Make IMSA an Equitable Environment for Black People

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We, the Black IMSA community, have hurt in silence for too long. The experiences detailed on the @BlackatISMA Instagram page show that the racism that Black students have been subjected to while attending IMSA is not only long-standing, but also truly unacceptable. In light of the current social and political climate, we as a community need to be heard and we demand a change so that no Black student has to go through what we went through during our time at IMSA.

The following non negotiable demands have been separated into two lists: preventative action and reactive action.

Preventative

I. Include definitions for both bias incidents and hate crimes in the Equity and Excellence Policy. Base the definitions off of those created by the University of Louisville, Pride Legal, and Goucher College. 

II. Use the aforementioned definitions to properly distinguish between incidents that occur that involve racial bias versus racially charged actions or expressions done with malicious intent to demean, intimidate, belittle, or harm others. Those who commit hate crimes should be immediately removed from IMSA. Those guilty of committing bias incidents should be required to complete courses or training regarding anti-racism for a semester as well as face a weeklong suspension period.

III. Ban racist paraphernalia from the residence halls, such as items with racially derogatory images or slurs.

IV. Revamp all current curriculum so that it encompasses the experiences of Black people to the same degree as white people. Additionally, there should be mandatory courses that encompass the history of oppression, cultural literacy, Black History, Indigenous History, and LGBTQ+ History.

V. Actively recruit and hire Black and Latinx faculty for core courses (STEM, Social Science, English/Literature), with the goal of at least 15% of IMSA’s faculty being Black and 15% of IMSA’s faculty being Latinx within 3 years. Due to systemic racism creating lack of access to higher educational opportunities, recruitment efforts should include those with less formal education than IMSA’s typical faculty members. Tuition support for higher educational attainment should be provided to incentivize recruitment efforts.

VI. Require annual anti-racism and cultural competency training for all individuals of the IMSA community. This training should specifically speak to how they can support Black, IPOC, and queer/trans individuals.

VII. Set protocols to prevent faculty erroneously nominating students for judicial review.

VIII. Actively recruit Black IMSA alumni and other Black professionals to participate as SIR advisors, and actively encourage Black and Latinx students to participate by working to pair them with Black professionals.

IX. Recruit and hire Black, Latinx, and other underrepresented people of color to work in each student support role, including but not limited to: CAC, mental health counselor, and nurse. 

X. Invite representation from more HBCUs to the IMSA college fair and create an intersession that is an HBCU/HSI tour.

XI. Institute a mentorship program pairing Black students with Black alumni, with support for monthly events for mentorship on IMSA, college, and future career interests.

XII. Have at least three mental health counselors on campus.

XIII. Foster a welcoming and inclusive environment within the Parent Advisory Council (PAC) which promotes the participation of parents of color.

Reactive

I. There should be a zero tolerance policy for faculty and staff who are dismissive and discriminatory towards Black students. Any claims against them should be investigated by an outside contractor and anyone found guilty should be immediately dismissed from IMSA.

II. Foster transparency to parents of students by requiring that they be notified of a bias incident or hate crime within 48 hours.

III. Invite parents to participate in town halls led by the Parent Advisory Council (PAC) about racially charged incidents. Also make available recordings for all town halls and assemblies about racially charged incidents to parents. 

IV. Allow Black students to take up to three stress days after a hate crime or bias incident occurs and allow them to make up any missed work or exams due to these stress days.

V. Create transparency surrounding the numbers about dropouts at IMSA (race, gender, year in school, etc.).

VI. Publicize progress on meeting these demands on a monthly basis with supporting evidence.

In the case that IMSA is unable to meet any of these demands, we demand that IMSA makes a public response explaining the explicit rationale for their non-compliance.

The Black IMSA community believes that these demands are a first step towards IMSA creating a safe and equitable environment for Black people. We look forward to a continued partnership between the IMSA administration and the Black IMSA community.