Response to Requests for Action Steps, Nov. 13, 2019

 The following action document is a response to the demand letter sent to President Altmann on November 9, 2019, signed by 10 F&M student groups.

Please note: This is a living document with times, dates, and details that will continue to evolve. Point persons handling these events and initiatives are invited to continue to provide updates and corrections as needed.

1. A Safe and Productive Learning Environment

a. Implementation of Action Steps for Title VI Violations

Recent Student-Athlete Infractions

  • It is not possible to comment on individual cases under investigation due to federal privacy laws.

  • All students who are accused of misconduct go through the College’s student code of conduct process. In addition, student-athletes are held to an athlete code of conduct. Individual coaches have program-specific standards and expectations that could result in additional sanctions. When an athlete is accused of misconduct, the coach is notified.

First-Year Orientation

  • By June 1, 2020 we will have identified a diversity educational program and will implement this program for the 2020 orientation. This would include mandatory diversity programming and information on our bias incident reporting system which would cover Title VI offenses. This will take place in consultation with our HAs.
  • Contacts: Nakia Perry, Orientation Coordinator and Assistant Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life; Douglas Adams, Associate Dean of Students; Jeffrey Stoudt, Associate Director of Athletics & Recreation for Compliance & Student Athlete Health & Welfare; House Advisors; Orientation Planning Directors; and Chief Diversity Officer (once hired)
b. Racial Awareness and Inclusion Curriculum and Training

F&M currently has significant racial awareness, inclusion, and equity programming. Several offices and units on campus regularly sponsor sessions on racial awareness, LGBTQ+ climate, ableism, international student success, sexual harassment, and first-generation student success.

  • The College curriculum is determined by the faculty and regulated by shared governance. The faculty have communicated a strong interest in taking on these issues within their curriculum.
  • On August 22, 2019, the Curriculum Symposium was held on “Visible, Invisible: Disabilities, Neurodiversity and Mental Health in the Classroom”
  • In summer 2019, a report was written by faculty on curating a power sensitive curriculum
  • Nearly 40 faculty have made major revisions to courses with DEI issues in mind
  • In May 2019, more than 75 faculty and all senior administrators attended DEI workshops
  • Implicit bias training ongoing for all faculty involved in hiring; workshops held for staff and senior administration
  • In spring 2019, Dr. Nadia Mann was hired as a specialist in English for Speakers of Other Languages. Works with faculty on better understanding the needs and assets of multilingual students
  • In fall 2019, a half-day workshop for all faculty focused on neurodiversity and mental health
  • As of fall 2019, role-playing focused on Title IX is now part of every new faculty orientation 
  • There is one DEI faculty workshop per week at the Faculty Center
  • We continue to plan DEI programming. For example, Dr. Royel Johnson (Penn State), an expert in access, equity, and diversity, will be on campus to work with faculty, staff, and senior administrators on creating a climate of belonging, respect, and value for all members of campus, January 17, 2020.
  • The new CDO officer (see 3a) will coordinate and expand programming available to all members of the community (students, faculty, staff, and administrators) in academic year 2020-21. The CDO will also work to establish comprehensive mandatory training programs during the same academic year (2020-2021), developed with consultations with student groups about the specifics of these programs.

Contacts: Amy Mulnix, Director of Faculty Center; Faculty Center Advisory Board; Stephanie McNulty, Director of Faculty Diversity Initiatives; Provost’s Committee on Faculty Diversity and Inclusion; Margaret Hazlett, Dean of Student Affairs; Sue Mennicke, Associate Dean for International Programs; Melanie DeSantis, Assistant Vice President of Human Resources; and Chief Diversity Officer (once hired)

c. Bias Reporting System
  • A committee comprising faculty, staff, and students has completed a proposal for a web-based system that students can use to report incidents.
  • The purpose is to create an information-gathering system to better understand the issues and capture incidents that create an unequal and at times unsafe environment for our students.
  • The goal is to bring accountability, speed, and transparency to our campus response to racism and bias incidents.
  • Upcoming campus forums will preview the system and provide a space for feedback. The first forum is scheduled for November 20, 2019 [time and 2 location to be confirmed]. A second forum will be scheduled after Thanksgiving.
    • By January 21, 2020, the system will be implemented (start of spring semester classes).
    • By April 1, 2020, regular summaries regarding the incidents will be available on the College’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion webpage.
  • Contacts: Pierce Buller, General Counsel, and Colette Shaw, Dean of Students
d. Campaign for Greek Organizations / Athletic Teams

In addition to the programming and events discussed in 1b, we will organize the following programs:

  • In January 2020, Student Athlete Leadership Council and fraternity and sorority life leadership will attend their own national meetings, such as the 2020 NCAA Convention (January 22-25). Dean Margaret Hazlett will invite these leaders to identify effective diversity training programs to undertake on our campus.
  • In April 2020, Fraternity and Sorority Life will identify similar diversity training programs through National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI).
  • In October 2020, NCBI trainers will come to F&M to train community leaders in skills designed to reduce intergroup conflicts. Monthly trainings will be implemented from that point forward.
  • Contacts: Nakia Perry, Orientation Coordinator and Assistant Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life; Ryan Horning and Kirsten Richter, SALC Advisors.
e. Statement of Recognition

President Barbara Altmann, Dean Margaret Hazlett, and Provost Cameron Wesson sent messages to the community in November recognizing the  hostile and exclusionary climate on campus and declared that there is no place at F&M for racism. Recipients included alumni (via the President of the Alumni Association), students, faculty, staff, parents, and the Board of Trustees.

