develop protocols where we can report harassment and license plates immediately, and they will respond quickly to find drivers.

  • Discussion with Mayor and Chief of PD – Done

  • Find new technology that allows us to grab plate IDs immediately – Done

  • Put new tech in place – By 2/15 [Order and installation takes ~8 weeks]

Ongoing training for students, staff and faculty creating equitable and inclusive living, working and learning environments.

Faculty: orientation and ongoing training requirement – ongoing

  • Continue to refine content for required annual departmental trainings in response to student reports of issues of bias in classrooms – Ongoing, and will be revised/strengthened

Staff Orientation & ongoing training requirement – by end of Spring Term 2022

  • New staff orientation DEI training – Done, but will be revised/strengthened

  • Annual all-staff training through Wooster office of EID and other resources. Will be developed by new VP EID who is being hired now.

  • Annual department-specific training through professional organizations or others with specific expertise. Will be an expectation for all departments starting this year.

Students: Orientation for all and ongoing training – by Fall 2022

  • Training for new students – Will be focus for fall 2022 orientation

  • Ongoing training for all students

  • Annual training for student leaders – exists, but will review/strengthen

Financial resources for international students.

International student services staff will proactively let the Financial Aid office know when significant issues or disruptions happen in students’ home countries, so that that students don’t need to be responsible for explaining – done

Develop plan for reviewing and responding to changes in financial need for international students – annually or when crises arise – by March 15, 2022

Financial aid methodology – reduce the need for students to re-tell their stories in difficult or traumatic times.

Establish ongoing training for business office and financial aid staff about implicit bias, systemic racism, and how race affects financial need and services – by end of Spring Term 2022

  • Financial Aid staff completed initial training via a NAFSAA webinar on “Recognizing and Eliminating Bias in Aid Office Policies and Procedures” in November 2021.

Establish processes for sharing information among departments that will alleviate the need for students to share repeatedly reasons for changes in financial circumstances – by Fall 2022

  • Financial Aid working group will develop

Financial aid staff will add a liaison/advocate position to support students in navigating financial aid and changes in financial need – by Fall 2022

  • Job description developed, search beginning – hire spring 2022

Accountability and bias reporting and response process

Strengthen and better communicate bias incident reporting and response process – by end of Spring term 2022

  • Write new bias incident response process – by 2/15/22

  • Review with students, staff and faculty for input -by 3/15/22

  • Finalize and communicate clearly and proactively – by end of spring term 2022

Connections, programming and support

More connections for Black and BIPOC students with BIPOC alumni, staff and faculty – ongoing

  • Student/faculty/staff opportunities – Current and ongoing

  • New student/alumni opportunities – Spring 2022 and ongoing

More intersectional programming – ongoing

Communicate roles of specific ISS staff for international students – by February 2022