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University Partnership on Critical Issues Defined by Black Student Leaders

In spring 2020, in light of increased social unrest, the administration reached out to Black students to be in community with them. They have met together frequently since then. In fall 2020, the group of Black student leaders prioritized critical issues and goals, based on four years of research and current issues, and partnered with the administration to address them. The administration appreciates the students’ work and plans to provide regular updates while moving forward to address the issues identified, clarify requests, and examine institutional processes and policies. Some issues pose more challenges to implementation than others, but in all cases, the university will continue to work with students to understand the genesis of the concern and propose actionable solutions together. This page will be updated to include a timeline.

There is, of course, additional work that needs to happen; this is part of an ongoing effort to make our community TerrapinSTRONG. While this group is dedicated to addressing anti-Black racism, we also remain focused on advocating for social justice for any member of our Terrapin family who faces inequities and bias.

The critical issues identified below are the most salient concerns and priority issues the student leaders want the university to address. Students made recommendations for a campus response with the understanding that each will need to be reviewed with the responsible office(s). The process for review will be iterative, consultative, and will involve students, faculty and staff.

Invited Student Organizations

Afrochique at University of Maryland

Black Honors Caucus

Ethiopian & Eritrean Students Association

Multicultural Greek Council

Student Success Leadership Council

Charles R. Drew Pre-Health Society

African Student Association

African Students Progressive Action Committee

Alliance for Diversity in Science and Engineering

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated

Black Business Association

Black Engineers Society

Black Graduate Student Union

Black Terps Matter

Black Students in Public Policy

Caribbean Students Association

Code: Black

Diazporic Dance Team

Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated

Maryland Association of Black Journalists

NAACP

National Association of Black Accountants

National Council of Negro Women

National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers

National Pan-Hellenic Council

Political Power Project

Riddim Ryderz

ROOTS Africa

SGA Diversity Leader

Society of African American Studies

Somali Students Association

The Black Student Union

The Star Strutters

UMSuccess

Action Progress

Last Updated

25 Total Recommendations

18 Completed/Sustained Commitment Recommendations

7 In Progress Recommendations

Some issues pose more challenges to implementation than others, but in all cases, the university will continue to work with students to understand the genesis of the concern and propose actionable solutions together.

Critical Issues and Student Recommendations

Critical Issue #1

Increase the number of Black faculty, staff, teaching assistants, administrators, and advisors at the university.

Responsible University Partner

  • Office of the Provost

Action Status

Sustained Commitment

Last Updated
Increase the number of Black faculty, staff, teaching assistants, administrators, and advisors at the university.

We have clearly communicated to all departments that increasing diversity among faculty, staff and students is a priority and are developing financial incentives to enable us to compete with other employers. Our goal is to be a clear leader among AAU universities in the diversity of our faculty, staff and student body. The university has continued to seek out and make offers to underrepresented faculty. [Sustained Commitment]

We have initiated Faculty Advancement at Maryland for Inclusive Learning and Excellence (FAMILE), a diversity initiative aimed at increasing the number of underrepresented tenured or tenure-track faculty at the university. The total commitment by the university with matching funds from the Deans is estimated at more than $40M over the next 10 years. Since this program started in March 2021, there have been 17 proposals and 4 direct hires, with several hires pending. [Sustained Commitment]

Critical Issue #2

Making racial bias training mandatory for all students, faculty, staff, administrators, health professionals, and student organizations. Training should include history of racial bias, impacts of racial trauma, and critical examinations how racism impacts one's life and their counterparts.

Responsible University Partners

  • Office of the President
  • Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion

Action Status

Sustained Commitment

Last Updated
Making racial bias training mandatory for all students, faculty, staff, administrators, health professionals, and student organizations. Training should include history of racial bias, impacts of racial trauma, and critical examinations how racism impacts one's life and their counterparts.