f. Racial Bias Statistics and Information on Diversity & Inclusion Webpage
  • The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion webpage has been updated to reflect that F&M is actively engaging with issues of racism on campus. It includes a “Messages to the Community” link (see 1e), where messages from the president are archived and made available to the public.
  • There is currently more information and data available through the Office of Institutional Research related to graduation rates and composition of graduating classes, including data broken down by race and gender. We will continue to expand this information regularly to work toward data transparency.
  • The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion webpage will be continuously developed and expanded, and will include regular summaries from the Bias Reporting System that track statistics (see 1c). Contacts: Alan Caniglia, Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, Barb Stambaugh, Vice President for Communications.
g. Tour Guides

On Friday, November 8, 2019, three senior officers -- Interim VP/Enrollment Don Saleh, VP/Communications Barbara Stambaugh, and Provost Cam Wesson -- met with and assured tour guides during a meeting that they should always be honest with prospective students and always feel comfortable answering their questions truthfully. This includes any questions related to our Protest Tree, posters, or campus climate.

h. Protection of Faculty and Staff
  • Provost Cam Wesson emailed faculty on Sunday, November 10, 2019, encouraging leniency in response to students who missed classes to participate in the protest. He also encouraged flexibility in offering extensions for assigned work. 
  • No faculty or staff will be punished for participating or helping organize the protest or standing in support of our students. This includes decisions about tenure. Provost Cam Wesson will communicate with all junior faculty by Friday, November 15.
  • Contact: Provost and Dean of the Faculty Cam Wesson
i. Town Hall Meeting

On Tuesday, November 12, there was a Town Hall Meeting to discuss issues specific to race during Uncommon Hour. Speakers at the Town Hall included Barbara Altmann, President of the College; Griffin Sneath, Diplomatic Congress President; Margaret Hazlett, Dean of Student Affairs; Cameron Wesson, Provost; Ryan Trainor, Assistant Professor of Physics; and Amy Mulnix, Director of the Faculty Center.

2. Improved Inclusion and Representation

a. Transparency in Racial Incident Processes
  • Federal privacy laws prohibit the College from disclosing disciplinary actions resulting from conduct investigations. Reports of racial and/or discriminatory incidents are addressed through the processes described in 1a.
  • The Committee on Student Conduct, made up of faculty and students, adjudicates violations of the Student Code of Conduct. All students in good standing are eligible to nominate themselves to be members of this committee. There is an annual call for participation and we welcome nominations.
b. Revisions to Student Code of Conduct
  • The Student Code of Conduct is reviewed annually by a working group made up of faculty, professional staff, and students, and was most recently revised during the spring 2019 semester. 
  • F&M’s Diplomatic Congress will be using part of their November 21 congressional meeting to discuss future changes to the Student Code of Conduct. Colette Shaw, Dean of Students, will attend this meeting to receive community feedback.
    • Senior officers will be invited to all Diplomatic Meetings going forward to provide feedback about future changes to the Code of Conduct.
  • In March 2020, the working group will provide feedback on the suggested revisions. By March 30, the Committee on Athletics and Recreation will review the athletics code of conduct.
  • What we learn from the Bias Reporting System (1c) will be used as part of the annual review of the Code of Conduct.
  • By August 1, 2020 we will review how bias incident reporting works within this new Student Code of Conduct.
  • Contact: Colette Shaw, Dean of Students

3. Increased Funding and Support of Underrepresented Minority Students and Departments

a. OMCA Revisions
  • There will be an immediate reorganization of the Office of Multicultural Affairs. All personnel matters are confidential.
  • By July 1, 2020 the College will hire its first Chief Diversity Officer (CDO). The exact responsibilities and structure of this position and office will be developed through consultation with student organizations, faculty governance, and senior officers.
  • In January 2020, we will finalize the position title and description for the CDO. Next, we will select a search firm with an established record of hiring successful CDOs and we will form a search committee, made up of students, faculty, and staff.
  • Contacts: Barbara Altmann, President; Margaret Hazlett, Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs
b. Multicultural Groups Funding and Meeting Spaces
  • F&M’s Diplomatic Congress is responsible for allocating student activity fees from which multicultural clubs are funded.
  • On Thursday, November 14, 2019 at 7:30 PM, Diplomatic Congress will present a proposal at their congressional meeting. The proposal created in collaboration with multicultural groups to increase the student activities budget.
  • On Friday, November 15, 2019, Diplomatic Congress will present a proposal to the Budget Priorities Committee for an increased student activities budget.
  • On November 19, 2019, Facilities personnel, Dean Hazlett, and others will do a walk-through of the BCC with student leaders to further assess the condition of the building and determine what repairs and updates need to be made.
  • After that visit, we will meet with student groups to determine what kind of additional space is needed and talk about feasible solutions.
  • Contacts: Dean Margaret Hazlett, Griffin Sneath, President of the Diplomatic Congress.
c. Wellness Center Counseling
  • The Lancaster General - Penn Medicine Student Wellness Center hires based on professional expertise and qualifications. Current staff includes counselors of color, as well as diverse genders, religions, and backgrounds.
  • Students can seek referrals for off campus mental health providers from the Wellness Center. If financial assistance is needed, requests can be made through the Wellness Center.  
  • In January 2020, the referral list of off-campus counseling practices will be updated.
  • Contacts: Kathryn Wanner, Director of Student Wellness and Violence Prevention; Lauren Firestone, Head of Counseling Services and Licensed Professional Counselor
d. Action Steps have been demonstrated in this document

These are the concrete action steps the administration is taking and will take toward a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community. As the letter states, changes like this take time.