Appendix O: Dean of Students Office
The DOSO office presents the following action steps in response to the Black Action Plan.
- Raising a BLM flag in the SCC.
- Fountain to commemorate the contributions of BIPOC people to the legacy of Brandeis in Chapels Field.
- Letter of atonement (from the University) for shortcomings relative to our BIPOC students, staff and community members.
- DOSO Family DEI Advisory Board with students and faculty to discuss, assess and create DOSO Family DEI efforts.
- Co-lead with Maria Madison, Joy Von Steiger, Transformative Justice efforts pertaining to Ford Hall 2015, Heller Forward, University Police and Still Concerned Students.
- Community Therapist of Color in the SCC.
- B.A.P. and DEI efforts as standing agenda items for all DOSO Family meetings.
- DEI efforts as a component of conversation for annual reports and evaluations alongside adding DEI expectations to all job descriptions.
- Continue to hire a Graduate Student to continue the audio-logs initiative to uplift and chronicle the voices and experiences of students of color at Brandeis
- Speak out against bias and racism on all accounts and coming and from love.
- To discuss global travel opportunities with students as discussed in the plan, but through coordinated efforts with the ODEI.
Student Activities foreshadows the following efforts in response to the Black Action Plan.
- Making diversity and inclusion part of Club Conference (as soon as next semester).
- Making diversity and inclusion awareness as central to leadership workshops.
- To include cultural competencies as a track on Presence. Learning outcomes would be tied to this and connect events on Presence to those outcomes. Students could then increase their awareness on different topics. Considerations for plans that allow for "No armed police at parties or at student club events"
- Solidifying a rubric to be used when deciding when to engage use of public safety at events? I know that you had been working on that.
- Could we also be a lending hand to Brandeis Police as they work to strengthen community engagement methods with students of color?
SRCS puts forward the following data & clarification points and action plans in response to the Black Action Plan.
Review of policies related to: drug, alcohol, noise, gatherings
- SRCS worked with students and staff to amend aspects of R&R related to alcohol/other drug. Updates included in 2019-2020 R&R.
- 2020-2021 Plan:
- All community members are able to provide feedback on policies and all of R&R throughout the year via a link on the SRCS webpage
- January: Communication of R&R review timeline and process sent out to the full community and reiterating ability to provide feedback via link on webpage, and publish review process on SRCS webpage
- February/March: Schedule focus groups with various parties to gather feedback on R&R (Ex: Graduate students, undergraduate students, faculty, staff, athletes, other identity and/or affinity based groups who express interest, Student Conduct Board, Community Advisors)
- April: Pull together R&R review committee
- Determine membership of committee. Consider student involvement in this committee
- May: Share suggested edits for 2021-2022 R&R on SRCS webpage. Begin comment period and provide a link to submit feedback
- June: Committee solidifies R&R edits
- August: 2021-2022 R&R goes live, communication sent to all community members, R&R posted electronically on SRCS webpage
Provide advocates to inform students of color, under accusation of violating a code of conduct, on their specific rights and responsibilities in these situations
- Current process:
- Student receive notification email which details what the alleged violations are, includes a copy of their student rights, and includes a flow chart of the process Student Rights and SC Process is detailed in R&R on website
Update as of 2019-2020:
SRCS increased training of Student Conduct Board members to enable them to better serve as advisors in the Student Conduct Process. An advisor does not serve as an advocate, but as a passive support for students. SCB members are trained to help talk students through their rights and the flow of the process.
We have posted photos and bios of our Student Conduct Board members on the SRCS webpage to help with transparency of who currently sits on the board and is available to serve in this role.
Additional training on implicit bias provided to SCB by ODEI
- In Progress for 2020-2021:
- SRCS held SCB Member recruitment in September/October of 2020. Additional recruitment efforts made to attempt to engage a broader application pool and retain a more representative SCB membership.