The TerrapinSTRONG onboarding program has been developed and officially launched in July 2021 for new faculty and staff and August 2021 for students. The onboarding program includes resources in bias incident reporting, counseling services and additional resources for BIPOC. [Sustained Commitment]

In addition, the Office of Diversity & Inclusion (ODI) is: working with the Diversity Education Task Force to provide content focused on racial bias for incorporation into courses; working with Faculty Affairs and other units on implicit bias training; and sponsoring a series of anti-racism teach-ins featuring faculty, staff and students. [Sustained Commitment]

Critical Issue #3

Reevaluate and reduce the excessive funding to UMPD publicly. Redistribute these funds and resources to Black organizations on campus, Nyumburu Cultural Center, and the African American studies department.

Responsible University Partner

  • Office of the President

Action Status

In Progress

Last Updated
Reevaluate and reduce the excessive funding to UMPD publicly. Redistribute these funds and resources to Black organizations on campus, Nyumburu Cultural Center, and the African American studies department.

President Pines established the University of Maryland Task Force on Community Policing to provide recommendations to enhance public safety and community policing that help the UMD campus move toward more collaborative and trusting partnerships between our public safety officials and the university community. Recommendations from the Task Force on Community Policing are expected to begin implementation during the 2021-22 academic year. [In Progress]

Critical Issue #4

Immediate response to hate speech or actions from the university including a consequence (e.g: mark on the transcript or potential suspension)

Responsible University Partners

  • Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion
  • Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs

Action Status

In Progress

Last Updated
Immediate response to hate speech or actions from the university including a consequence (e.g: mark on the transcript or potential suspension)

When threatening and intimidating action takes place, the university will seek to impose sanctions and involve the Office of Student Conduct, Office of Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct, or University of Maryland Police Department, as appropriate. The Division of Student Affairs (DSA) has formed a work group with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) to review DSA policies and protocols involving bias and hate incidents and work to establish common language amongst all DSA departments. The work group has established three main goals: to create a common language and protocol guide, to be proactive in educating the UMD campus community, and to create a free speech tool kit. DSA will communicate with Academic Affairs to keep them informed of the development of our policies to aim for uniformity. [In Progress]

Critical Issue #5

Increase the number of BIPOC counselors represented within the Counseling Center and Health Center, especially those with experiences with discrimination.

Responsible University Partner

  • Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs

Action Status

Sustained Commitment

Last Updated
Increase the number of BIPOC counselors represented within the Counseling Center and Health Center, especially those with experiences with discrimination.

The Counseling and Health Centers have always been intentional in keeping diversity considerations central to any hiring decisions. The staff at the centers are diverse in terms of ethnic backgrounds, cultural backgrounds, sexual identities, gender identities, and other aspects of diversity. [Sustained Commitment]

A mental health proposal calling for the hiring of additional staff has been submitted. Diversity considerations will, as always, be central to any additional hirings. [In Progress]

Critical Issue #6

Prioritizing minority enrollment by doubling the current enrollment of Black students from Prince George’s County and DC by 2025.

Responsible University Partner

  • Office of the Provost

Action Status

Sustained Commitment

Last Updated
Prioritizing minority enrollment by doubling the current enrollment of Black students from Prince George’s County and DC by 2025.

Recruiting and retaining a diverse student body is a top priority for the university. The University of Maryland has implemented many new efforts and programs to build strong partnerships with Prince George's County and Washington DC to recruit Black students. Some of these programs include the Maryland Ascent Program, College Access Conference, Prince George's County Office of College Readiness, Maryland Incentive Awards, and EDGE Overnight Stay Program. UMD has fostered relationships with community-based organizations throughout the region to host college readiness workshops throughout the year. The Maryland Promise Program, made possible by the A. James and Alice B. Clark Foundation, offers scholarship support to students who exhibit strong academic and leadership potential. The only students outside of Maryland who are eligible are those from Washington, DC, demonstrating the university's commitment to supporting students from our neighboring city. [Sustained Commitment]

Critical Issue #7

Create a Black career center (in Nyumburu or a new center) to better expose Black students to scholarships, conferences, and internships that value Black people.

