Olivia Silvey ’25
President of the College Joanne Berger-Sweeney and Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Anita Davis sent an email updating the campus community on Trinity College’s Task Force on Campus Climate on Wednesday, Feb. 9. The Task Force was created in fall 2020 in response to the police brutality and racism that occurred during the summer of 2020. The Task Force aims to help the College “become anti-racist and to embrace racial justice,” according to the email update.
The Task Force is comprised of multiple groups across campus including students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees, and parents. Berger-Sweeney announced the Task Force in August 2020 along with its goals: (1) review and comment on the action plans to reduce systemic racism that are begin created by different constituent groups, (2) define specific metrics to monitor campus climate, (3) engage other governance and constituent groups to bring about needed change, (4) determine the highest priorities for improving the campus climate, and (5) create a plan to communicate our recommendations and findings to the broader community.
The Task Force has recently implemented several new initiatives. One of these include reviewing action plans received from 18 constituency groups across campus. These groups include the Alumni Association, Student Government Association, and the Board of Trustees. Berger-Sweeney and Davis indicated that these action plans have been reviewed by the Task Force, and that these groups were provided with feedback.
In addition, the Task Force has developed seven focus areas which will help construct an institution-wide racial justice action plan. Davis told the Tripod that these focus areas include: (1) Representation of People of Color; (2) Racial Justice Education, History, and Reflection; (3) Mental Health and Wellness Resources; (4) Inclusive Physical and Social Spaces; (5) Policies, Practices, and Procedures; (6) Sustainable Funding and Resources; and (7) Accountability and Communication. These focus areas are currently under review and they will continue to be updated.
The Task Force has updated staff hiring procedures. Davis told the Tripod that these updates include creating job descriptions, search committee training, and recruitment. The Task Force is also reviewing past data pertaining to Trinity’s actions on racial justice.
Furthermore, Berger-Sweeney and Davis announced the Task Force is currently drafting Trinity’s institution-wide Racial Justice Plan which will be shared with the community later this spring. In addition, the Task Force will address gender inequity this spring with a review produced by the Task Force on the Status of Women (2020) and Prevention of Sexual Misconduct (2015).
When asked about the College’s plans regarding addressing the predominant whiteness on campus, Davis informed the Tripod, “White faculty, students, and staff have been, and will continue to be, a part of these conversations and involved in educational efforts that impact our campus climate and culture. Without the inclusion of White people in these efforts, progress would not be possible. We will continue to use different avenues to inform all members of the campus community about opportunities/events focusing on the campus climate.”