We Demand that Santa Rosa Junior College establish an Office for Black Student Development that focuses on recruitment, advising, mentorship, improving cultural awareness across campus, working with faculty, staff and administrators to support the overall success of BIPOC students. This office should be led by a coordinator or director that serves as a resource for addressing anti-Blackness across campus. Includes: Allocation of funds (roughly $60K) for programming, does not include cost of staffing. Staffing-director/coordinator, success specialist, counselor/advisor, student employees
Status: In Progress
Office space adjacent to the college’s Intercultural Center has been identified to establish the new Sawubona Black Student Support Center. With guidance from BSU, the new center will be remodeled this summer to create a space that is welcoming to Black/African American Students – new carpet, new furniture, built-in speakers, new paint, sound proofing, signage, and improvements to doors.
The district is committed to hiring a full-time coordinator who will lead the new Sawubona Center. With input from BSU, BLAC, and the UMOJA team, a job description was created. The Job description was approved by the board in April and is currently out for internal recruitment. We anticipate having a coordinator hired before the end of the spring semester. Vice President, Student Services/ Assistant Superintendent Dr. Pedro Avila is currently exploring options to establish a permanent budget for the Sawubona Center.
Additionally, the district has hired two part-time Black/African American therapists who are providing services to students and will be integrated into the future Sawubona Center.
We demand that all Umoja, Black and African-American students receive priority 1 registration
We demand the internal promotion of Black/African-American faculty and staff. Preference/priority for existing Black/AA faculty and staff to transition into the Black Student Success Center with backfill of their roles by Black/AA staff.
The District unequivocally supports hiring and retaining more Black faculty and staff. This means that we support being explicit about this intention, and not speaking in generalities about “diversity”, or “BIPOC” hires. We are legally permitted (and required) to identify the underrepresentation of specific groups and develop purposeful plans to correct this.
It is important to note that the one thing we are clearly prohibited from doing is to give any preference on the basis of race in any employment decision. In 1996, California enacted Proposition 209. This referendum amended the California Constitution to require that the “State shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.” Based on this legislation, we are precluded from all form of targeting, preference, or enhanced opportunities based on race.
To address this limitation in hiring and retention of our employees, we are engaged in identifying and implementing a range of lawful strategies, in keeping with our Board Hiring Policies and Procedures and labor union contracts, to improve the hiring, retention and advancement of Black faculty and staff—as well as faculty and staff from other underrepresented groups. The District is committed to developing equitable hiring and equivalency processes that provide opportunities to encourage our Black/African American employees to have opportunities to compete for internal and external employment opportunities.
Recent strategies to improve our hiring and retention efforts are as follows:
- Recent district-wide and board training on lawful strategies to address underrepresentation in our workforce, including an Academic Senate listening session on promoting inclusive hiring practices;
- Dedicated human resources staffing for implementation of identified strategies
- Transparent collection, and longitudinal analysis of, a wide range of data on the demographics of our workforce
- Enhancing our recruitment outreach efforts
In the past twenty years, the District has made steady progress in increasing diversity of faculty and staff of color with an overall increase in non-white employees from 10% to 25% since 2000. Classified Professionals and Management Team represent the highest number of non-white employees with a 22% increase in non-white Classified and a 23% increase in non-white Management Team. For Full-time faculty, we have seen a 15% increase and the slightest increase in non-white employees being with our Adjunct Faculty at a 10% increase. The District currently employs a higher percentage of Black (3%), Asian (5%), and American Indian and Alaska Native (1%) employees compared to the percentages of these ethnic groups for SRJC students and Sonoma County residents. The District hired 35 new faculty who started in Fall 2021 and this group of new faculty represent 38% non-white faculty, including 23% Hispanic new faculty hires (the new faculty hires have not yet been included in the data mentioned above, since the data only reflects employees hired as of last year’s MIS reporting data which is pulled late fall of every year). This data along with a summary of the District’s Hiring and Retention Efforts were shared with the Board of Trustees and the college community at a listening session in September 2020. Please see link to the presentation and Hiring and Retention report here. Recently, two new full-time Black/African American faculty were hired to start Fall 2021.
Recommendations are being considered for hiring and equivalency practices and procedures to promote an inclusive hiring process such as requiring diverse hiring and selection committees, including students, Classified Professionals and faculty from other disciplines on hiring committees and revising hiring practices to provide candidates with a more equitable and inclusive hiring process. Recommendations for revisions to hiring and equivalency procedures will be made by the appropriate shared governance bodies to the Board that will facilitate the removal of barriers in the hiring and retention processes.