Responsible University Partner

  • Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs

Action Status

Sustained Commitment

Last Updated
Create a Black career center (in Nyumburu or a new center) to better expose Black students to scholarships, conferences, and internships that value Black people.

The Career Center continues to convene diversity, equity and inclusion partners on campus to gather input on what is needed to improve our career resources for Black students, and have engaged the Black Student Union and Black Alliance Network in these discussions as well. We have also established regular meetings on this topic with Black student leaders. There are several existing career programs that can be coordinated with Nyumburu, such as the Working While Black series. We are also in the early stages of planning additional programming based on other feedback we have received, including engaging parents, creating student liaison roles from selected student organizations and forming a student advisory board. We will continue to work on coordinated efforts that will lead to actionable items to enhance engagement with Black students related to career opportunities. Partners for those efforts include MICA, OMSE, IAP, AAP, Nyumburu, Student Success Initiative, Black Honors Caucus, and Center for Minorities in Engineering. [Sustained Commitment]

Critical Issue #8

Memorialize 1st Lt. Richard Collins III with a physical memorial in a visible location where all of the UMD community can participate in his remembrance.

Responsible University Partner

  • Office of the President

Action Status

In Progress

Last Updated
Memorialize 1st Lt. Richard Collins III with a physical memorial in a visible location where all of the UMD community can participate in his remembrance.

In Progress. In collaboration with the Collins family, a permanent location for the physical memorial of Lt. Collins on UMD's campus has been chosen, in close proximity to the bus stop where his life was taken.

Critical Issue #9

Holding the administration accountable and ensuring transparency in following through on these demands along with the initiatives President Pines is taking in order to create equity for our Black community

Responsible University Partners

  • Office of the Provost
  • Office of the President

Action Status

Completed

Last Updated
Holding the administration accountable and ensuring transparency in following through on these demands along with the initiatives President Pines is taking in order to create equity for our Black community

We created this public resource to provide updates on all of these critical issues. The website went live in March 2021. [Completed]

Critical Issue #10

Create an oversight committee that evaluates and sanctions faculty members who have allegedly taken part in any discriminatory behavior towards undergraduate and graduate students

Responsible University Partner

  • Office of the Provost

Action Status

Completed

Last Updated
Create an oversight committee that evaluates and sanctions faculty members who have allegedly taken part in any discriminatory behavior towards undergraduate and graduate students

Under current campus policies, allegations of discrimination by faculty are investigated and adjudicated by the Office of Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct (OCRSM), and allegations of hate bias by faculty are handled by the Office of Faculty Affairs, pursuant to the University's Policy of Threatening and Intimidating Conduct, which is overseen by the Office of Diversity & Inclusion (ODI). Just as students are, faculty can be sanctioned only after a process that comports with due process and the First Amendment. In addition, just as student dicipline matters are privacy protected, faculty sanctions are also protected as confidential personnel matters. An oversight committee to evaluate and monitor faculty discriminatory behavior is inconsistent and unnecessarily duplicative of these established processes and procedures, which were approved by our University Senate after input from students, faculty and staff. [Completed]

Critical Issue #11

Creating more spaces on campus for Black students (such as the Black Engineers Society Lounge in the Engineering Building) so that they are not only relegated to Nyumburu by default (especially for LGBT Black students). These spaces will be non-discriminatory.

Responsible University Partners

  • Office of the Provost
  • Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs

Action Status

In Progress

Last Updated
Creating more spaces on campus for Black students (such as the Black Engineers Society Lounge in the Engineering Building) so that they are not only relegated to Nyumburu by default (especially for LGBT Black students). These spaces will be non-discriminatory.

