The University of California has announced its new diversity initiative, a comprehensive effort to address the underrepresentation of African American students, faculty, and staff at the university, and improve the climate for those who are on campus now and all who will join the campus community in the future.
Since the passage of Proposition 209 in 1996 which banned the consideration of race in the university’s admissions decisions, Black enrollments have plummeted. A recent campus climate survey found that African American students feel the least respected among all groups on campus.
Among the components of the initiative are:
- Help raise a $20 million endowed undergraduate scholarship fund to support African American undergraduates, in partnership with private, nonprofit organizations.
- Improve the recruitment and yield of African American students and other underrepresented ethnic minorities.
- Boost the social, personal, and academic support provided to current and future African American students.
- Target a range of efforts to improve the classroom climate, including training and pedagogical resources for faculty and graduate student instructors.
- Increase faculty diversity more rapidly over the next 10 years.
- Continue efforts to increase the racial and gender diversity of Berkeley’s senior management.
In a statement Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks and Provost Claude Steele noted that “although the initiative we are undertaking is predicated on our collective determination to engage and improve the campus climate for African Americans across every sector of our community, we also know that progress and improvement cannot and will not happen solely as the result of administrative dictate. Rather, success in this most important of realms can only be achieved and sustained if all of us – students, faculty, administrators and alumni – work together in the context of what are deeply shared goals, values, and beliefs. To be clear, the success of this initiative will depend on effective and ongoing collaboration among all of us here on the campus and, crucially, our alumni and friends whose support will be essential if we are to make good on our aspirations.”