University of Redlands President Ralph W. Kuncl and his Cabinet wrote to the community on June 9, outlining the steps the University is taking against racism and injustice.
As a University, we are committed to addressing the problems of systemic racism and to be part of the solution. It’s time for change, and has long been time for change, within American society. While we have a longstanding commitment to racial equity, this historic moment gives us a chance to reflect on where we are and where we want to go.
As a Cabinet, we speak with one voice against racism and injustice:
- Black Lives Matter. Some people have a reflexive response to the phrase “black lives matter” that goes like this: “all lives matter.” But this second phrase would only be true if black lives truly mattered, too—and for hundreds of years in this country they have not. That is why the Black Lives Matter movement deserves our support.
- White privilege and socioeconomic privilege are real and operate within our own environment and in society at large.
- Excessive use of force by police officers resulting in the death of black people is not justifiable. Discrimination and brutality seem more obvious than ever before, partly because of the remarkable invention and ubiquity of cell phones with video capability. But the killings are not new.
- Peaceful protests are one means to pursue racial equity for black Americans. Two aspects of the current protests and public dialogue are cause for optimism. First, this movement is multigenerational and diverse, more so than ever before. Second, an urgency is building around issues of police training, justice and prison reform, and other aspects of our society that result in people of color being treated unfairly.
We would like to acknowledge the pain we have been hearing from some members of our community. As a University, we must increase existing efforts toward creating an environment in which:
- Our black students, faculty, and staff are secure.
- We hold each other accountable: to oppose racial animus and ignorance of the truth, and to pursue racial equity for all people of color.
- We create opportunities to promote new levels of understanding, seek new ways of relating to one another, and learn how to change our own actions accordingly.
- We raise awareness and understanding of the cultural differences associated with race to enhance university life for black students and other students of color whose lived experiences are different from their white peers and include encountering unjust or prejudicial treatment.
- Faculty are constantly updating and deepening the classroom experience to include meaningful engagement with African American scholars.
- We see that bringing together faculty, students, staff, and administrators from diverse backgrounds and cultures creates a richer environment for all.
- We value employees with a demonstrated interest and willingness to work with all of our under-represented groups in achieving professional and academic success.
Speaking through actions
The University is committed to creating and maintaining a community that is just, fair, and equal for all. For all of us, it is not enough to read and speak, even to be aware and deeply committed inside. Actions must reflect our words.
Here are some actions being taken.
- We will dedicate the University’s 2020-21 Innovation Fund of $50,000 to a new Inclusive Community and Justice Fund, supplemented by resources from the deans. Instructions for applying to the fund will be forthcoming.
- Effective July 1, the current Office of Campus Diversity and Inclusion and Native Student Programs will both be under the leadership of Senior Diversity and Inclusion Officer Christopher Jones. Christopher will work with those teams and members of our community to reimagine their mission and expand the current reach to include education and training for students, faculty, and staff.
- University of Redlands Staff and Administrators Assembly (URSAA) [hosted] a Webex meeting with Christopher on June 11 to provide your input and perspective on diversity and inclusion on campus.
- College of Arts and Sciences leadership will engage collective efforts to facilitate both affirming and challenging interactions, creating academic spaces examining systemic racism and hiring faculty and staff who engage the learning needs of all students and advance the University’s commitment to an inclusive community.
- The College’s Proudian Honors Program is standing in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, raising funds to be donated to the NAACP San Bernardino Chapter (which is funding small businesses reopening, education reform, and criminal justice reform) and NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund (which is actively working through litigation and public advocacy to achieve racial justice).
- While the School of Business will leverage its Purposeful Leadership Initiative, the School of Education and Graduate School of Theology will lean into their existing [educational justice] and social justice themes. One example of this is a virtual Black Community Care meeting hosted on June 8 by Professor of Teaching and Learning Nicol Howard for School of Education faculty, staff, and students to process together their personal responses to anti-black racism.
- The University will provide experiential learning opportunities designed to raise consciousness, bridge differential divides to promote relationships, and expand individual and group competencies to advance social justice through action.
- Enrollment leadership has proposed the development of an integrated program to recruit, retain, and support black students similar to our Hunsaker and San Manuel Excellence in Leadership scholarship programs. This would be more than a financial scholarship, involving specific programming for internships, mentorships, professional development, and living and learning communities.
- The Office of Advancement is working with Christopher to create a multi-part series of online events on the topic of “Race in America,” especially regarding the current landscape. Each of the conversations will involve Christopher leading the discussion with one or two “guests.” The idea is that each event will try to unpack a different aspect of what is complex, difficult, entrenched, and often divisive about the issue of race.
- Travis Martinez, a U of R alumnus and Deputy Chief of the Redlands Police Department reached out to the University to express his willingness to share how the department is taking steps to ensure fair policing and offered to engage in mutual learning opportunities with our community. We are considering several different ways in which we can collaborate with Travis and the Redlands Police Department, including asking him to be a guest panelist for the conversations mentioned above.
- The Office of Career and Professional Development will direct 14% of its philanthropic funds this year to explicitly support career programming for black U of R students and alumni. Moreover, it will continue to provide relevant resources to level the inequity unfairly faced by the black community; continue to hire professionals and student staff members who are representative of our diverse population; increase the office's training to address racial inequities, micro-aggressions, and racism; continue to identify and partner with employers who are committed to addressing inequity in the workplace; and create identity-based networking groups and events in which individuals may connect with others who share their experiences.
This is not an exhaustive list. We pride ourselves on the quality of our personalized education. Therefore, let’s make this moment in history a real and proper test case for what we believe about teaching, learning, and equity. We should model our values in the classroom; we should embrace them in the lounge or our residences; we should realize them in our teams, cohorts, ensembles, and gatherings to express the heart of this University.
Code of ethics and resources
The University of Redlands is committed to the highest ethical standards, principles, and policies and expects ethical behavior from all members of the University community, as outlined in our Code of Ethics Policy.
We want everyone to be aware that the University has an anonymous reporting system for those who have experienced or witnessed discriminatory behaviors or adverse actions. These could include discrimination on the basis of: age, color, race, ethnicity, national origin, ancestry, sex, marital status, pregnancy, status as a complaining party of domestic violence, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, physical or mental disability, genetic information, religion/creed, citizenship status (except to comply with legal requirements for employment), military/veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. You can access the Ethics Point system at: https://www.redlands.edu/ethics-reporting/.
In addition, the Title IX Department is always willing to hear feedback about the programs, training, process, and procedures in the efforts to end sexual misconduct, harassment, and gender discrimination on our campuses. For Title IX resources, please visit https://sites.redlands.edu/title-ix-sexual-misconduct/.
We know there is work to do. And we remain committed to joining with you to create a University where we all feel safe, heard, and respected for who we are. Where we all walk the walk.