Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity-Related Student Activism
Colorado State University has a long and rich history of student activism and involvement in equity, diversity, and inclusion. Over the years, students have helped move the university forward through the organization of student recommendations and demands. These efforts, in addition to the proactive work of administration, faculty, and staff, have shaped a vision of CSU that is truly an inclusive university community for all.
While there is much more work to be done, we aim to be transparent and open about the progress that CSU is making in regards to this vision and the past demands that have been presented. While much of this work has already been underway, due to the passion and commitment of countless faculty and staff to equity and inclusion, we recognize that we need to do a better job communicating what is being done, what we plan to do, and what obstacles we are working to overcome.
Channels for Change
If you have an idea or suggestion for one of the many groups leading inclusion and equity efforts, such as the Office of Inclusive Excellence or the Commission on Diversity and Inclusion, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will work to evaluate the idea and share it with the appropriate group. While creation of a list of demands has been used as a mechanism for impacting equity and inclusion shifts at CSU, it is not the only avenue available or the only successful method used. There are countless individuals taking proactive steps towards inclusive and equitable policies and practices and this work is shifting the institution in ways that are enduring and transformational.
2015 – 2020 Student Activism: Recommendations & Demands
The following section includes information about the three periods of equity and inclusion-related student demands, including major themes and links to read the demands in their entirety.
2020 Student Demands
...the implication that there is nothing that can be done is a repugnant avoidance of accepting responsibility. We are not asking if something can be done. We are asking what will be done.
Revise Student Conduct Code
Diversity & Equity Training
Student Mental Health & Well-Being
Enhance Bias-Incident Response & Support
Security & Safety for Students of Color
2015 Student Demands
[We recommend] increased funding resources for mental health issues specifically dealing with racial oppression and racial battle fatigue.
University Diversity-Related Strategic Plans
Increase Diverse Employee and Student Populations
Changes to Core Curriculum
Student Mental Health & Well-Being
Student Athlete-Specific Needs
2010 Student Demands
As people of color... who have historically experienced oppression and continue to do so, we have often been silenced or asked to water down our language. In effect, this has taken away our voice.
Created by the Native Student Community
Focus on Campus Climate & Report Out
Maintain & Enhance Student Diversity Offices
Increase support for Native Students & Students of Color
Fund a Full-Time Vice President of Diversity
The following section shares overall progress and next steps as they relate to specific themes from each of the three student activism recommendations and demands. CSU is focused on a holistic approach to equity, inclusion, and justice work at the university in order to not only address the demands, but to be proactive and implement programs and initiatives that will support diverse employees and students in the long-term. While there is much more work to be done, we are excited about our progress as an institution.
Changes to Core Curriculum
- After a lengthy process to obtain approval and input from all eight colleges’ curricular committees, Faculty Council voted in May 2020 to approve changes to core curriculum to require diversity and dialogue courses, on par with mandatory coursework on math and composition
- Work on this new CORE curriculum proposal began with the creation of a Provost AUCC-1C Work Group in the summer of 2020. This work group developed initial prototype syllabus templates for experimental AUCC-1C courses. A few experimental courses have been introduced by the Ethnic Studies and Communication Studies departments.
- An AUCC-1C Committee/Task Force is now being established to oversee the development of the requirements for new AUCC-1C courses, building on the work of the previous group, and to determine a process for the current courses to resubmit new course proposals for AUCC-1C approval.
Diversity Training Module for Students
- The Everfi Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) module was piloted with a group of student employees beginning in Summer 2019, with additional student employee groups added each semester afterwards. In FY21, the module will continue to be a foundation course in the Elevate Student Supervision certificate program
- CSU launched the Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Module for all students in fall 2021. The module is optional and all students are invited to participate.
Mental Health & Well-Being
- The CSU Health Network Groups and Workshops include opportunities for students to engage in topics such as mindfulness and well-being in stressful times as well as a variety of identity-exploration groups for students identifying as black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) and LGBTQ+.
- In Fall 2020 a group of CSU Health Network staff met with the Steve Fund and reviewed their best practice recommendations created for campuses to guide efforts to support the mental well-being of racially minoritized and LGBTQ+ identifying students.
- The Health Network recognizes that much more work needs to be done to shift the traditional diagnosis-specific approach of mental health counseling to a more holistic, community-based model. Work is being done now to explore new methods for future implementation
Recruitment & Retention of Diverse Populations
- OEO produces and publishes yearly affirmative action data that informs search committees of applicant pool availability percentages and goals. All search trainings now include information on unconscious assumptions and implicit bias and a new presentation titled “Diversity in the Search Process” was developed and is offered annually. Training for HR staff has also expanded to include information on diversity and inclusion.
