BrownUniversity2

Brown University has announced a proposal to devote $100 million to improving campus diversity and inclusion over the next decade.

On Nov. 19, Brown President Christina Paxson shared a draft of the plan, “Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion: An Action Plan for Brown University” in an e-mail to the campus community. She invited students, faculty and staff to offer their feedback via an online form by Dec. 4.  Officials will then use those suggestions to tweak the document before a final plan is revealed at the end of the semester in mid-December.

“This plan is intentionally presented as a working document because the input of our students, faculty and staff is vitally important for establishing a set of achievable actions to build a better Brown,” Paxson said in a statement.

The school’s chief said the plan evolved out of recent discussions within the campus community concerning structural racism though it is not the first such plan developed by the institution.

The deep pain that we have heard expressed by students of color in the past weeks and months — a pain that has been affirmed by faculty and staff members who work closely with and care deeply about our students — is very real. We value our students of color and are grateful to them and those working with them for calling attention to actions needed to address racism and injustice on our campus,” Paxson wrote in her letter introducing the plan.

The 19-page draft plan contains approximately 30 suggested actions divided between three categories:

Under the first, “campus diversity,” the administration suggests creating cultural sensitivity/education programs for all staff, faculty, administrators and students, providing additional resources to centers that support historically marginalized groups on campus and a survey that gauges inclusion and people’s experiences which will be used to determine the development of future programs.

Under the second, “investing in people,” the administration suggests, among other things, increasing diversity among faculty and staff and providing mentorship for faculty from underrepresented groups to increase retention, expanding opportunities for underrepresented students to engage in research and summer internships, and devising better means of attracting minority high-shoolers to attend Brown.

And, under “academic leadership,” officials propose that issues of race, ethnicity and identity be integrated into different central areas of study, and that its different centers and institutes identify and open up new doorways for education and research on issues of social justice.

“Creating a just and inclusive campus community is key to Brown’s ambitions as a university,” Paxson said. “Legacies of structural racism and discrimination in our society and on our campus undermine our goals of being a diverse, inclusive, and academically excellent community. Although we cannot solve these problems globally, we can ensure that all members of our community are treated with dignity and respect and are provided the opportunities they need to reach their full human potential.”

Brown is the latest of several universities, including Yale and Harvard, that have announced multi-million-dollar diversity and inclusion initiatives following campus demonstrations, which were spurred by the University of Missouri protests that resulted in the resignation of its president.

A copy of Brown’s draft plan can be accessed here.