DIVERSIFY CSUN PROFESSORS

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Dear President Dr. Erika D. Beck, Provost Mary Beth Walker, and Faculty President Michael Neubauer,

As racial justice movements continue to enact change across the country, we believe the time has come to DIVERSIFY CSUN PROFESSORS. We, CSUN students and community members, are writing to demand that you expand the diversity of the tenure and tenure-track faculty at California State University, Northridge. According to data provided by CSUN’s Office of Institutional Research, the current demographics of the tenure and tenure-track faculty is not representative of the student body. In 2020, the university employed 805 tenure and tenure-track faculty, and 56.9% of those individuals were White. Meanwhile, 68.2% of students identified as racial-ethnic minorities (e.g. Asian American, Latinx, African American). From 2010 to 2020, the population of Latinx students increased by nearly 23%. As a result, in 2020, there is 1 Latinx professor for every 233 Latinx students, compared to 1 White professor for every 18 White students. Further, from 2010 to 2020, CSUN had a total net gain of one African-American professor. 

On Friday, February 5th, Colored Minds spoke with CSUN's Chief Diversity Officer Natalie Mason-Kinsey about the current petition. We proposed pathways that we believe the University could take to Diversify CSUN Professors. For example, we proposed procedures to the search process that included a diverse pool of candidates and a diverse search committee as well as a post-doctoral teaching program. CDO Mason-Kinsey informed us that the pathways we were inquiring about were out of her reach, which we anticipated. We want to thank CDO Mason-Kinsey for taking the time to meet with us. We are now demanding a meeting with CSUN Provost Mary Beth Walker to further discuss the search process as it relates to hiring tenure and tenure-track faculty. 

The statistics mentioned in the first paragraph demonstrate unsustainable progress and we believe that key stakeholders like Faculty President Michael Neubauer, the Latinx Faculty and Staff Group, and the CSUN Black Faculty and Staff Association should be present during the meeting between Colored Minds and Provost Mary Beth Walker. This meeting could serve as a strategic point between students, faculty, and the administration to converge efforts to Diversify CSUN professors. 

President Erika D. Beck, our organization, which is mainly comprised of CSUN students, is calling on you to consider a post-doctoral teaching program. We are proposing a teaching program at CSUN where postdocs (and potentially Ph.D. candidates) can teach two classes a year and gain real work experience in a department. This program is intended to emulate the Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Program. The Pre-Doctoral Program is designed to increase the diversity of the pool of potential faculty by supporting the doctoral aspirations of CSU students. Awards are based on the judgment of a review panel, demonstrating academic excellence while experiencing economic or educational disadvantage, as well as a commitment to a career in teaching and research at the college or university level. We are advocating for something similar, but instead of a CSU-wide pre-doctoral program, a CSUN-specific post-doctoral program. A program of this scale would not happen overnight but would be invaluable to students of color in the College of Engineering and Computer Science, and College of Business and Economics. Currently, these Colleges have the least amount of faculty of color.

The university is responsible for developing the minds of racial-ethnic minorities that will become leaders in our communities and cities. Without a complete opportunity to learn about our chosen fields from someone with a lived experience of what it means to be a racial-ethnic minority in the United States, we feel an extreme disservice is being done to racial-ethnic minority students, as well as racial majority students. This is especially true considering that representation influences how racial-ethnic minorities see themselves and how they are viewed by society. We will only have a fully informed and well-rounded education if we have more diverse perspectives available to learn from. We demand more of these crucial voices to be added to our tenure and tenure-track faculty.

***If you are a CSUN student, alumni, faculty, community member, please be sure to include your name/class/department in the comment***