- Steps taken: Promotion included in University-wide email communication, Emails promoting and requesting nominations sent to various departments, electronic promotional materials posted around campus
Residents need to be informed and be provided with DCL documentation and records that concern their health, conflict, and overall well- being via CA documentation. (Invisibility of documentation that regards the resident creates a policing and monitored environment)
- Current process:
- Students receive notification from SRCS of alleged violations, student rights, and flow of the process.
- In the initial meeting (Conduct Conference), opportunity is given to discuss the alleged violation(s), student rights, conduct process, review the report/information submitted, the student shares from their perspective what took place, and an opportunity to answer questions the student may have.
- Students may request a redacted version of the report that was submitted to SRCS.
- Plans for 2020-2021
- Consider: Should we automatically be attaching the redacted version after the the Conduct Conference so students are able to reference this as they consider options for resolving the case
Data: While the Black Action Plan does not specifically detail the need for transparency of SRCS data – we feel it is a key component in building an understanding of the process as well as the foundation for trust
- Update as of 2019-2020:
- After the #stillconcerned2019 demonstration, SRCS worked closely with ODEI to review conduct #s as they related to students’ self-reported race/ethnicities. No trend was found.
- Plans for 2020-2021:
- SRCS will be working closely with ODEI to review general conduct data as it relates to race/ethnicity.
- SRCS will be working closely with ODEI to review COVID-related data as it relates to race/ethnicity.
- SRCS will be working to create a tab on the webpage dedicated to posting annual conduct data accessible to the broader campus community.
Transformative Justice – While the Black Action Plan does not call for this, much of what is articulated throughout the document highlights the need for increased and better communication, opportunities to discuss impacts on individuals and groups, address harms caused, work to repair harms
- SRCS hired a Graduate Assistant to engage in benchmarking restorative/transformative justice models at other institutions.
- SRCS pulled together campus partners to gauge interest in bringing transformative justice to Brandeis.
- SRCS engaged in on-going dialogue with campus partners on crafting mission/vision for transformative justice at Brandeis.
- Engaging with newly created leadership team to identify appropriate population for pilot of transformative justice.
- Assisting with IRB application and planning next steps.
The Care Team provides the following insight and action steps in response to the Black Action Plan
- The Care Team realizes that all cases we encounter are unique. We approach each case with an established process and overall theme of distress/assess/support success.
- As a staff we will continue to educate ourselves on resources available to BIPOC community for ourselves and our students:
The Care Team has initiated a review of how and when we will initiate health and wellbeing checks for on- and off-campus students, in response to concerns raised by students who feel targeted. The goal is to limit the number of well-being checks to health and safety emergency situations, and to ensure consistency in application of process.
DCS Response & Actions Steps to the Black Action Plan
As a department, our mission is grounded in listening to the voices within our community and serving as allies, educators, activists, and service leaders. The Department of Community Service has read, reviewed, and discussed the demands and progress of the Black Action Plan. Over the recent years, our team, both professional staff and student leaders, have engaged in numerous conversations centered around social identities, race, and the lived experiences of the volunteers that engage (or may not engage) with our department. Although the Department of Community Service has been intentional with programming over the years, we acknowledge that we have room for growth. Through engagement in conversations, training, and as always, listening to the voices of our community, we have outlined some action steps for us to continue to ensure we are inclusive, anti-racist, and that our values, core competencies, and learning outcomes are embodied by each of our campus and community partners. This brief document outlines a glimpse into the training/professional development of our staff and students (recent past and future), policies, programs, and communication plan in response to the Black Action Plan.
