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Equity and Action Report

Introduction

The senseless death of George Floyd—following those of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Ron Settles and others—sparked national and international outrage and protests while prompting greater urgency for Cal State Long Beach to collectively confront systemic racial inequities impacting people of color and Black people in particular. 

We at the Beach are vehemently against racial injustice and police brutality. We embrace the Long Beach City Council Framework for Reconciliation by acknowledging the existence and longstanding impacts of systemic racism, especially anti-Blackness, and the kinds of abuses of power that have historically targeted the Black community; convening stakeholders, listening to the experiences of Black students, staff, faculty, alumni, community members and faith leaders and their recommendations on how to confront bias and injustice and to become a more inclusive campus; and beginning the process of ongoing listening and convening to catalyzing immediate, medium and long-term action.

The foundation of our work began two years ago with Beach 2030 strategic planning. We were inspired to be creators of CSULB’s future rather than victims of the omnipresence of relentless change surrounding us. Among our four values that emerged, we unequivocally stated that the common good is our responsibility and that diversity is the source of our strength. We launched a faculty diversity hiring initiative and a campus survey while preparing for various teams of students, faculty and staff to develop specific targets for enhancing diversity, equity and action toward an even more inclusive and compassionate culture.

Moving forward we do not claim to have all the answers and cannot promise that we won’t misstep in the process of learning. However, we look forward to continued meaningful dialogue with our Black community members to develop specific actions as we also engage with all members of our campus and community to enhance diversity, equity and action toward an even more inclusive and compassionate culture.

President’s Priority Actions Currently in Implementation

This summer, President Conoley, in addition to reviewing several comprehensive documents from groups on campus (e.g., Black Faculty and Staff Community, Black Student Union, and CFA), engaged with Chief of Staff Dr. Schnoor in fourteen group listening sessions with Black students, staff, faculty, alumni, community members and faith leaders. While many participants felt vulnerable, assured of our confidence they openly shared experiences and suggestions. The following plans are already in implementation, while we prepare for ongoing dialogue with stakeholders to catalyze immediate, medium and long-term action.

Campus-wide:

  • In the coming year, disseminate and study results of the campus climate survey and engage group discussions to inform impactful action steps.
  • Senior administrators and select faculty and students are completing Moving Beyond Bias (MBB) Training with CSU/UC colleagues and key individuals attending “Train-the-Trainers” modules.
  • Further diversify CAPS staff to ensure that counseling is delivered by those who share life experience of clients.
  • Ensure that cultural centers—the President’s highest facilities priority—are clearly reflected in the 10-year campus master plan.
  • Partner with the Academic Senate and Deans to create a review, tenure and promotion (RTP) process that enables faculty to build on their unique talents in teaching, practice, service and research.
  • Repurpose a position to create a full-time coordinator for the Black Resource Center.
  • Create division-wide equity and inclusion task forces and inclusion/anti-racist strategic plans.
  • Student affairs, with the Black Student Union and URD, will work to implement the “Catalyst for Change” scholarship for anti-racism and social justice and additional fundraising priorities.

Recruiting and Retention:

  • Have doubled entry possibilities through our Beach Pathway program, allowing for more access to campus for traditionally underrepresented groups of students.
  • Further investing in, for example, Beach Pathways, LB Promise, and Upward Bound.
  • Fundraising for scholarships, including those that support internships and studies in social and racial justice.
  • Increased staffing in OMA, Men’s Success Initiative, Women and Gender Equity Center. 
  • Investing in cultural conferences, impactful cultural programs, and quality student programming/speaker series. 
  • Continuing to identify and implement evidence-based high impact practices to improve student success.

Police Service:

  • Forming a diverse and representative Community Advisory Board. 
  • Continuing to ban the Carotid Restraint Hold. 
  • Enhancing disaggregated reporting of use of force, stop and detain events, and other metrics prioritized by the Community Advisory Board. 
  • UPD is completing Principled Policing Training that focuses on both procedural justice and implicit bias training for law Enforcement delivered by the Center for Criminal Justice.
  • UPD will be utilizing the 21st Century Policing Crosswalk Tool to determine whether best practices are already fully in place, are partially implemented, or have yet to be started and share results with both internal and external stakeholders to demonstrate the proactive steps being taken toward constantly improving the quality of service to the community. 