The District has been very strategic in broadening recruitment and outreach efforts to reach Black/African American faculty and staff candidates. In our recent faculty and management job postings, we posted positions with the Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) and The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education and Blacks in Higher Education. We also reached out to HBCU’s to schedule information sessions that would allow for direct outreach to their students and alumni. Our first HBCU information session was in Spring 2021 with North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University. As part of improving our hiring practices, EEOAC implemented a survey in Spring 2021 to solicit input from the college community on our hiring and retention efforts. EEOAC will also work with SRJC affinity group leaders to reach out to their local chamber of commerce and other community organizations to encourage candidates of color to consider employment at SRJC. The District is implementing a Diversity Mentorship Program in Summer 2021 for Administrators in collaboration with UC Berkeley to provide opportunities for UC Berkeley students who are interested in community college careers in administration to work with SRJC administrators.
The efforts to remove systemic racism in our overall processes requires a collaborative efforts with all constituent groups and members of our college community. We hope that our BLAC colleagues will promote revisions to the hiring and equivalency procedures and hiring practices to support our efforts.
We demand a concentrated effort to recruit and retain qualified Black/African American faculty, staff, and administrators. This also includes the revising and removal of barriers that hinders this process and oversight to ensure that progress is being made.
Barriers include, hiring practices, minimum qualifications and composition of hiring committees.
Over the next three cycles of tenure track hires for faculty, 20% of the hired class should be Black/African American. The hiring of management/administration should reflect the student body. Classified staff should be proportionate in job type/classification.
As an educational institution, in its goal to prepare students for life, SRJC serves as the model of community leadership. The college is currently negligent in its lack of a specific requirement for all members of the SRJC community to learn about the social injustices of U.S. racial history
- How to be an Antiracist (book review)
- Community Conversation placeholder (Lasana Hotep workshop)
- Equity Circle COVID Conversations: A Report on our Monthly Meetings
- Join the Umoja Learning Community and Become Umojafied
- Psychology as an Anti-Racist Discipline
- Open Educational Resources and Remote Instruction, An Issue of Equity
- SRJC's Title V HSI "Lanzamiento" Initiative, An Overview and Invitation
- Equity in Online Course Design and Practices
- Student Veterans: A Diverse Population with Diverse Needs
- What it means to be human: Ideologies of racism from religious racial development to pseudoscience
- Living Undocumented in a World of Uncertainty
We demand to work with HR to establish mandatory curriculum/training to be completed by all new hires and transferred/transferring existing employees.
The District will consider working with the labor unions (AFA, CFT and SEIU) to negotiate this recommendation. The Academic Senate voted in favor of an agenda item to request that AFA negotiate required faculty professional development on equity, diversity, inclusivity and anti-racism at the January 20, 2021 Academic Senate meeting.
In the meantime, the District is researching additional professional development opportunities to be offered on an ongoing basis on anti-racism related topics in collaboration with input from the community, EEOAC, the Professional Development Committee and the Embracing a Culture of Inclusion program along with various employee affinity groups. The Professional Development Committee conducted a Needs Assessment Survey of all faculty and staff to solicit input on topics of interest with specific survey questions related to professional development opportunities on diversity and demographics.
The new faculty experience program includes agenda items with the new faculty orientation for ‘Equity in the Classroom: Black Faculty, Staff & Student Panel’, ‘SRJC Culture: Commitment to Diversity, Inclusion, and Anti-racism’ and equity data will also be presented by Institutional Research. The new hire orientation for Classified and Management includes training from the Embracing a Culture of Inclusion program on understanding what inclusion means at SRJC and provides tips for addressing bias and racism in the work environment.
