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Letter to the Editor

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Dear Editor,

On Oct. 25, 2018, a group of students met in the corridor outside the President’s and Provost’s offices to share their experiences and state their demands for changes to address the University’s treatment of minority groups on campus (“Protest calls for diversity training,” Oct. 26). On Nov. 14, 2018, at Faculty Assembly, students representing the same issues presented their interests (“Faculty supports diversity training,” Nov. 16). This letter is an initial response to their expressed concerns and demands.

The Faculty Senate recognizes and supports the students’ expression of their lived experience here at La Verne. We fully understand and agree that there is much to be done and renew our pledge to ensure that the University pursues its mission and values in a way that supports all students.

We also want to acknowledge that many faculty members have already worked independently and collaboratively with administration to advance culturally informed educational practices and diversity awareness. This includes efforts to require diversity training for faculty, integration of cultural awareness in the curriculum, and the recently revised Faculty Handbook with expectations for cultural competence.

However, it is clear that at the university level, what has been done so far has not resulted in an educational environment where all students feel welcomed and accepted, and respected.

Successfully responding to the demands regarding hiring and retention of faculty of color, Faculty Handbook additions, and diversity training will be given serious attention by the Faculty Senate in a timely manner. Meanwhile, we present the following recommendations:

Recommendations:
1. Place Social Justice Reporting information in our syllabi and understand the reporting process.
2. Discuss all university non-discrimination policies when we review our syllabi. Guide any faculty, full-time or adjunct, who report to us to also do so.
3. Add at least one area of growth related to diversity and cultural competency in our Professional Growth Plans.
4. Add culturally relevant information and resources to our courses.
5. Address cultural insensitivity when we see it.
6. Create small learning communities that can support and inform our growth.
7. Get on the agenda at department, program, all college meetings, faculty retreat, Senate and Faculty Assembly to report our experiences and create conversations about the effects of micro aggressions on student mental health, academic performance, and graduation or retention rates.

At our next Senate and Faculty Assembly meetings we will move forward by identifying next steps and further actions.

With positive expectations and hope,

University of La Verne Faculty Senate

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