Avoiding Racially Charged Incidents- A Lesson from Syracuse University
Yesterday, police arrested a Syracuse University student in connection with a series of racist graffiti marks across campus. To date, there have been a total of 12 racist and anti-Semitic graffiti messages found on or near the Syracuse Campus. Additionally, last week, four students were suspended for their involvement in a verbal assault against an African American student at the University.
Students have been unhappy with the leadership’s response to these incidents. According to CNN, the students proposed 19 recommendations to the university’s administration, including requiring all staff to undergo diversity training, establishing a housing portal where students can select roommates based on mutual interests and identities, and allocation of $1 million for the creation of a curriculum “that educates the campus on diversity issues, specifically anti-racism.”
The Chancellor of the university has agreed to some of these demands and is willing to work with the students on others.
These incidents make it clear that now, more than ever, diversity and inclusion must be imbedded into all facets of life including work, education, and even in social situations. Specifically, in education, leaders must champion efforts around diversity and inclusion and incorporate critical concepts throughout all of the policies and practices of colleges and universities. Training on inclusive behaviors for students, faculty and staff is no longer optional, but rather a core component of the student and employee experience. It’s time to get ahead of these situations to protect and foster a culture of inclusion if we are to prevent incidents like this from occurring.
In our work with higher education, we help staff, faculty, and students understand their role in creating an environment of mutual respect, recognizing unconscious bias, and most importantly, how to best respond should these situations occur. By understanding the need for diversity and inclusion and tackling the issues head on, colleges and universities are more likely to avoid catastrophic issues like those that have happened at Syracuse. Or, if an incident does occur, they are better equipped to respond properly and handle the situation appropriately.
If you’re looking to protect your college, university, or organization from racially charged or discriminatory issues, contact Exude today.