Welcome to Race on Campus. What happens when you learn that, despite your best efforts, your college isn’t doing enough to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion? This year, one administrator learned out of the blue that some students of color were dissatisfied. Here’s how she dealt with it.
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A Letter Calls for Tangible Changes
In 2013 students of color at the University of California at Los Angeles Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, known as UCLA SEIS, wrote a letter to the school’s leadership, reporting a “hostile racial climate” on campus. The students requested faculty meetings to discuss that problematic climate, the addition of race and ethnic studies into the curriculum, and the hiring of more faculty of color, among other things.
The letter went largely ignored and was forgotten, according to members of SEIS Black Bruins, a group of Black graduate students.
It certainly wasn’t on Cecilia Rios-Aguilar’s radar in 2018, when she became the school’s associate dean of equity, diversity, and inclusion. So when a similar letter landed in her inbox in January, it was jolting, s
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