Office of Diversity and Equity
The ideals of the SUNY Geneseo community strive to broaden understanding, heighten awareness, awaken empathy, and foster empowerment of all individuals.
We believe that our differences make us stronger and together, we commit ourselves to sustaining and expanding the diversity of our community and to making equity for all members of our diverse community a measure of our success.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Updates Fall 2020
- December Updates
Antiracism in the Curriculum
Academic Affairs is taking action to increase and highlight racial justice and antiracism in the curriculum in three ways. First, various academic departments are working to develop new coursework focused on antiracism and racial justice. Many of these new courses will be taught during the Intersession and Spring 2021. Second, several departments are also endeavoring to incorporate antiracism throughout their curriculum rather than in selected courses. The Psychology Department faculty, for example, are meeting regularly to share ideas about new antiracist pedagogical approaches and materials that can be integrated into all their courses. Third, academic affairs is tagging antiracist courses every semester to ensure that students can easily find them. The list for Spring 2021 courses can be found here, and the list for Intersession can be found here.
Units Make Progress on Individual Action Plans
While the College has its own high level plans of actions and strategies, individual departments and offices on campus also have committed to unit-specific plans. Many of them are available on the Statements of Support and Action Plans for Racial Justice web page, which is updated regularly.
Deepening Personal Understanding through 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge
In addition to campus-specific initiatives, the College also participates in relevant regional activities including the recent 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge sponsored by the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and United Way of Greater Rochester. More than 100,000 community members and 460 organizations participated. A number of campus leaders were among them, notably the entire University Police Department, Residence Life leadership, divisional directors within Student and Campus Life, members of Cabinet and Campus Auxiliary Services employees. The initiative allowed participants to deepen their understanding of and willingness to confront racism, bias, and other social inequities.
Campus Auxiliary Services Engaging with Student Leaders
Campus Auxiliary Services (CAS) is intentionally seeking to engage with students across campus about service offerings to serve a more racially-diverse population. CAS initiated a new bi-weekly meeting with the five student directors of its Board. These ongoing meetings are focused on reviewing how CAS services support the College experience for all students, in particular students from diverse cultural backgrounds. Based on the demands issued, CAS is exploring several new opportunities, including the feasibility of establishing a hair salon on campus to better serve specialized needs that are not currently fully met in the greater Livingston County region. Mat Felthousen, the newly appointed CAS executive director, also met with the Student Association and Inter-Residence Council (IRC) this semester, and welcomes opportunities to meet with other student groups to solicit feedback on opportunities for improvement or new initiatives.
- November Updates
Campus Personal Safety Committee Transitioned to Advisory Committee on Campus Safety
Recognizing that a modern conversation about campus safety must involve greater focus on law enforcement operations, accountability, and transparency, the College modified the Campus Personal Safety Committee to the Advisory Committee on Campus Safety and assigned the Committee additional responsibilities. The Committee comprises a diverse group of faculty, staff, and students. In addition to the traditional responsibilities focusing on environmental and personal safety, the Committee will conduct reviews of all University Police Command investigations into personnel complaints and use of force incidents.
Intergroup Dialogue Program Launches
Across the country, Intergroup Dialogue programs have been promoting empathy and awareness, and ultimately positively transforming campus climates. We have been laying the foundation for an Intergroup Dialogue program here at Geneseo. This spring, Chief Diversity Officer robbie routenberg will teach a Dialogue Facilitation Training course (XLRN 288) to prepare students to facilitate conversations that raise awareness of social justice principles such as social identity, privilege and oppression, and power and conflict. Some enrolled students will help facilitate Intergroup Dialogue courses in Fall 2021.
Election 2020 Resources
Student and Campus Life, in partnership with Academic Affairs and the Office of Diversity and Equity, executed robust programming before, during and after the 2020 Election. Recognizing the significance of the Presidential election in particular, the team mobilized to get out the vote prior to the election, and worked to support the Geneseo campus community during and after Election Day. For a full list of resources see Post-Election Allies, Programming & Resources.
SUNY-Wide Commitment to Diversity
SUNY recently launched a web page listing the various ways in which the 64 SUNY campuses are committed to diversity. The page lists 64 actions on 64 campuses and is intended to show the breadth of the system’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. SUNY Geneseo’s Cultivating Community Chats and antiracism efforts are highlighted.
- October Updates
Units Develop Individual Action Plans
While the College has its own high level plans of actions and strategies, individual departments and offices on campus also have committed to unit-specific plans. Many of them are available on the website (including a video version from the Department of Biology) and many more are in development.
The student and campus life division is developing a socially just strategic plan in order to ensure the entire division is working to become more inclusive, antiracist, and is addressing systemic issues that hinder an inclusive community. This includes evaluating policies, procedures, and all student/campus services. The division’s leadership is working at the departmental level to ensure this work is taking place at all levels.
Admissions has taken steps to ensure an application review and scholarship awarding process that is free of bias. It also seeks to extend its test optional protocol to completely remove college entrance exams from the application review process.
Cabinet to Receive Advancing Cultural Competency Certificate (ACCC)
The College’s senior leaders recognize the value of further developing our cultural competency as well as participating in ongoing professional development. Accordingly, all members of the President’s Cabinet as well as our CAS Interim Executive Director have committed to complete the Advancing Cultural Competency Certificate Program (ACCC) during the current academic year. We encourage all members of our campus community to sign up for workshops, read articles, and engage in reflective conversations that contribute to your continued professional development in this arena, as well.
Antiracism Intersession 2021 Course Incentives
The extended Intersession period in January 2021 presents an opportunity for the College to offer more courses to serve our students as well as incorporate course materials that include diversity, equity and inclusion components. Academic Affairs is offering an incentive to those faculty who teach courses or incorporate course content that advance Geneseo’s pursuit of “Becoming an Antiracist College.” To further support faculty in developing content, Academic Affairs is also offering antiracist pedagogical support through the Teaching and Learning Center.
- September Updates
More Accessible Engagement with Commission
We are making a fundamental change to the membership structure to allow for broader and more accessible campus engagement. Returning members to the Commission will be invited to serve as the Commission’s leadership, providing oversight to the committees and strategic direction of the Commission. Participatory membership will also be made available to all affiliated with our Geneseo community with expectations for engagement communicated to the campus by Commission leadership.
Strategic Communication Plan
The Commission will work with the Offices of Diversity & Equity and Communications & Marketing to establish a strategic DEI communication plan that includes mechanisms for sharing updates with the campus, creating a web-based historical timeline of DEI activities, and soliciting contributions from the campus.
Indigenous Peoples’ Day
As part of the Commission’s charge to educate and celebrate cultural diversity by sharing information about different holidays and traditions with the campus, they will be exploring the timing and programming associated with observing Indigenous Peoples’ Day on campus. This will be a new observance for our campus.
Campus Climate Study
The Commission will assist with the development of our comprehensive campus climate study. They will also identify and suggest ways to disseminate this information so that it can be used by the campus community to inform decisions and programming.
In partnership with the Office of Diversity & Equity and Student Association, the Commission will continue to assist with the coordination of this year’s Diversity Summit, which will take place on Tuesday, March 2. It is intentionally scheduled during a Rejuvenation Day so there will be no classes competing with the programming. Additionally, we will be expanding this event to include programming throughout some or all of the week of the Summit.