It is a multifaceted approach that starts with the leadership of the college prioritizing diversity in all areas from vision, mission, policies, procedures, standards, curriculum, and human resources. Sadly, many colleges have diversity statements as tag lines, but often do not integrate these philosophies in key areas such as hiring, training, and student interactions. What makes this difficult is many college administrations won’t face issues of diversity and equity head on due to the complexity and uneasiness of the topic. A good start would be developing a wide range of diversity programs, including mandatory training and workshops for all employees (from the top down) that provide services to students. For students, a college might consider a General Education requirement about race related issues, White privilege, and inequality in the United States. Training for citizenship in a diverse society should be part of the student education requirements and experience. My hope for the future is through training and open dialog - colleges will foster a climate that is safe, supportive, and welcoming to all.
Tesa Rigel Hines, PhD, MSW
This is a great question. I believe that colleges should integrate diversity elements into all curricula to educate students of our shared humanity, experiences of suffering, and common ground. This may be as simple as regularly providing case studies and examples with women, racial, and religious minorities if this material is missing in the text. In STEM courses, all students should be called on. If there is an under-representation of women in an engineering class, for instance, the college should start a club for women who code.
Further, professors should have required professional development which trains them to recognize microaggression and differential treatment of students (and themselves) in academe. It should be part of our work to address inappropriate statements and behaviors on campus (however small or large) and make the learning environment safe and fruitful for all students and faculty, regardless of personal identity, background, or other circumstances.
Dr. Rigel Hines
To start, this question has many perspectives to consider. The first one should always start with the offended. Why do they feel the offense and from what or who. Lets keep in mind one thing for a defused approach to the issue and that is fear. Fear on both sides and lets add unfamiliarity. Begin any resolution with this being priority to gain a clear understanding which is in fact the first hurdle to beat in order to begin a process of resolution
Eric recommends the following next steps:
This is a very important and complicated question. A problem prevalent in all campuses. One key step to addressing this is diversity. Having a blend of all races can often mitigate against microaggressions and discrimination. Most colleges have started tackling this heads on by at least having a discussion about it. Pretending that it doesn't exist on campuses is dangerous. On discrimination, unfortunately, it is the reality most of us live with. From a practical point of view, many people struggle to deal with this issue. Because since they never felt a discrimination, they struggle to put it in a perspective. My advice has always been in all cases and your dealings with people, be the best version of yourself. Do not dwell on what you think, some people are nicer than they look or what you might have heard about a particular group of people or race. We should have an open mind.
Always speak up for yourself and get someone involved if necessary. BE YOU!!!
Paulo Antônio Alves de’s Answer
Michael J. Kotubey, LEED AP
Michael J.’s Answer
This is a great question an a issue I think needs to be addressed vehemently. I served in the military for 20 years and we have dealt with these issues with a zero tolerance approach. I believe college leaders should take this same approach with its student body. Initially we should educate the student body on microaggressions and discrimination, to include the negative impact of these behaviors. Following education, make a no tolerance policy for these behaviors and hold violators accountable. I will also create a reporting system for victims to feel comfortable to report, which subsequently launch an investigation into the matter. Again, these issues are detrimental to the learning environment and I believe the no tolerance approach will help the colleges combat these issues. I hope that helps and thank you for your time.