- Training/Professional Development
- Completed (Summer & Fall)
- 2 staff members participated in White Affinity Groups, organized by the ODEI
- All full-time professional staff participated in Advancing Racial and Social Injustice at our DCS Summer Retreat
- Director co-facilitated Boston Community Engagement Network’s discussion on the Chronicle of Higher Education: Race & Higher Ed Webinar
- Director attended Black Lives Matter 2.0 by the ICC
- All full-time professional staff participated in Values & Mission discussion at the DOSO Summer Retreat
- All staff members attended Coming Together to Face Systemic Racism, an open campus dialogue led by ODEI
- 2 staff members participated in the Sankofa Community Conference: Co-Constructing Racial Justice through Life and Work through Heller
- 1 staff member attended a monthly series of webinars hosted by the Chronicle of Higher Education on topics including; Race, Class, & Academic Life; Race, Class, & Student Activism; Race, Class, & the Path to College; and Race & Higher Education
- All professional staff will participate in internal book discussion, centered around race and social identities. ODEI will provide options for suggested texts.
- We will continue to coordinate DEI training for all departmental student leaders, including R/C CLIF Fellows, CEAP Ambassadors, Waltham Group Coordinators, and will expand to include Office Assistants.
- A three-part program will be facilitated through The Piece Project, where student leaders and professional staff members will discuss issues of community, access, and identity.
- Completed (Summer & Fall)
- Committed Action Steps
- Initiate conversations with the Student Union to ensure leadership, advising, and adequate funding for all alternative break programs. Work through issues that limit participation, address white savior complex, and explore new sites that may be of interest to BIPOC.
- CEAP Ambassadors will conduct Focus Groups of BIPOC, international, and male volunteers to determine barriers that may limit community engagement and necessary departmental resources. This is a continuation of the pilot conversations that were launched last spring.
- Establish a committee to review all policies and decisions made for the Commitment to Service Award Program, to elevate the goals of the program while ensuring informed and inclusive decisions.
Engage in dialogue with campus partners and Student Union to pursue funding (scholarships, work-study or other) for student leaders and volunteers engaged in community service to ensure access across campus.
- Apply to the Boston Foundation for a grant (February deadline) to offer a 2021-2022 school year leadership series for BIPOC students (Brandeis and Waltham High School), co-facilitated by a variety of campus and community partners.
- Implement a Support Community opportunities and training for students who are feeling the weight of our world, Covid, racial injustice and are activists or change agents in our community and may be feeling burnt out, lacking hope, or seeking support in this important work.
- Work towards sustainable inclusion of Racial Justice grant applications in the R/C CLIF Program.
- Develop practices that support and ensure representation of racial and other social identities in departmental committees as well as leadership programs and events.
- Coordinate a panel discussion or workshop on prejudice and racism in community engagement work.
- Build framework and resources to support students who are engaged in activism and civic engagement efforts by expanding our definition of types of community engagement to be more inclusive of diverse student needs and abilities to engage.
- Intentionally collaborate with the Intercultural Center, ISSO, GSC and other campus partners to ensure all students from all identities are engaged and aware of the resources and programs within the department.
- Communication & Transparency Plan
- Continue to use social media, DeistActs, This Week in Service as a tool to share resources, demonstrate support, and educate our on and off campus community about DCS programs and resources.
- We commit to reviewing, updating, and reevaluating our progress and action steps on this plan every quarter through a departmental meeting and at least one annual meeting with the Dean of Students Office or ODEI on our action steps and progress. We also commit to communicating those updates through the website updates, annual reports, and social media. The purpose being for community and campus transparency, collaboration and accountability on overall progress and action steps.
- This document will be shared with all current students leaders within the department and through at least one annual open input session that is open to the entire campus. Upon doing so, there may be edits as we continue to discover and put on paper the voices from within our community.
In staff conversations, we also brainstormed a variety of other programs and opportunities that will require additional resources (staffing, time, research) to advance forward. The action steps above are not to represent singular moments in time, but rather create a framework for ongoing conversations, programming, and leadership of the department. As we advance forward, the department will make a commitment to celebrate and uplift differences, and consider equity by ensuring all marginalized populations are represented and supported throughout the department. We seek the partnership of our students, staff and faculty colleagues, community partners, and alumni in this important work.