The Vice President for Student Affairs is considering options for additional space for BIPOC students in the spaces controlled by the Division of Student Affairs. The new DICE (Diversity & Inclusion in Computing Education) Lounge is a community space on the 1st floor of the Brendan Iribe Center for Computing Science and Engineering for students in computing to meet, study, and connect. Work is currently underway to develop plans for National Panhellenic Council plots to be installed on campus. [In Progress]

Critical Issue #12

Create partnerships and scholarships with Prince George’s County schools to increase the number of Prince George’s County students accepted and admitted to UMD, especially Black students.

Responsible University Partners

  • Office of the Provost
  • Office of the Vice President for University Relations

Action Status

Sustained Commitment

Last Updated
Create partnerships and scholarships with Prince George’s County schools to increase the number of Prince George’s County students accepted and admitted to UMD, especially Black students.

Recruiting and retaining a diverse student body is a top priority for the university. The University of Maryland has implemented many new efforts and programs to build strong partnerships with Prince George's County to recruit Black students. Some of these programs include the Maryland Ascent Program, College Access Conference, Prince George's County Office of College Readiness, Maryland Incentive Awards, and EDGE Overnight Stay Program. UMD has fostered relationships with Community Based Organizations throughout the county to host college readiness workshops throughout the year. [Sustained Commitment]

Critical Issue #13

End the militarization of UMPD and sanctioning safe residential halls and environments by removing armed police & decreasing their presence.

Responsible University Partner

  • Office of the President

Action Status

In Progress

Last Updated
End the militarization of UMPD and sanctioning safe residential halls and environments by removing armed police & decreasing their presence.

On July 1, 2020, President Pines announced that UMPD would divest from the Dept. of Defense 1033 program which provides excess equipment to local law enforcement entities. On February 22, 2021, UMPD was officially deactivitated from the 1033 program. In addition, President Pines established the University of Maryland Task Force on Community Policing to provide recommendations to enhance public safety and community policing that help the UMD campus move toward more collaborative and trusting partnerships between our public safety officials and the university community. Recommendations from the Task Force on Community Policing are expected to begin implementation during the 2021-22 academic year. [In Progress]

Critical Issue #14

Continuous mandatory training on implicit bias in policing and how to reduce its negative impacts on the UMD community.

Responsible University Partner

  • Office of the Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer

Action Status

Sustained Commitment

Last Updated
Continuous mandatory training on implicit bias in policing and how to reduce its negative impacts on the UMD community.

The UMD Police Department (UMPD) conducts impartial policing training annually for all department employees and new officers. A module on Fair and Impartial Policing is included. The UMPD Manual of Rules and Procedures, Section 2.431 affirms the department’s commitment to impartial policing and provides detailed guidance. [Sustained Commitment]

Critical Issue #15

Divest from the Maryland Correctional Enterprises, as well as businesses and companies invested in it, and the prison industrial complex

Responsible University Partner

  • Office of the President

Action Status

Sustained Commitment

Last Updated
Divest from the Maryland Correctional Enterprises, as well as businesses and companies invested in it, and the prison industrial complex

The university will continue to study the relationship with Maryland Correctional Enterprises. We will also invite informed speakers and experts to offer our community a collective understanding about the prison system and how it interacts with Maryland higher education. We have already begun this effort with our Grand Challenges of our Time Presidential Distinguished Forum with Reginald Dwayne Betts '09, a critically acclaimed writer, public speaker and advocate for incarcerated people. [Sustained Commitment]

Critical Issue #16

Immediate turnaround for the removal of hate speech printed or written on campus property, sidewalks, and boards.

Responsible University Partner

  • Office of the Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer

Action Status

Sustained Commitment

Last Updated
Immediate turnaround for the removal of hate speech printed or written on campus property, sidewalks, and boards.

Facilities Management Incident Response, Residential Facilities and UMPD respond immediately upon report of incidents to cover or remove offensive material. In addition, FM Incident Response staff walk the campus daily looking for issues that need to be addressed, including graffiti, and carry out permanent removal as required. [Sustained Commitment]

Critical Issue #17

Creating a racial incident hotline through the Counseling Center to cater to the mental health of BIPOC students.

