Taking action

By AACC 21st Century Center Staff

Beyond issuing statements on racism, some community colleges have expressed how they are taking action.

Many community colleges across the nation have issued statements in response to the killing of George Floyd last week by Minneapolis police officers, and the subsequent protests.

Some of those statements include a call to action, and some colleges and systems are engaging in discussions about racism and equity.

Virginia Community College System Chancellor Glenn DuBois announced on Wednesday that he is  immediately charging a task force to “expand their scope and place a priority emphasis on equity in all that our colleges do for students, ranging from access to completion, and beyond. This group is creating our next six-year statewide strategic plan, and I am charging them with creating both goals and measurable strategies for increasing equity across our 23 colleges.”

The group also will create goals and strategies for increasing diversity in the recruitment, hiring and retention of community college faculty, staff and administrators.

A separate panel will examine the curricula that used to educate law enforcement officers across the state’s 23 community colleges.

In California, community college leaders met virtually June 3 with state chancellor, Eloy Oakley, to discuss how the system can address structural racism and ensure communities and students have equal access to educational opportunities.

Mercer County Community College President Jianping Wang said in a June 2 statement that, in the coming days, the New Jersey college “will be working with our community partners to find ways to unite our communities and bring hope to those who need it most.”

In Masscahusetts, Mount Wachusett Community College’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Team is sponsoring a call to action dialogue for community members and leaders on “White Fragility: What is the Role and Responsibilities of an Ally?” on June 4.

At Maryland’s Montgomery College, a statement by President DeRionne Pollard affirmed the college’s commitment to build a stronger and more just community,” with goals laid out in the Montgomery College Equity and Inclusion Roadmap for Success (2020). Those goals include improving retention and completion rates of all students, particularly African American male and Latinx students; improving employee recruitment, hiring, on-boarding, development and training procedures and practices to attract and retain a diverse workforce to include leaders, managers, faculty, and staff; and fostering a college culture of equity, inclusion, civility, accessibility, kindness, trust and respect for human dignity through targeted programs, activities and educational opportunities.

How is your college addressing issues of racism and equity? Sound off at LinkedIn.

AACC 21st Century Center Staff

is a contributor to the 21st-Century Center.