Progress Reports

Following a fall 2019 student forum, the information below outlines the collaborative work and progress of our campus community to address issues of campus climate and inclusion.

Our ultimate goal is for UAlbany to be an inclusive campus where all members of our community are treated with dignity and respect, where all are welcome – and truly feel welcome. 

 

Progress Reports on Student Concerns
Concern 1: Diversity and inclusion as a general education requirement

Establish a General Education requirement (3 credits) on diversity and inclusion.

Actions Taken/Scheduled:

  • SUNY established the Provost’s General Education Advisory Committee. We will keep you updated on the parameters provided to campuses for this work.
     

  • The UAlbany Dean of Students will host an open forum for students on diversity in general education (see Concern 3).

Concern 2: Funding for offices that support marginalized students

Review funding to University offices that support marginalized students and make resource recommendations to increase cultural engagement and improve cultural competency for faculty, staff and students.

Actions Taken:

  • The University is developing a list of current and planned activities, programming and resource investments in this space to share with the campus community.
     

  • The Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion will examine and make recommendations on University structure, including reviewing the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Intercultural Student Engagement, Human Resources, Equity and Compliance, and other relevant areas.

Concern 3: Open forums for students to engage with University officials

Establish regular open forums where students can engage University officials about their concerns, experiences and suggestions regarding campus climate issues. Collect anonymous suggestions for improvement and feedback from students, faculty and staff on an ongoing and systematic basis.

Actions Taken/Scheduled:

  • The University will host four forums in the Campus Center Board Room this spring including:
    • Free Speech, Hate Speech & Hate Crimes

      Friday, March 6 | 11:30 am – 12:30 pm
       

    • Access to Mental Health Services for Marginalized 

      Thursday, March 26 | 6 – 7 pm
       

    • Diversity and General Educational Requirements

      Thursday, April 9 | 3 – 4 pm
       

    • Feeling Safe & Campus Safety

      Wednesday, April 15 | 1 – 2 pm
       

  • Under the existing Dialogues in Action and Conversations for Change series, additional programs are being planned to focus on cultural competency and unconscious bias.
     
    • Power and Privilege

      Friday, April 10 | 4 pm
       

  • The Office of Diversity and Inclusion will collaborate with EAP to host Cultural Competency and Implicit Bias trainings on Tuesday, March 3 (two sessions).
     
  • The Office of Diversity and Inclusion will continue to work with student groups to ensure that students are involved in the planning, attendance and evaluation of campus forums.
     

April 2020 Update

The March 6 session was moderated by Dean of Students Clay McNeill. The panelists were Dr. Jim Acker of Criminal Justice, along with University Police Chief Wiley and Deputy Chief Paul Burlingame. 

The information and discussion was great but the turnout was minimal. About seven students attended.

The last three scheduled forums were canceled due to our institutional response to COVID-19. The Dean of Students Office is exploring ways to present these topics virtually at this time. 

The Friday, April 10, “Power and Privilege” session will be rescheduled for a later date, which is yet to be determines. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion is assessing whether to deliver the session virtually or to schedule a face-to-face session when campus operations are normalized and social distancing restrictions are lifted.

Concern 4: University response to hate-related incidents

The University should respond within 48 hours of hate-related incidents, whether racially or otherwise motivated, that impact the larger campus community.

Actions Taken:

  • Campus officials are working to help the campus community understand the University’s response system and how it works.
     

  • Appropriate and uniform response systems are in place to determine how and when to recommend responding publicly on behalf of the institution.
     

  • Campus patrol staff received refresher training in these areas to ensure appropriate responses for all incidents.
     

April 2020 Update

The University Police Department has 

  • completed Implicit Bias refresher training for patrol and supervisory staff.
     

  • contacted ASUBA, EOP, JSA, SA and Residential Life to discuss establishing a Liaison Program.
     

  • organized and hosted a hate speech forum as part of a series sponsored by the Dean of Students.
     

UPD also regularly sends community messages that focus on philosophy, training and response. (Note: UPD’s Policy Manual and Annual Report — which include statistics on arrest demographics, citizen complaints, and use-of-force — are available online.

