Quinnipiac University Introduces Plan to Advance Racial Justice 


Hephzibah Rajan, Associate Producer for Q30 Newscast

Quinnipiac University is utilizing a 10-step plan to educate students, faculty, and staff on racial inequality in the United States. 

‘Quinnipiac’s Action to Advance Racial Justice’ is a newly announced 10-point plan of action to develop inclusiveness, equality and anti-racism within the university’s community.

Over the last few weeks faculty, staff and students assembled through various platforms to share their experiences of racial prejudice at Quinnipiac.

Just recently, the university hosted a town hall session on June 24 to discuss racism on campus and ways to combat it. The panel discussed “inclusive excellence” and how it will be better enforced within the Quinnipiac community, how to report racist behaviors, and things faculty and staff can do better to ensure all students are safe. 

This plan was announced on July 6 by President Judy Olian in an email sent to the Quinnipiac community. According to the email, the university compiled pledges and ideas from faculty and student groups to construct the plan.

“We still haven’t seen much or heard much as far as implementation…” said Andrew DePass, who will be a senior this fall. “So really being able to see how they plan to implement these changes, meaning dates, finances publicly released so that students can go ahead and be critical of [the] administration, that’s going to be very important going forward.”

The following is the 10-point plan of action that was sent out:

  1. We will begin an immediate curriculum review to increase learning about the roots and contemporary manifestations of social injustice, privilege, oppression and the drivers of social change. We will expand across the university the types of reviews initiated by Dwayne Boucaud and Amber Kelly in the School of Health Sciences, and Hillary Haldane and Robert Yawson in the University Curriculum. We will aim for proposed changes this academic year.  
  2. We will establish a clear and readily accessible system to report bias incidents. Eradicating racism and racist behavior begins with holding each other accountable. People who witness, or are themselves the targets of, racist words or actions need a place to report these experiences. We will create and educate the community about this reporting process and ensure that our system includes efficient investigation and fair decision-making to build a safe and welcoming community for all. 
  3. We will add student training on diversity, equity and inclusion beginning this fall. All students will be required to complete annual training exploring the roots of racism, and actions to counter discrimination in society and in their own behaviors. In addition to online training, in-person sessions will be offered throughout the year and facilitated by members of the Department of Cultural and Global Engagement.
  4. We will monitor compliance and expand mandatory training for faculty and staff across the entire university beyond the existing “Harassment and Discrimination” and “Managing Bias” online training. This will include in-person training within schools and units focusing on contemporary manifestations of racism and bias. This training will also work to build skills in facilitating and participating in difficult conversations. 
  5. We will enhance access to data describing Quinnipiac’s diversity. We will expand the demographic data about our faculty, staff and student representation published on the university’s website. This will include data tracking progress on key diversity metrics, including faculty and staff advancement by rank and level.
  6. We will expand affinity groups for faculty and staff on campus and offer alumni the opportunity to build affinity groups for people of color. This will further amplify the voices of diverse groups on campus and in our alumni community. 
  7. We will improve policies and practices to enhance the pipeline and retention of under-represented faculty, staff and students. This will include mandatory training and approval requirements for search committees to ensure more diverse candidate pools; openness to non-traditional candidate profiles; expansion of mentoring and development opportunities for faculty, staff and students of color; recruitment from more diverse high schools and community colleges; and greater diversification of our health services and student support professionals.
  8. We will complete a review, and appropriately acknowledge, the Indigenous people of the land of this region who are Quinnipiac’s namesake. We will continue work that has been guided by the Akomawt Educational Initiative to honor the legacy of the Indigenous people who lived here, to include refining the “Legend of the Bobcat” read at various events with a more appropriate representation of Quinnipiac’s roots and the development of a land acknowledgment statement.
  9. We will increase university funding and attract philanthropy to augment resources for the Department of Cultural and Global Engagement. This will fund many of the initiatives noted above as well as future projects developed in partnership with members of our community.
  10. We will work with students and faculty to drive voter registration and participation. Exercising one’s voting rights is the embodiment of enlightened citizenry and a cornerstone of our strategic plan, and holds elected leaders accountable for changes that are needed.

Professor Khalilah Brown-Dean will serve as the senior director for inclusive excellence. Vice President for Equity and Inclusion, Don Sawyer, will partner with her to ensure that the plan goes into effect.

“We will continue to include our students, faculty, staff and alumni in these critical discussions to ensure that your voices are heard and that we persist in achieving ambitious change,” Olian stated in the email.

Further information on the implementation of these ten initiatives will be provided to students and faculty along with methods to measure progress.