Statements from President Hammond
I am thankful for the activism of our Black students, alumni and allies. I am proud of their efforts as students to make North Central College a better place, and there are things in place now on our campus that are the direct result of these efforts. For example, every single student, staff, and faculty member today receives training around diversity and inclusion. While our Black students and alumni should be proud to have been catalysts for this change, we should be ashamed this was not already in place. We have tried to do good work along this journey but we have made mistakes. I have learned that there is still much more to be done before we begin to resemble our vision of a diverse and inclusive community. In order to take the next steps in making greater change on this campus, I am committing to several things:
- I am aware that our students and alumni are collecting stories of their experiences. I support that effort, and importantly, I want to see them and hear them. Additionally, I want the entire campus community to see them and hear them, so I can work with others to ensure that these stories can affect our actions moving forward.
- I will host an online Town Hall so that students as well as staff, faculty and trustees of the College can discuss opportunities to make us better.
- At the recommendation of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force, I am committing to a campus-wide climate study during the upcoming academic year.
- I will require each faculty search committee and each staff hiring manager to report to me on their efforts to recruit, hire, and retain persons of color.
- I will require regular reporting of student retention data by race, as an important measure of our efforts.
- I will meet on a regular basis with our Black students, faculty, and staff to listen and learn more while continuing our progress.
In May 2017, the College’s Board of Trustees adopted “Pathway to A Brilliant Future: The North Central College Strategic Plan.” The Plan has more than 200 tactics that roll up to 18 different strategies, supporting 4 overarching Strategic Imperatives. The Strategic Imperatives are “Student Learning and Success,” “College of Destination,” “Culture of Excellence,” and “Diversity, Inclusion, Global Engagement.” The Strategic Plan continues to guide the College’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts, with specific DEI strategies and tactics embedded throughout the Plan from its adoption.
Importantly, the College’s plan was developed to be flexible and adaptable, without a particular end date. Rather, the Plan continues to evolve in response to the changing needs of our students. To that end and since the plan was adopted in 2017, the College has added several tactics to expand our DEI efforts. In spring 2019, President Hammond established the College’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force, which was charged to, among other things, “Review existing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives throughout campus, including strategies and tactics within the Strategic Plan, revisit all timelines, incorporate new ideas, and reprioritize all activities and timelines accordingly.”
The Task Force has made recommendations that have resulted in additional institutional DEI commitments that are now reflected and tracked in the Plan. The Task Force and our staff in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion will continue to both inform and advance the College’s Strategic Plan.
You are encouraged to review the College’s Strategic Plan in its entirety.
Task Force History and Charge
As stated in its Strategic Plan, North Central College aspires to “Thrive as a diverse, inclusive, and globally engaged community … ” In Spring 2019, the discovery of racist material in the College’s archives, reports of racist incidents on campus, and a Black Student Association (BSA) forum where students shared the harm they experience from overt racism and forms of microaggression were reminders that there remains much work to do on this important Strategic Imperative.
In light of those events, which lent greater urgency for advancing our diversity, equity and inclusion strategy, the College established a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force, consisting of students, faculty, and staff. This Task Force operates in a manner consistent with the College’s Strategic Plan and complements ongoing efforts and initiatives by certain campus groups including the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, the Center for the Advancement of Faculty Excellence (CAFÉ), the Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT), the Bias Education Team (BET), Cardinal Safe Zone, the Title IX office, Human Resources, the research team engaged in further study of the College’s archives, and the working group specifically addressing the series of demands made by BSA.
- Identify the needs of underrepresented members of our community and make recommendations for initiatives that will be ongoing with a clear intention to effect permanent cultural change on matters of diversity, equity and inclusion;
- Solicit input for doing so from all College constituencies including students, faculty, staff, members of the Board of Trustees, and alumni;
- Review existing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives throughout campus, including strategies and tactics within the Strategic Plan, revisit all timelines, incorporate new ideas, and reprioritize all activities and timelines accordingly;
- Ensure ongoing accountability throughout the campus community on all diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives; and
- Engage in capacity-building work as a group, such as diversity, equity, and inclusion workshops. The Task Force will:
- Deliver monthly updates to the Presidents Council;
- Host at least one campus community forum each semester and schedule additional forums in conjunction with the implementation of new initiatives as warranted.
This summer, President Hammond had the opportunity to host several listening sessions with several groups including:
- Black students;
- Black student athletes;
- the African American Alumni Association Board;
- LatinX students;
- The Student Governing Association (SGA);
- Black staff;
- Black faculty.
Here we have provided several themes that emerged from the Listening Sessions he hosted so far. The information gathered from these Listening Sessions will inform additional actions we will take toward creating a more inclusive North Central College.
Listening Session Themes
During the listening sessions, students, student athletes, faculty, staff, and alumni expressed a desire for:
- Greater representation on campus of BIPOC students, student athletes, faculty, staff, and coaches
- Establish greater resources and additional support for BIPOC students/student athletes, faculty, staff, and coaches
- Review evaluation systems in order to more formally acknowledge the invisible labor of BIPOC faculty and staff
- Increased mental health support for BIPOC students
- Increased training on diversity and inclusion, anti-racism, and allyship
- Evaluation of existing bias-related policies, procedures, and consequences
- Evaluation of how BIPOC student and student athlete images are used in promotional materials
- Required class on race
- Improved transparency in communication
- Increased alumni engagement
- Greater parent feedback