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Petitioning President Michael Fitts & Tulane University Administration

Tulane Black Student Union's List of Demands

November 2015

After the recent (and continuous) events of racism, micro-aggression, marginalization, and neglect of Black students on Tulane’s Campus, Tulane’s Black Student Union, with the assistance of SOAR, has come up with the following List of Concerns to be addressed by and met by the administration of Tulane and President Michael Fitts. We would want to work collaboratively and in a transparent effort to create an effective mechanism to address these issues. Failure to address these concerns in a timely manner will result in further student unrest.

RECRUITMENT/ MARKETING:

Admissions

We are concerned that Tulane University has not taken the steps necessary to make itself attractive to the many talented and qualified Students of Color who attend college each year. Tulane University should:

Recruit in accessible locations that Students of Color can attend
Hire Student of Color staff to the admissions recruitment team
Increase efforts to recruit from New Orleans and regional High Schools beyond Posse and College Track programs (i.e. Upward Bound)
Develop Student of Color financial aid and scholarship programs.
Including an emergency fund to support first-generation, low-income, and undocumented students.
Increase numbers of Students of Color as Greenwave ambassadors to do campus tours.
We are concerned with the fact that many administrators, specifically admissions, refer predominantly to Tulane’s diversity being geographic.  

We do not support the continued use the phrase “geographical diversity” and the constant pursuit of such racial minority exclusive phrasing to minimize the detrimental lack of racial and class diversity.


EDUCATION:

Courses

As an educational institution, we expect Tulane to make use of current faculty and hire additional faculty to teach classes that will address the structural racism that that exists on and off campus.

Trainings

We are concerned that faculty, staff, and students lack a basic understanding of what racism is and how it manifests on a daily basis. Tulane could address this by expecting that all faculty, staff and students receive basic cultural competency training in the form of the Undoing Racism Workshop

All faculty, staff, and students should be required to have basic understanding of racism by attending an Undoing Racism training in their first year at Tulane; all other staff should be required to attend this Workshop within one year.


Service Learning

Given that Tulane University mandates that all students enter the city of New Orleans to learn from its residents while providing service, we are concerned that the students of Tulane are not properly educated to work across racial and class differences.  

Tulane should fulfill its ideological commitment to the city of New Orleans by providing all students with appropriate and practical skills about the city before entering its communities.
 

SUPPORT SERVICES:

Africana Studies

We are concerned that Tulane University does not value the Africana Studies program, one of the main units on campus that is dedicated to teaching about race and issues of racism. We expect Tulane University to demonstrate a commitment to ending racism on campus by supporting these academic programs that research and teach about these issues.

Africana Studies should be a department, not a program, with appropriate resources to teach about the significance of race, racism, and the African diaspora.


The O

We are concerned that Tulane University has not appropriately allocated resources to the Office of Multicultural Affairs, one of the main locations on campus where marginalized students feel supported. Currently there is little space and few staff members to support over 22 different communities of students on campus.

The O should have at least one dedicated staff member who conducts trainings for the entire university throughout the year.
The O should receive funding for 4 full-time staff members with at least 2 of those positions being entry-level.
The O should have increased physical space to hold the different communities it supports

Continuing Studies

We are concerned that Tulane University actively discriminates against students in the School of Continuing Studies by disallowing them from participating in key communities—Housing and Residence Life and Reily Recreation Center.  

Tulane should demonstrate its commitment to inclusivity by ensuring that students enrolled in Continuing Studies, many of whom are Students of Color, can have equal opportunities as those who live on campus.
 

ACCOUNTABILITY

We are concerned that Tulane students are not held accountable for creating a racist and hostile climate. The Institution should support its Black students and Students of Color by condemning actions that are not conducive to the values that the University claims to stand for, i.e. “equality, diversity, and inclusion”

Students who post hate-speech, threaten members of one race, or post racial slurs such as the ones found on Yik Yak on any form of social media should be investigated and held accountable for their actions by the University.
Greek organization parties such as Old South and Dranksgiving that encourage exclusion, appropriation, and racism should not be tolerated by Tulane.
The administration must begin to include questions about the racial climate of classrooms in course evaluations, and develop a bias reporting system on racial discrimination with an annual report on the state of race relations on campus to be released to the entire Tulane community.
The administration must undertake the development of racial competence and difference training as well as accountability systems for all Tulane affiliates with the assistance of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, and its student leaders.
 

PERSONNEL ISSUES

Recruiting, Hiring, and Retention Practices

We are concerned that Tulane does not have a commitment to recruiting, hiring and retaining Black faculty, staff, and administrators. The majority of people of color who work on Tulane’s campus are in service positions, serving our food, cleaning our dorms, processing paperwork. The majority of people in decision-making and faculty positions are white. Tulane should demonstrate their commitment to inclusivity by hiring a diversity of faculty, staff, and administrators.

Students of color and Black students in particular, should be on hiring committees for all high level administrative positions (including, but not limited to: the provost, admissions, athletics, continuing studies, deans, and the new Chief of Police).
The following areas, which lack diversity, must be diversified: admissions, CAPS, and financial aid.

Treatment of Staff and Color

We are concerned that Tulane University actively discriminates against service workers on its campus by denying them the benefits that other staff and faculty are given. Tulane does not offer a tuition waiver to the people who keep the school running.  

Tulane should demonstrate its commitment to race and class diversity by:  
equally offering tuition waivers to all the people who work full time at the University, including DTZ and Sodexo Workers
Allowing DTZ and Sodexo workers to ride the University shuttles to and from work.
We are concerned that Tulane University regularly enters into contracts that promote systematic racism and class barriers. We believe Tulane could make a different choice in terms of how it allocates resources and negotiates with contractors.

As the largest employer of the residents of New Orleans, employees who are predominantly Black and Latino, Tulane University should demonstrate its commitment to equity by ensuring that contract workers are paid a true living wage.

 

 

 

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