Concern 5: Culturally competent mental health professionals

Recruit, retain and support more mental health professionals who are representative of our student body in a culturally competent way.

Actions Taken:

  • The Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs has scheduled a session to discuss Counseling and Psychological Services’ (CAPS) already diverse staffing, recruitment protocol and cultural competency staff with the SA leadership and students at an upcoming open forum (see Concern #3).
     

  • The University moved Health and Counseling Services back to the main campus to benefit a broader constituency of students.
     

April 2020 Update

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and the Center for Behavioral Health Promotion and Applied Research provide clinical and prevention services on campus. 

  • A total of 46% of their professional staff members (doctoral level psychologists who are licensed for licensed eligible in New York) are from traditionally underrepresented groups. That includes two LatinX, three African- American or Black, and two Asian-American professionals.
     

  • Members of their professional staff speak English, Spanish and Mandarin.
     

  • A total of 33% of their professional staff members identify as members of the LGBTQIA community.
     

Since the move to campus, students have better access to these services and more students have been seeking services.

We now offer groups that address a range of issues, including an LGBTQ support group, a women of color empowerment group, a first-gen group and an educational and psychotherapy group. All of these groups are now offered virtually.

Concern 6: Mental health resources after hate-related incidents

Ensure the provision of additional mental health resources to students of marginalized communities after incidents of hate on campus.

Actions Taken:

  • Online training will be delivered later this year to provide faculty and staff with baseline knowledge about raising awareness of leader’s attitudes around diversity, increasing learner’s awareness of the importance and benefits of diversity within teams, and understanding the sources and impacts of one’s own unconscious/implicit biases.
     

  • Additional trainings are scheduled and a new train the trainer program was implemented to prepare trainers to deliver appropriate programs.

Concern 7: Cultural competency training for faculty and staff

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion should provide mandatory cultural competency training for all staff, faculty, University Police and administration; review periodicity of cultural competency, racial bias and de-escalation trainings and increase frequency of training, as warranted; and agree to mandate department leadership use online trainings, particularly when discriminatory complaints are filed against their staff.

Action Taken:

  • UAlbany already requires mandatory training in most of these areas and will continue to examine ways to expand such trainings.
Concern 8: Supplemental racial bias training for faculty and staff

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion should provide supplemental racial bias training for faculty and staff.

Actions Taken/Scheduled:

  • The Office of Diversity and Inclusion will host trainings in cultural competency and implicit bias. Two sessions have been scheduled for 9 to 10:30 a.m. and 1 to 2:30 p.m. March 3, 2020, in the Campus Center, Room 375, in collaboration with EAP.

  • The Office of Diversity and Inclusion will examine its training schedule to ensure it offers effective and appropriate sessions through its Conversations for Change and Dialogue in Action series.
     

April 2020 Update

A total of 133 people registered for the March 3 sessions. The sessions included faculty and staff, and touched on cultural competence, types of micro-aggressions, the importance of understanding bias and the link between cultural and bias awareness, and the inclusive search activity outlined in UAlbany’s Strategic Plan.

Concern 9: Strategic Plan for Diversity and Inclusion

Distribute and communicate broadly the University's Strategic Plan for Diversity and Inclusion; create and communicate to the University community an action plan and regular updates of implementation progress.

Action Taken:

  • In addition to posting the University’s Strategic Plan on the website, the campus diversity and inclusion plan will be posted online shortly.
     

April 2020 Update

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion has developed a campus diversity and inclusion plan. The climate committee continues to work. 

Concern 10: Independent Review Committee

Revisit and modify the role of the University’s Independent Review Committee (IRC), keep a public membership roster up-to-date, post meeting minutes publicly, establish two-year term limits and advertise/promote IRC appointment opportunities to students.

Actions Taken:

  • The University will examine its IRC charge and see if there are opportunities for student participation.
     

  • The University will share with the Student Association the University’s University Police Department process.
     

April 2020 Update

Both of the above actions have been completed.

Concern 11: Residential Life procedures and programming

Revisit Residential Life procedures and programming to ensure that students of color feel safer. Adopt fire safety procedures and equipment that are inclusive to all groups.

