The Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity is committed to maintaining an inclusive environment for the entire Brown community during this difficult time. As the University transitions to remote learning and business operations, it is critical that inclusion and equity be at the center of decision making and policy development. Below, we share a list of ways you can work with your constituents to ensure that we continue to uphold our values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- Center culturally relevant practices in discussions and decision making. Times of heightened stress and uncertainty can lead to an increase in unconscious bias in decisions. In ongoing discussions, constantly revisit questions such as:
- How would this policy impact individuals from underrepresented communities? Who would be challenged to comply with this decision?
- What additional support could we provide?
- What symbolic message could result from this decision from the perspective of different groups?
- Build a community of practice with other diversity practitioners across the University to share resources, ideas and get input on challenges you may encounter throughout this difficult time.
- Maintain ongoing support for individuals from diverse communities.
- Share resources and communicate with individuals on a regular basis. A regularly scheduled email update or open virtual office hours could provide the space for conversations, questions, and dialogue around the needs of different groups. These discussions could also inform your recommendations for the University’s response in your area. Consider using these tips for thoughtful and inclusive communication during a crisis (PDF link).
- Create virtual meetings and events to maintain connections for members of identity-based campus groups. These events provide an opportunity for individuals to remain connected and stay involved in campus activities while at home. Participation in virtual meetings and events may also reduce feelings of isolation.
- Encourage students to develop clear goals to accomplish during this time. These goals may be related to coursework, research, or self-care, for example. To prime these discussions, consider asking students to complete this planning tool (PDF) as a means to focus their attention on their ability to succeed.
- Be patient and kind with yourself and your colleagues. Recognize that there have been significant shifts in all of our lives that will impact individuals' capacity to address and think through challenges at all levels. Students may feel vulnerable and helpless for a variety of reasons and the support you provide may be one of the few constants in their lives. The work you do and the support you provide is important, necessary and critical to upholding the values of the university.
References and Resources:
- Equity and Inclusion During COVID-19, University of California
- The COVID-19 DEI Crisis Action Strategy Guide, Center for Strategic Leadership & Social Innovation
- Coronavirus and Our Communities, NAACP