Recently the Black Student Experience Task Force at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta presented its recommendations to university President G.P. Peterson on how to promote equity and inclusion on campus. Dr. Peterson has approved all the recommendations. As a result, the university has announced 11 steps it is taking over the next three years to improve the campus climate for Black students.
John Stein, dean of students, stated that “while the task force was formed at the start of 2015 fall semester following allegations that several Black female students were racially harassed on two separate occasions on campus, the group’s charge was to examine the broader issues of climate and culture at Georgia Tech.”
The new initiatives fall into four main categories:
- Physical spaces
- Planning and assessment
Among the new initiatives is a major expansion of the Office of Minority Educational Development program for incoming students. OMED offers a five-week summer program geared toward helping students from underrepresented groups make the transition to college. Other initiatives include new orientation programs for students and training programs for faculty and staff relating to diversity issues. Also, Georgia Tech will create safe spaces on campus for Black students so that there will always be a place they can go to find support.
President Peterson stated that “diversity is a community value at Georgia Tech, and embracing different perspectives is critical to the success and vitality of our campus community. These recommendations will help us enhance a culture of close collaboration, global perspective, and intercultural respect.”