City/Region-wide:

  • CSULB, the Mayor of Long Beach, Port of Long Beach, LBCC and LBUSD are collaborating to bring an equity focus to our nationally recognized Long Beach Promise 2.0 partnership. One goal will be a significant increase in the number of Black students who enroll at and graduate from CSULB.
  • Black Business Strategies (BBS)—a collaboration between Black Community Leaders, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and CSULB College of Business Faculty and Students—are identifying Black Businesses to participate in a sustainable business consulting program to assist those businesses to strategically focus on providing excellence in product quality and services that meet market needs and provide an enhanced quality of life for all involved. 
  • CSULB in partnership with faith-based partners is donating used but serviceable computers to community centers to bridge the digital divide (computer, laptop, affordability) that threatens students’ academic success especially during pandemic-induced remote learning modalities.

President’s Conclusion:  Convening and Communicating New Actions

An early insight arising from the fourteen listening sessions was that CSULB lacked regular communication structures that purposely interrogated the working, learning, and living experiences of Black members of the campus community. In response, I have reconceptualized the mission of my Presidential Commission on Inclusive Excellence. The commission has been renamed the President’s Commission on Equity and Change and received an action-oriented charge to implement a comprehensive communication system of meetings and focus groups, collaboration with the Academic Senate Climate Committee, that establishes regular channels by which the President, Vice Presidents, Deans and Directors can be informed as to conditions/policies/persons that perpetuate systemic racism.

Campus-wide:

  • Deliver enhanced holistic professional development to employees around diversity, equity and anti-racism.
  • Require implicit bias/cultural competency/anti-racist training for MPPs.
  • Implement regularized 360 evaluations for managers on a determined schedule.
  • Make disaggregated hiring, retention, and advancement data available for study to ensure equitable search/evaluation processes.
  • Develop dashboards and annual reporting of the State of Diverse CSULB—faculty, staff and student diversity.
  • Take a more proactive approach to appointing Black faculty to interim leadership opportunities to gain experience for future career opportunities.
  • Explore organizational changes to create a more direct line of communication/response regarding equity and diversity issues including the reporting of racism/bias experiences for employees and students.
  • Enhance involvement of BSU and Black/Africana Studies to determine priorities and actions.
  • Diversify all CSULB boards.
  • Encourage and identify resources for:
  • Cultural competency and/or anti-racist training for students, staff and faculty.
  • Enhanced mentoring for diverse students. 
  • Action research grants to reduce the opportunity gap.
  • Recruiting and funding diverse Leadership Fellows and Data Fellows.
  • RSCA funding for important research related to systemic racism on campus and the experience of diverse students at The Beach.
  • Black cultural events and conferences.

Recruiting and Retention:

  • Continue and enhance programs that address high school preparation and transition to college—especially math preparation.
  • Develop better coordination among all units—especially Enrollment Management with University Outreach & School Relations—to increase enrollment of Black and other underrepresented students to:
  • Aggressively follow-up with accepted students to increase yield.
  • Increase targeted recruiting in schools with high populations of Black/underrepresented students.
  • Critically examine and creatively enhance means of relationship-building in diverse communities and schools.
  • Develop tracking system/dashboards of Black/underrepresented students throughout the college bound pipeline and access, retention, graduation at CSULB.
  • Investigate a more holistic approach to admissions/criteria.
  • Enhance student engagement and support by:
  • Investing in summer and first year experiences and early connections to campus cultural organizations. 
  • Investing in critical support offices/staff such as EOP and Success Center.
  • Investing in Black Beach Day, Black Consciousness Conference, unique SOAR experience.
  • Collaborate with faith-based and alumni mentors to increase student retention and also to support faculty and staff.
  • Explore a residential housing theme in Africana Studies.

Faculty:

  • Increase emphasis on value of community-focused and Black community-focused scholarship.
  • Ensure search committees evaluate candidates’ expertise in culturally relevant teaching.
  • Prioritize representation of diverse faculty on special projects of the President, Provost, administration, campus/college/unit. 
  • Pursue more aggressive and creative ways to recruit Black faculty by continuing the Provost’s Initiative to diversify the faculty. 
  • Challenge and create incentives for COE, CHHS and CED to increase Black/underrepresented candidates in Doctoral programs.
  • Discuss and plan for new Ethnic Studies courses and requirements.
  • Establish a fellowship program for faculty willing to develop anti-racist modules in their courses across the curriculum.

August 20, 2020