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.
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