Actions Taken:

  • Since fire codes are governed by state rules and polices, the University will investigate if there are changes that might be suggested to the state that might discourage exclusivity.
     

  • The Diversity and Inclusion Policy Sub-committee will review the Residential Life policy for the opportunity to incorporate inclusive language.
     

April 2020 Update

There currently does not appear to be any language in the Residential Life policy regarding fire safety and small electrical hair appliances that would create an issue for some students more than others.

The Terms & Conditions of the University Residence Halls & Apartments License 2020-2021 includes the following language:

  • Fire Safety: All residents must evacuate the building when a fire alarm sounds. Failure to cooperate or to evacuate during a fire alarm; causing of a false fire alarm; inappropriate behavior which results in the activation of a fire alarm; interfering with the proper functioning of a fire alarm system; and tampering with, damaging, or removing fire hoses, extinguishers, exit lights, heat/smoke sensors, extinguisher boxes or alarm covers, or any other fire safety apparatus are strictly prohibited. The use of any open-flamed devices such as candles, sternos; incense and kerosene lamps is prohibited. Hot plates, toaster ovens, deep fryers, air fryers, waffle irons, panini presses, and standalone microwaves are also prohibited. The following are also prohibited: natural trees, wreaths, paneling, wallpaper or similar coverings, open-element, electric, or liquid-fueled (kerosene, propane, gas) space heaters, and hazardous trash accumulation. Hoverboards are also not allowed in the residence halls due to the potential fire hazard presented by the batteries in them.
     

  • Appliances  

    • Residence Halls: Air conditioners, ceiling fans, microwave ovens (with the exception of approved MicroFridges), and all other cooking appliances that have an open element or flame are prohibited. For snack preparation, the following appliances, UL approved ONLY, are permitted: pop-up toasters, closed element popcorn poppers, thermostatically controlled hot pots and rice cookers, and percolators/coffeemakers. 
       

    • University ApartmentsStudents are expected to use appliances furnished in their apartment in the appropriate manner. The student takes full responsibility for the appliances’ use and functioning during the course of their stay. Misuse, damage, and/or injury incurred by or caused by the student are the sole responsibility of the student. The student will incur appropriate charges for maintenance and upkeep as a result of damage caused by misuse or negligence. The following small kitchen appliances are permitted for use in kitchens: blenders, juicers, food processors, hand and stand mixers, food dehydrators, ice cream makers, coffee makers, toasters, toaster ovens, electric water kettles, crockpots, rice cookers, air fryers, instant pots, bread makers, waffle irons, and panini presses. Hot plates and deep fryers are not permitted. Empire Commons and Liberty Terrace apartments are equipped with microwaves. Freedom Apartments residents may possess one microwave in the kitchen; however, Freedom Apartments are not equipped with one. 
       

However, the terms and conditions do not mention small appliances such as hair tools, including blow dryers and curling irons. These items are as ubiquitous as blenders and microwaves, and could set off alarms or ignite fires.

Adding a policy that requires all hair dryers, styling irons and other small electrical hair appliances to be UL-approved, and prohibits certain items, could ensure all students are on the same page.

Concern 12: Diversity of University Council Members

Increase the diversity of the current University Council Members through specific outreach to potential members of underrepresented marginalized groups.

Actions Taken:

  • Continue to share information about the 10-member University Council Members, which includes three African American members and three female members.
     

  • When openings occur, the University will continue to support the naming of diverse members.

Concern 13: Cultural competency training for student groups

Provide mandatory cultural competency training for all student groups. This training should include, but not be limited to, a focus on racial tensions and discrimination.

Actions Taken:

  • The University will partner with the Student Organization Resource Center and the Student Association to develop additional cultural competency trainings that will complement the existing 60-minute training offered during summer and fall orientation.
     

  • The Office Diversity and Inclusion has invited the executive director of Student Involvement to participate in the cultural competency and implicit bias training scheduled for the campus community.
     

  • Intercultural Student Engagement currently provides the aforementioned 60-minute cultural competency session for all incoming students, as well as continual trainings and programs through the Multicultural Resource Center and the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center.
     

