“Don’t be afraid – if you are afraid, you can’t move forward”.
Against the backdrop of the pandemic, terrifying events and the movements for racial, climate, and health justice have mobilized people all over the world, including students. The Center for Civic Engagement acknowledges the crucial, intense work of student activism, healing, and survival, and we are committed to supporting students to the best of our abilities. We also acknowledge the importance of knowing and sharing the history of racism and anti-racism across the institution, and within our department.
The CCE will work to compile the history to be shared with students, faculty, staff, and community partners. The CCE will also review our partnerships with community organizations and donors to ensure that they share our values of striving for an anti-racism workplace. In the past the CCE has chosen not to work with organizations that were known to discriminate or engage in microaggressions based on race, sexual orientation, gender, or religious affiliation, , and we will make these values more transparent by having organizations sign written agreements regarding their commitments to anti-racism before entering into a partnership.The CCE will also request that current partners agree in writing to promote an anti-racist workplace, and declare that they understand the process for K students to report to the CCE any incidents of racism, including implicit bias, the students may encounter at their partnership site.
All CCE staff have participated in ERACCE training and we support continued engagement with ERACCE. Once we are in person, the CCE will require ERACCE training for Civic Engagement Scholars as a foundation for cultural humility, principled civic engagement, critical reflection, and growth.
The CCE will include information on the Bias Reporting System to students during orientations, and in paperwork completed by students who intend to participate in our student-led programs, service-learning courses, and Community Building Internships. We will also develop and provide a bias training information sheet to our community partners and ask that they provide us with their current policies regarding reporting bias and discrimination at the community site.
As we have in the past, the CCE will support student, faculty, and staff involvement in activism and advocacy through funding to attend marches, protests, workshops, and other activities approved in advance. The CCE will set aside funding to support student and faculty research into police reform and will publicize information on how to apply for these funds. We will continue to make voting accessible to all students, despite residency, and will strengthen this important work by recruiting a team of students paid to facilitate it.
As our second pandemic spring comes to close, violence against black and brown people, AAPI communities, women, and trans people does not. Civic engagement, movement work, anti-racism, and democracy-building remain vital and look different for everyone. In these precarious times, please think about how you can do this safely, within your capacity, in solidarity, and within a caring community.
Please continue to reach out if you need any support or have any questions or concerns.
Center for Civic Engagement Staff
Here is the definition of “bias” based on the Bias Data Gathering System: https://hr.kzoo.edu/current-employees/employee-relations/formsandresources/bias-data-gathering-system/
The College’s working definition of bias for the pilot BDGS is a preconceived negative preference, inclination, or attitude about groups of people, often based on physical, cultural, religious, or social identities. The term ‘bias related’ refers to language and/or behaviors that demonstrate bias against persons because of, but not limited to, their actual or perceived identities. Examples may include defacement of posters or signs, intimidating comments or messages, vandalism to personal or university property, or similar acts, if there is evidence that the target or victim was chosen because of a characteristic such as those listed above.
Please be aware, however, that although an expression of an idea or point of view may be offensive or inflammatory to some, it is not necessarily a bias-related incident. Kalamazoo College values freedom of expression and the open exchange of ideas. Intellectual academic discourse often involves the expression of controversial ideas and differing views. While this value of openness protects controversial ideas, it does not protect harassment or expressions of bias or hate aimed at individuals. The pilot BDGS does not prohibit speech historically and currently protected by College policies.