Responsible University Partners

  • Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion
  • Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs

Action Status

Completed

Last Updated
Creating a racial incident hotline through the Counseling Center to cater to the mental health of BIPOC students.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion's Bias Incident Support Services (BISS) and the Counseling Center met with Black Terps Matter leaders, and agreed that the existing hotline was satisfactory in meeting this demand. [Completed]

Additionally, BISS and the Counseling Center have created a formal referral process between the two offices to ensure cohesive support for students with student consent. [Completed]

Critical Issue #18

Establish a collaboration between Nyumburu and the Division of Student Affairs to streamline all resources and counseling services that exist to support Black students.

Responsible University Partners

  • Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Office of the Vice President for University Relations

Action Status

Sustained Commitment

Last Updated
Establish a collaboration between Nyumburu and the Division of Student Affairs to streamline all resources and counseling services that exist to support Black students.

There is consistent communication between Nyumburu and the Division of Student Affairs (DSA), which ensures that student resources and health services provided by both Nyumburu and DSA are widely communicated and made available to students. A dyadic relationship exists between the Counseling Center and Nyumburu, which allows for information sharing about available services and related updates. The Vice President for Student Affairs (VPSA) has been meeting with Nyumburu staff each semester and has invited Nyumburu staff to join monthly VPSA meetings. [Sustained Commitment]

The Multicultural Involvement and Community Advocacy Office (MICA) in the Division of Student Affairs works with Nyumburu on Black History Month programming and has co-sponsored a Black Male and Black Woman Leadership series. MICA staff will continue to support key events including Student Welcome, Juke Joint, Nyumburu's 50th Anniversary Celebration and Homecoming Tailgate in the fall. [Sustained Commitment]

Critical Issue #19

Improving and restoring relations between UMD and Prince George's County through directly partnering with local community leaders/activists and community organizations.

Responsible University Partner

  • Office of the Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer

Action Status

Sustained Commitment

Last Updated
Improving and restoring relations between UMD and Prince George's County through directly partnering with local community leaders/activists and community organizations.

The relationship between the university and Prince George's County has never been stronger. UMD participates in a wide range of partnerships and groups aimed at fostering relationships with the community. These include monthly meetings with College Park and County officials, College Park City-University Partnership, Discovery District work group, City Multi-Agency Services Team regarding quality of life matters, UMD Health Center/County Public Health meetings regarding COVID-19 and other public health matters. Hundreds of university community members are engaged with schools and non-profit organizations in greater College Park, in activities including tutoring, translation, volunteer efforts and sports. Large-scale annual events include Good Neighbor Day and A College Education is Within Your Reach/Estudios Universitarios a su Alcance. Joint venture projects with the City of College Park include the UMD Child Development Center (opened Winter 2021) and the City Hall block project, which will provide shared office space and street level retail (opening in 2022). These projects and others will greatly enhance the livability of our area. [Sustained Commitment]

Critical Issue #20

Include teaching about the contributions that Prince George’s County residents have made to UMD, along with the Black history of this institution (ties to slavery, discrimination against Black people to admittance into UMD until the 1936 Murray v Maryland Decision).

Responsible University Partners

  • Office of the Provost
  • Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion

Action Status

Sustained Commitment

Last Updated
Include teaching about the contributions that Prince George’s County residents have made to UMD, along with the Black history of this institution (ties to slavery, discrimination against Black people to admittance into UMD until the 1936 Murray v Maryland Decision).

In collaboration with the 1856 Project, we will provide support in examining and understanding the relationship between the University of Maryland and historically Black communities in Prince George's County, including Lakeland, North Brentwood, Rossville and Muirkirk. We will provide assistance in creating scholarly activities, outreach and engagement opportunities for faculty, staff, students and other community stakeholders for examining Black histories around slavery and segregation and its familial ties to UMD. [Sustained Commitment]

Critical Issue #21

A land recognition that UMD is built on land stolen from the Piscataway people.