  • The Office of Student Activities and its Student Organizations Resource Center will work with Intercultural Student Engagement to develop a cultural competency training program for student organization leaders, to be completed in 2020-21. Partnership with the Student Association will be sought for this endeavor as well. Assessments will be developed to evaluate the effectiveness of the program.

Concern 14: Process for filing discrimination reports

Widely disseminate information about the process for filing discrimination reports and campus resources. Do this at the beginning of each semester in forms accessible to all students, including multiple languages and Braille.

Action Taken:

  • The University circulated via e-mail on December 17, 2019, its Statement on Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination and commits to circulating this notification at the beginning of each semester.
     

  • Effective on March 1, 2020, the Office of Equity and Compliance will schedule this notice to be sent to all students, as well as faculty and staff on February 15 and September 15 each year.
     

  • The University will also include a link to the policy on the Office of Equity and Compliance website once per semester to reach students via the weekly student TAU e-newsletter.
     

  • The policy will meet NYS and federal requirements for language and accessibility, including ensuring the email is delivered in a text format so that recipients can read and understand, regardless of whether they have a visual impairment or disability. The University, however, does not have the technology at this time to deliver these notices electronically via multiple languages, including Braille.

Concern 15: University Police Department liaisons

Establish University Police Department liaisons with multi-cultural student groups to open a direct line of communication and build a better relationship between UPD and the student body.

Action Taken:

  • UPD officials met with student representatives and discussed, among other things, coordinating social media messages, developing an FAQ, hosting coordinated joint programs and continuing efforts to meet regularly.
     

April 2020 Update

The University Police Department (UPD) has completed Implicit Bias refresher training for patrol and supervisory staff, and contacted ASUBA, EOP, JSA, SA and Residential Life to discuss establishing a Liaison Program.

A draft of the Great Dane Union UPD Liaison Program has also been created and includes this information:

Goals: 

  • To enhance students' perceptions of and familiarity with UPD Officers.
     

  • To enhance UPD officers' perceptions of and familiarity with, students.
     

  • To increase opportunities for collegiate leaders and UPD Officers to communicate and collaborate with one another/
     

Actions:

  • UAlbany will create Great Dane Union (GDU) Liaisons. Then, University Police officers will be assigned to the GDU’s three units: Campus Center Management, Intercultural Student Engagement and Student Activities.
     

  • Liaisons will work with the unit staff and related collegiate leaders to identify, create and/or increase opportunities for non-enforcement-related interactions between students — including, but not limited to, identifying ways to form stronger collaborative relationships with cultural groups.
     

  • UAlbany will identify a GDU Supervisor. Liaisons will each report to the supervisor, who will meet with GDU leadership regularly to give and receive updates on the program’s progress.
     

The University is working to create a more comprehensive program that can be more sustainable and consistent. UAlbany will establish a liaison program with the three primary units that work directly with student leaders and general students that are housed in the Campus Center: Student Activities, Intercultural Student Engagement and Campus Center Management. The University Police Department liaisons and staff in these units would meet regularly and develop a program similar to the Residential Life/UPD liaison program, where the University officers become integrated into the life of the Campus Center and student leader programs and experiences. This will enhance relationships and provide for a foundation in which more specific liaison programs with specific organizations can be built.

Concern 16: Unarmed University Police liaisons

Hire University Police Liaisons to serve as unarmed liaisons that accompany responding officers to student-related calls.

Actions Taken:

  • While the request isn’t feasible because of personal safety and legal liability, the University is working with UPD to share its community policing approach, officer training and response protocol in an open forum.
     

April 2020 Update

The University Police Department organized and hosted a hate speech forum as part of a series sponsored by the Dean of Students.

UPD also regularly sends community messages that focus on philosophy, training and response. (Note: UPD’s Policy Manual and Annual Report — which include statistics on arrest demographics, citizen complaints, and use-of-force — are available online.

Concern 17: Diversity training status of tenured professors

Make public the cultural competency and diversity training status of tenured professors. Include diversity training in tenure requirements and increase student involvement in the tenure process.

Actions Taken:

  • Each school/college climate committee will assess and determine appropriate faculty and staff training.
     

  • Encourage students to participate in faculty evaluations, as they are part of the faculty tenure process.