The 2020-2023 District EEO Plan includes a goal for the Board of Trustees to receive training on elimination of bias in hiring and employment every two years. The Board of Trustees received this training in December 2020 and any new Trustees will receive the same training within six months of their officially assuming their duties as a Trustee. Human Resources collaborated with the Academic Senate to offer a training similar to what was provided to the Board of Trustees in order to inform discussions taking place in Spring 2021 regarding revisions to the faculty hiring and equivalency procedures and faculty job announcement template.The District’s Embracing a Culture of Inclusion (ECI) Program implemented a New Faculty Mixer event in Fall 2020 to provide new faculty with an opportunity to discuss the importance of equity-mindedness in supporting our students. Additional initiatives will be implemented by ECI in Spring 2021 and beyond to develop surveys for employee affinity groups as an opportunity for individuals in these groups to provide input on creating an inclusive work environment. ECI will also be implementing professional development opportunities on anti-racism. Lastly, ECI is in discussion about the development of an ‘Allies for Change’ group to serve as a bias response team to address issues of exclusion and racism in the workplace.
We demand that SRJC disarms and redirect police funding. We envision alternative (appropriate) responses to non-threatening campus events. We demand that there is no longer any active police presence at events that are designed to be safe spaces for marginalized populations. As part of the restructuring, deploy psych/health services team concerning inappropriate student behaviors as first response, especially for people of color.
We DEMAND that police are trained on de-escalation techniques, so that they avoid the use of force in seemingly antagonistic encounters. Similarly, we DEMAND that campus police participate in the University-wide political education in order to learn about how our institutions of policing, prisons, and the courts have their roots in racism.
The District Police Department is committed to working with BLAC to ensure everyone’s safety, including all students, employees and community members, on any campus and to foster a culture of equity and anti-racism.
The District Police have met with Student Life staff to standardize the security assessments for events on campus to include considerations such as size, time, controversy, dignitary presence, traffic and access. The District Police are a part of the District BCARE Team, which evaluates students in crisis to ensure resources, such as counseling and mental health support, are utilized as the primary response, except in incidents where a person is an immediate harm to themselves or to others. The result is that the BCARE Team’s non-law enforcement professionals are able to use their available resources to intervene and act without endangering anyone’s safety in the vast majority of cases.
California law enforcement has been and continues to be a leader for the rest of the country in officer training requirements. The District Police are trained at the academy level and at the field training level about crisis intervention. Peace officers also receive an additional 40-hour course on crisis intervention with an emphasis on support services and resources available in Sonoma County.
De-escalation techniques and training have been implemented at the academy level and continue through the professional development training peace officers receive. In addition, peace officers completed Bias and Racial Profiling Course in January 2021. The facilitation was done by Nick Neisius, an African American officer out of the Mill Valley Police Department, a certified POST instructor and a SRJC Recruit Training Officer. Our officers have received de-escalation training and we have officers going through upcoming classes at SSU soon. Additionally, Sergeant James has taken a Hate Crimes Investigation course and a LGBTQ Awareness train the trainer course this past February.
Our dispatchers received cultural diversity training in February through Kim Turner LLC our CSOs will soon receive this training as well. Officer Bromham and Dispatcher Lankford have ongoing conversations with our cadets and are planning in house training for them this semester.
The District Police policy states that when time and circumstances reasonably permit, and when safety would not be compromised, officers should consider actions that increase officer safety and decrease the need for using force. Such options include summoning additional resources, formulating a plan with responding officers before entering an unstable situation that does not appear to require immediate intervention and employing other tactics that ensure everyone’s safety.
It is required that any officer present and observing another law enforcement officer or employee using force that is clearly beyond that which is necessary shall, when in a position to do so, intervene to prevent the use of unreasonable force.
The District Police continue to work with the collective Sonoma County law enforcement agencies in implementing data collection of detentions and searches for the Racial Identity Profiling Act (RIPA). The software piece just became available and is going through a testing phase. Live data collection is expected to begin earlier than legally required. Note, the goal was to begin as of January 1 but the software piece, which needed to be created, took longer than originally planned.
Body Worn Cameras
The District Police have acquired and implemented body worn cameras for all officers.Advocacy and Leadership
As part of the California Community College’s Call to Action agenda, the Chancellor’s Office has formed a Campus Police Reform Task Force that will inform state-level policy, data, and strategy shifts needed to ensure transparent campus-based police reforms that advance our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and provide the most welcoming environment possible for students and others on campus. Vice President, Academic Affairs/Assistant Superintendent Dr. Jane Saldaña-Talley has been invited to join the Task Force to represent the California Community College’s Chief Instructional Officers (CCCCIO) Executive Board. Over the next year, Dr. Saldana-Talley will participate in a series of meetings intended to result in action-oriented recommendations and strategies. The first meeting of the Task Force was April 16, 2021, and a second meeting is scheduled for May 10, 2021.