Institutional Equity and Anti-racism at PLU

At the June 17 University Assembly for faculty and staff, Vice President Joanna Royce-Davis shared a set of seven actions the university will take next to “make sustainable change in the experience of our community for our members who experience marginalization.”

Words without action are empty, and compromise our mission and our moral and ethical obligation to each other and to our students. Action, along with accountability, truth, healing, and change, are core to our life together moving forward.

This is a dialogue that requires us to sit together in our humanity, and, for those of us who participate in whiteness—myself included—to hear, hold, and be accountable for the harm that white supremacy at PLU has perpetuated for our Black colleagues and students and colleagues and students of color as a whole, and that we have allowed it to perpetuate… Even as we grapple with an uncertain financial situation and the impact of COVID-19, this is and has to be our central work, as it is inseparable from the other two.

Seven Actions
  1. Ensure that PLU leadership, supervisors, and community members are equipped and resourced to participate in anti-racist work at the university.Three specific commitments support this action:
    • Schedule and actively participate in equity training and executive D&I coaching for the President’s Council.
    • Establish and prioritize a university-wide training program on issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion for all PLU community members.
    • Revive the leadership-development program for supervisors across the university, which includes bias training and purposeful anti-racist and cultural responsive development.
  2. Embed equity-minded practices in decision-making processes across the university.
  3. Focus hiring on the priority of actively diversifying PLU’s faculty and staff and on addressing gaps in care and necessary structural support for our students, staff, and faculty of color.
  4. Create a culture of “critical” care and wellness at PLU that interrupts the “culture of busy,” which reflects and maintains many dynamics of white-supremacist culture.
  5. Revise program-review procedures so that units are held accountable to equity-minded practices as a central aspect of program evaluation, and complete a community-engaged Campus Safety Program Review in Fall 2020.
  6. Continue to critically examine, undo, and co-construct anew policies and practices that currently have—and have had—a disproportionate and harmful impact on Black and Brown students, staff, and faculty.
  7. Continue to evaluate, update, and revise curricula for Black and Brown students to see and experience themselves in learning and in the community at PLU, and to decenter whiteness as a default in on-campus life.

Vice President Royce-Davis: “These initial seven actions acknowledge the substantive work to be done and the need for it to permeate all aspects of our living and learning together.” Expect to see these actions and their related accountability metrics publicly available to you in the Diversity & Inclusion Strategic Plan this fall as we assess our progress and revisit the actions needed to make sustainable change.