Universities implement mandatory anti-racism training for students, faculty

Universities across America have implemented anti-racism training, required on certain campuses.

Some have even promised to change existing curricula to be more race-focused.

Universities around the country are implementing courses, modules, and training procedures to educate faculty and students about the supposed prevalence of racism in the United States and on their individual campuses.

A few of the universities involved with these new anti-racism modules include the University of Colorado-Boulder, Bates College, Duke University, Marymount Manhattan College, Texas A&M, Harvard University, and Framingham State University.

In some cases, the completion of anti-racism training and modules will be mandatory as a new addition to the university’s curriculum.

One college to present such training is the University of Colorado-Boulder. An announcement from Chancellor Phillip DiStefano revealed the school is currently in the process of “developing a CU 101 anti-racism module for first-year students.”

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DiStefano notes that this module was designed in order to explore, “the toxicity of racism in U.S. history, U.S. life and at CU Boulder and delves into ways to act against it in our daily lives on and off-campus.” When it comes to staff at the University of Colorado-Boulder, the university intends to include a “mandatory bystander training” for staff to recognize and call out racism on campus.

“The module is still in development, and our intention is to have it available to students by fall 2020,”  media relations spokesperson for the University of Colorado Boulder Deborah Mendez-Wilson told Campus Reform.

“Current university policy requires all faculty, staff, student employees and other affiliates to complete training on Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct every three years,” said Mendez-Wilson, adding that “this training is led by our Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC) with the purpose of educating our community about federal Title IX regulations, federal and state anti-discrimination laws and university policies. 

“Our goal is to ensure that all who come to our campus are afforded a safe, welcoming and productive campus environment so they can achieve their academic and career goals,” Mendez-Wilson added, while also noting that “CU Boulder was the first university in the nation to introduce mandatory bystander intervention training to all incoming students, and we are proud of that milestone.”

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“Our bystander intervention trainings provide students with effective social skills and coping mechanisms to intercede safely and effectively when a friend or another person is the target of harassment, discriminatory behavior or other interpersonal violence.” Finally, she concluded by stating that, “this year, this training will be integrated into existing mandatory online training on discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct, and in-person, skill-building workshops will be expanded for faculty and staff.”

A letter from Bates College President Clayton Spencer outlines similar procedures. Under the section specifically addressing racial equality training on campus, the president describes that anti-racism training has already been a part of training for several staff members. However, Bates intends to expand the training with the ultimate goal being, “to make racial equity training available to all staff and faculty over the next two years and thereafter on an ongoing basis.”

Duke University issued a similar statement announcing that it will make both students and staff take mandatory anti-racism training.

Duke plans to, “incorporate anti-racism into our curricula and programs across the university, requiring that every Duke student—in undergraduate, graduate and professional programs—learns of the nature of structural racism and inequity, with special focus on our own regional and institutional legacies.”

Duke also promised to “require anti-racism and anti-bias training for every member of our faculty, student body, and staff in an effort to foster a more inclusive environment for all members of the Duke community.”

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Marymount Manhattan College has made similar announcements, promising that “MMC and the faculty commit to strengthening and expanding the anti-racist learning experience in all academic divisions, and to identifying and implementing ways to decenter Eurocentric curricula.”

MMC plans to develop a program whereupon it can track the progress of racial equality on its campus.

“MMC commits to developing and sharing specific metrics to track progress and help ensure the effectiveness of our efforts.”

President Michael Young of Texas A&M also wrote a letter addressing racial concerns on campus.

His letter includes details regarding university plans to have anti-racism policies up and running for the upcoming fall semester.

An “evidence-based module,” developed by the Office of Diversity, will include, “anti-discrimination bystander intervention training.” This is in order, “to educate and train our campus community to step in to stand up against racism and to foster a positive climate.” Associate Vice President of the Division of Marketing and Communications at Texas A&M Kelly Brown told Campus Reform that “the task force is still in the stage of being created.”

Framingham State University will implement “a central training focus” for the fall semester developed by its Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement, with sessions focusing “on understanding racial trauma, engaging in conversations about race, and understanding white privilege and fragility.”

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