Audit Report Recommendations


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Diversity Leadership, Vision and Accountability
President is clear in link between diversity, inclusion, and equity and MCTC’s success
President and cabinet express this link frequently
Assess hiring practices to get diverse candidates
Include diversity in strategy
Develop “Equity Report Card”

Diversity Infrastructure
Develop and budget Diversity Infrastructure
Establish and budget a new division of Student Affairs: “Multicultural Affairs”, with a programme of access and opportunity for students of color to develop skills for future college and careers.
Establish Educational Equity Task Force of on and off-campus leaders to implement diversity, inclusion, and equity plans.

Cultural Competence Development and Training
Uncover and coach cultural insensitivity for administrators and faculty using assessments.
Mandatory diversity training for faculty and staff
Continuous opportunities for development of diversity awareness
Cultural Competence Skills for MCTC: 1) valuing diversity, 2) cultural self-awareness, 3) intercultural communications, 4) cultural knowledge, 5) institutionalized cultural knowledge
Culturally Responsive Teaching for MCTC: 1) high expectations, 2) learning in cultural context, 3) culturally responsive curriculum, 4) faculty as facilitators, 5) student-centered instruction

Effective and Equitable Educational Principles and Practices
Early Connections/Expanded Orientation
High Expectations and Aspirations: first weeks include contacts for achievement
Stronger support for entering students: 1) required expanded orientation, 2) required support resources for students not “college ready” 3) College Ready Academy: courses on school resources
Academic Advising: extra and ethnically diverse advisors

Campus and Classroom Climate of Inclusions
Diversity training for all employees
”Peer navigators” program
Forums/student focus groups for minority students
Introduction to Multicultural Affairs office in orientation
Student engagement: phone calls for academic probation planning, expectations of success, peer support, faculty role-modeling, comfort for minority students
Support social diversity clubs
Regular communication on diversity news and information
Resources for Multicultural Affairs, at least one dedicated staff member
Awareness for students with disabilities
Explain reasoning for cultural competency: monthly staff emails, diversity training
Assess HR practices for diverse hiring pool
Assess retention of diverse faculty
Broaden faculty and staff orientation to include culture
Openness to more feedback

Satisfactory Academic Progress
Introducing and explaining SAP to all students
Most SAP process to be online, with student self-service
Make decisions for realistic college plans, meet twice a year with advisor for help
Information is confidential
Interdepartmental training for staff about barriers to success, using SAP data

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From insensitivity to audit; a six year struggle to the first step

Fall 2007: CCN assistant editor Gabriel Keith hangs a noose in press room with a note about passed deadlines, against the warnings of other editors. This coincides with national, racial tension relating to the noose in Jena, Louisiana and the Jena Six trial in 2006. Keith is fired by the Editor in Chief, but the decision is overturned by adviser Ben Lathrop and his status is “suspended”. Interim Vice President Laura Fedock changes status to “fired”, stating Editor in Chief was within her powers. The story is leaked to City Pages reporter Jonathan Kaminsky.

According to English Division Coordinator Shannon Gibney, students involved attempt to file a discrimination suit through the MCTC Legal Affairs Department, and are “re-victimized” by a gag-order from administration. Gibney notices an “inappropriate institutional follow-up”, focusing on lawsuit-prevention over real problem-solving.

Although diversity has long been a marketing point for MCTC, graduation and matriculation rates for students of color are well below those of white students. Gibney, along with English Department faculty Kathleen DeVore begins to ask “What’s going on at this school?” with regards to ethical issues of equity and missing vital knowledge of the history of racial violence. Students need resources for these conflicts, so the faculty members begin researching the best practices in promoting and achieving racial equity, and promoting an inclusive environment in institutions of higher education. They find that the first step that needs to take place is an equity audit in order to diagnose what the problems really are.
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Spring 2010: President Phil Davis appoints Dean Cheryl Saunders as Diversity Director. Saunders brings interesting diversity exhibits; such as photo manipulation program Human Race Machine, which shows how people look if they’re born as different races, and a public discussion series called “It’s Time to Talk”. Her campus-wide Diversity Plan is unsupported by President Davis and other stakeholders. Her position is removed for lack of accomplishment.

Yvette Trotman is appointed by President Davis as Special Assistant to the President for Diversity and Anti-Racism Initiatives. This position is also removed for lack of accomplishment.
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Fall 2010: Irene Kovala leaves her position as Vice President of Academic Affairs, creating an opening for opportunity to advance the equity agenda.

English faculty member Soojin Pate, an ally of Gibney and DeVore is vocal in spite of what she refers to in a 2010 CCN interview as “the retaliatory and cultural fear” motivating faculty silence on equity issues. Pate goes on to form a group named Concerned Faculty which meets for months with President Davis. Concerned Faculty ultimately disbands, lacking faith in President Davis moving forward on their recommendations.

The English faculty’s feelings of “institutional roadblocks from President Davis and his leadership team” are strong, so Gibney and DeVore seek outside funding. Using community contacts, they find the St. Paul Foundation’s Management Improvement Grant, and write the initial draft to start the process of funding, which the MCTC Foundation revises and later submits. This $7,000 grant is the seed money for the audit.

Pate quits MCTC, citing workplace hostility.

Remaining English faculty activists attempt to make knowledge of critical race theory (an academic discipline which accepts the inherent racism and white privilege of American power structures and institutions), as well as a personal connection to local communities, hiring criterion for a series of hiring rounds in the English Department. After four English faculty are accused of racial harassment because they publicly push for this language in job calls and for attention to racially exclusionary policies and procedures throughout the college. After a lengthy legal investigation, the faculty members are cleared of this charge, but MCTC administrative leadership deem the qualifying hiring questionable and possibly exclusionary, and state that the criterion should be removed during the next round of hiring (yet to occur). Critical race theory remains controversial, with several faculty members of color accused of racial harassment for using the discipline to engage a frank conversation on race in the classroom.
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Fall 2012: Dr. Joi Lewis is new VP of Student Affairs, and also the new Chief Executive Diversity Officer. Her office oversees the audit and brings it to completion. Gibney wonders what the next move will be from her office, and from administrative leadership in general. In terms of carrying out the sweeping and widespread institutional changes that the audit calls for the big question is: “What is the college’s institutional, staffing, economic, and long-term commitment to issues of equity?” One person, who already has the many duties of a full-time position, cannot carry these out. For her part, Gibney and DeVore remain “cautiously hopeful,” that the audit findings can inspire some critical conversations amongst key MCTC stakeholders (including students), as well as inspire much-needed change in long-standing inequitable institutional policies and procedures.  “I think the report is clear: It is not that senior administrative leadership don’t view equity as important, or that they necessarily don’t want to carry out the recommendations. The real concern is that they may not actually have the skills to do so,” said Gibney.

Have you encountered insensitive or unethical treatment from students, faculty or staff? Is your culture underrepresented or stereotyped on campus? Do you have ideas on how to improve goal-achievement for students of color at MCTC? CCN would like to know more!

Email your responses to: [email protected]