Responsible University Partner

  • Office of the President

Action Status

In Progress

Last Updated
A land recognition that UMD is built on land stolen from the Piscataway people.

The Office of Multicultural Involvement & Community Advocacy worked with Piscataway elders on a land acknowledgement, which was incorporated into President Pines' Inauguration in Spring 2021, and the TerrapinSTRONG onboarding program. Additional work on refining the language and its uses will continue through Fall 2021. [In Progress]

Critical Issue #22

Make continued reference to 1st Lt. Richard Collins' legacy, accomplishments, and the Richard W Collins III Leadership with Honor Scholarship on campus tours and orientation, and in general education courses.

Responsible University Partner

  • Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion

Action Status

Sustained Commitment

Last Updated
Make continued reference to 1st Lt. Richard Collins' legacy, accomplishments, and the Richard W Collins III Leadership with Honor Scholarship on campus tours and orientation, and in general education courses.

A partnership with Bowie State University and the Richard Collins Foundation - the Social Justice Alliance (SJA) - honors the memory and legacy of 1st Lt. Richard Collins III through joint programming including symposia and an annual conference. Information regarding scholarships honoring Lt. Collins is available through the SJA as well as UMD, BSU, and MHEC. The upcoming memorial for Lt. Collins will provide a physical presence for the campus community and visitors, and information regarding the murder of Lt. Collins has been incorporated into TerrapinSTRONG onboarding. [Sustained Commitment]

Critical Issue #23

Strengthening the Bias Incident Support Services office with at least 3 more employees to support in responding, educating, and reporting to the campus about hate-bias incidents.

Responsible University Partner

  • Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion

Action Status

Sustained Commitment

Last Updated
Strengthening the Bias Incident Support Services office with at least 3 more employees to support in responding, educating, and reporting to the campus about hate-bias incidents.

Bias Incident Support Services currently has three staff members, and its processes/actions are supplemented by the Hate-Bias Response Team, which includes members from OCRSM, Student Conduct, the Counseling Center, Resident Life, UMPD and the Health Center. Staffing needs for the unit will be reviewed consistently, and new staff will be added as deemed appropriate for the unit's workload. [Sustained Commitment]

Critical Issue #24

Implementation of evaluations pertaining to diversity and inclusivity for each course to be completed by students every semester. This is in regards to specific colleges and the university as a whole and the results of these evaluations should be published for transparency.

Responsible University Partner

  • Office of the Provost

Action Status

In Progress

Last Updated
Implementation of evaluations pertaining to diversity and inclusivity for each course to be completed by students every semester. This is in regards to specific colleges and the university as a whole and the results of these evaluations should be published for transparency.

Per Senate Document #16-17-24, the Course Evaluation Advisory Group spent a considerable amount of time drafting items for a new course evaluation instrument, based on the recommendations from the Senate APAS committee. That instrument was piloted in Spring of 2021 in a small number of courses, and the results are currently being evaluated. Following that analysis and the deliberation of the Advisory Group, next steps will be determined, which could include a larger pilot, or the finalization of the instrument as is for approval and implementation. [In Progress]

Critical Issue #25

TerrapinSTRONG (or any other general orientation process that UMD goes with) needs to incorporate the provision of accurate resources to all students on bias incident reporting, counseling services, and other resources for BIPOC students.

Responsible University Partner

  • Office of the President

Action Status

Sustained Commitment

Last Updated
TerrapinSTRONG (or any other general orientation process that UMD goes with) needs to incorporate the provision of accurate resources to all students on bias incident reporting, counseling services, and other resources for BIPOC students.

The TerrapinSTRONG onboarding program has been developed and officially launched in July 2021 for new faculty and staff and August 2021 for students.The onboarding program includes resources in bias incident reporting, counseling services and additional resources for BIPOC. [Sustained Commitment]