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Message from Dean Valery Forbes I Anti-Racism Town Hall Follow-Up

Email sent to the CBS community May 3



CBS Community,

Two weeks ago we convened a town hall to go over the recommendations of the College’s Anti-Racism Work Group. The group, which was made up of a cross-section of the CBS community, developed a robust set of high-level actions we can take to make the college a place where BIPOC students, faculty and staff  feel welcome and valued. Thank you to all who have participated in one or more ways from reviewing the recommendations and submitting feedback to joining the conversation and expressing interest in advancing the actions outlined in the document. 

As promised, we’ve posted a recording of the town hall online, which you can access here. I appreciate the many thoughtful questions received both through the web form and during the town hall. I’ve provided responses to some of those questions here.

These recommendations are just a starting point. It will take effort by all of us to advance this work. To do this effectively, we need to create opportunities to learn from one another. With that in mind, we will take the following steps in the near term:

  • Compile a comprehensive list of DEIJ efforts in the College and post to the Intranet along with contacts to facilitate greater collaboration within the College.
  • Develop a community of practice modeled on the University’s Diversity Community of Practice through which members of the collegiate community can share best practices, discuss issues and share notes about various efforts happening at the departmental and program level.
  • Convene action teams this summer charged with translating the recommendations into concrete, measurable actions we can take at the collegiate level to advance this work. 
  • Work with the University’s Office of Equity and Diversity to review our recommendations and develop a plan for anti-racism training that is sensitive to the different lived experiences of the members of our community and does not place an undue burden on BIPOC faculty, students and staff to participate or educate their white colleagues and peers.
  • Organize training opportunities for the CBS leadership team and require members to report regularly on their DEIJ efforts as they relate to their areas of oversight.
  • Once we’ve established a set of actions and timelines, we will share that with the CBS community. We will report on our progress in the College’s annual report and on our website. 

As these plans take shape, please feel free to continue to submit your feedback and suggestions for how we might move this work forward at cbsdeans@umn.edu.  

Best regards,

Valery Forbes
Dean, College of Biological Sciences

Posted 
May, 2021