- The Commission for Diversity and Inclusion revitalized a subcommittee in 2021 to address recruitment and retention of diverse faculty and staff. This CDI working group is chaired by Diana Prieto and Shannon Archibeque-Engle.
- Discussions are underway across the university on how to better acclimate incoming employees to the greater community and initiatives focused on sense of belonging and community building are underway.
- See the ASCSU Senate Progress Report from ASCSU Speaker Christian Dykson.
- ASCSU continues working on curating resources (videos and graphics) that highlight the structure of ASCSU, in order to help students understand how to engage with ASCSU and hold ASCSU officials accountable.
- ASCSU is also in the process of evaluating how to ‘reinvent and modernize the public comment’ in a way that opens avenues and empowers all CSU students to engage and inform ASCSU as it pursues its priorities.
- ASCSU is building a marketing strategy for the recently-created Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Caucus (in order to reach students with lived experience that can drive change within ASCSU and throughout campus).
Housing & Dining Policies
- For University Housing student staff, HDS incorporated the EverFi Diversity, Equity and Inclusion module into training in Fall 2019. Training for all levels of HDS staff focus on the CSU Principles of Community and intentional expectations related to diversity and inclusion for supervisors has been foundational.
- A student advisory group, HDS Residential Climate Student Advisory Committee, was created and implemented in Fall 2020. This student advisory group, led by the HDS Executive Leadership, will offer suggestions, provide input and share experiences of minoritized students who live on campus.
Bias Incident Changes
- A Bias Reporting System was launched in 2011, following the 2010 student demands. The Bias Assessment Team has created protocols for receiving bias reports via an online form and respond to each report that comes in.
- A new Bias Reporting System website was developed and launched in late summer 2020. The resource provides further context and clarity around the bias incident reporting process. In addition, the Bias Assessment Team is hosted presentations on the Bias Reporting System throughout the fall semester.
- Bias Reporting System referral cards are distributed among all residence hall RAs to carry and provide to residents as a follow-up to conversations about bias.
Student Conduct Code Changes
- Language has been drafted to clarify abusive behavior and discriminatory harassment within the Student Conduct Code and is anticipated to be reviewed by the Board of Governors prior to the start of the fall 2020 semester (if implemented, the proposed changes would clarify the behavior that students could be held accountable for under the Student Conduct Code).
- A comparative analysis of public, land-grant, and private institutions’ Student Conduct Codes, led by WSCOE students, was conducted to review current bias-related expectations and accountability standards across the country and shared with university administration.
- It is important to note that free speech protections under the First Amendment limit what changes can be made to the Student Conduct Code. As CSU is a public institution, the Student Conduct Code cannot supersede the U.S. Constitution.
Increased Campus Security
- 335 additional cameras were installed throughout the common areas of residence halls since fall 2017 and 1,600 cameras are in place throughout campus. Cameras are for safety purposes only and footage is only accessed in the event of an incident or crime in order to protect student’s privacy rights.
- CSUPD continues working together with Facilities and Campus Recreation to install cameras across the Intramural Fields and in the recreational buildings located around the fields. CSUPD also hosts discussions on campus safety and security through the University’s Security Technology Committee (STC).
Diversity Staff Changes
- A full-time Vice President of Diversity was hired in 2010 following the 2010 student demands. The Office of the Vice President for Diversity now employs 10 full-time staff members focused on trainings, assessment, community-building, and advocacy for diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus.
Diversity Strategic Plan
- A university-wide Diversity Strategic Plan was implemented in 2016 and individual Diversity Strategic Plans have been implemented for every college/division
- Per the proactive approach as led by the Office of Inclusive Excellence, information is gathered at the end of each academic year to report out on the progress made by each college/division on their strategic plans. Work is also underway to weave together diversity and inclusion strategic planning with the Courageous Strategic Transformation.
Native Student Support
- The 2010 student demands were created by Native American and Indigenous students and included a variety of recommendations to increase support for Native student communities. Progress on the 2010 demands, as well as proactive work by CSU staff and faculty, include the establishment of a Native American Advisory Committee, the introduction of the Land Acknowledgment statement and video, the creation of Native-specific scholarship opportunities, and more
While progress may feel slow at times, CSU is committed to meeting the demands of our students in ways that are comprehensive and proactive and which align with the laws and policies that we must abide by as a public institution of higher education. While some demands are not fully achievable due to this important delineation, such as disciplinary actions for students that engage in biased speech protected under the First Amendment, it does not mean that the university is forgoing the demand altogether. There are countless individuals working towards creative solutions to address the underlying needs of these demands. We aim to continue being transparent about both the opportunities and challenges along the way.
- To read more about how the university worked towards the 2015 student demands, see this 2016 Source article.
- View a timeline of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion-related events and important points in CSU’s history over the past ten years
- Visit the new Bias Reporting System website for additional information about the bias reporting process