Syracuse University Taking Further Efforts to Improve Campus Climate for Black Students

Syracuse University was embroiled in controversy during the fall semester. The student newspaper at the university reported that recently “at least 10 hate crimes or bias-related incidents have been reported on or near campus.” (See JBHE post.)

The university announced that it would take steps to improve the campus climate for African American students who make up 6 percent of the student body and students from other underrepresented groups. Recently, the university announced initiatives aimed at increasing the racial diversity of its faculty.

Now the university has announced further efforts to address the campus climate.

  • A Special Committee on University Climate, Diversity and Inclusion has been formed by the board of trustees to assess and provide recommendations regarding programs, policies, and initiatives designed to foster and strengthen diversity and inclusion at the university.
  • Interim steps have been taken to address space issues for multicultural students, including the recently opened space in 550 Bird Library, which will be used as a study lounge and a meeting and convening space.
  • More than 110 students, representing a broad array of student groups and organizations, volunteered to serve on the Campus Engagement Committees. Nearly 300 faculty and staff have also signed up.
  • The university has allocated an additional $5.6 million for diversity and inclusion initiatives to address the commitments made by the university, with 16 new staff members added to work on new and improved diversity programming.
  • Funding has been allocated to double the capacity for the Students of Color Leadership Retreat and to create an International Students Leadership Retreat.

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