At Bay Path, we strive to be a welcoming campus community to people of all backgrounds. We firmly believe that individuals of all religions, nationalities, races, gender identities, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic statuses have the right to a safe, accepting, and enriching higher education experience. And we are committed to creating a culture that sustains and promotes this promise, in and out of the classroom.
“We’ve made some great progress over the past few years in our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts,” states Dr. Stacy Sweeney, Interim Vice- President of Academic Administration. “But we have also been asking ourselves as a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council: what more can we be doing? Now is the time to take stock, and assess our direction and goals in our collective work to make sure that Bay Path University is a place where all voices are heard, and all individuals respected. We must be intentional and mindful in our efforts. Shifting a culture, a mindset, is hard work, but it is hard work that must continue.”
In 2016, Bay Path issued its first comprehensive plan to address diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). It became the blueprint for action and advocacy, setting the important foundational groundwork for the University’s continued efforts to establish an inclusive community that strives for academic excellence for all.
What Can We Be Doing Now?
In December of 2020, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council met to begin the arduous task of re-visiting the plan with the aim of updating and revising the goals and establishing new action steps. Each goal was assigned to a subcommittee from the Council. Subcommittees were challenged with these questions: Are these goals still relevant? What can we be doing now? What can we be doing better? Additionally, new members welcomed to the Council include Board of Trustee member Laura Grondin and Javier Padilla, JD, the new assistant vice president and director of human resources. Both bring a wealth of knowledge and interest in DEI.
Fittingly, the timing for establishing a new framework for diversity, equity, and inclusion corresponds to the first stage in the development of a new strategic plan for the University. It will allow both efforts to inform the other, and help to integrate DEI into the curriculum, co-curricular activities, and the University culture.
Our Students Stand Together
Upon President Doran’s arrival, one of her first decisions was to form a student subcommittee on diversity, equity, and inclusion. President Doran recognized that the student voices were important in the process, and would provide new perspectives and help raise awareness on topics and issues across the community. It was a moment of empowerment for the students, and they willingly stepped forward with their ideas on creating safe spaces on campus. Their recommendations will be integrated into the revised overarching plan for DEI, and each institutional goal will tap into the feedback from the students. Here are the top three priorities from the student subcommittee as recommended for the Bay Path community:
- Critical Conversations, Training, and Resources Hub
- Student Forums
- Consistent/Mandatory Racial Sensitivity Training
- Structured like FERPA
- Generalized for both students, faculty, and staff
- Resource Hub Access to Everyone, on Canvas or Portal. Includes films, books, articles, organizations, and public figures + Instagram accounts to follow
- Equity Programming
- University Response and Actions
- Hire more BIPOC across campus; in particular in areas with high levels of student interaction
- Create Anti-Racism Statement and Zero-Tolerance Policy
- Establish process for reporting racist behavior
- Create code of conduct for students, faculty, and staff that describes parameters for racist conduct and holds those in leadership positions accountable for misconduct
- Documentation and a transfer of responsibility from the reporter to the university
- Consistent messages regarding current national dilemmas
- Create equity programming
- Develop a More Inclusive Curriculum
- Create requirement for each professor to have one action/goal for making a more inclusive course and hold consistent conversations within the classroom.
- Integrate DEI into WELL programming.
- Teach Financial literacy.
- Create equity programming.
Mission Statement: What Equity Means to Us as Students
Creating an equal opportunity environment where each student, regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability/disability status, or socioeconomic status can thrive in their time at Bay Path and prepare them for entering a multicultural society.
Members of the Student DEI Subcommittee: Nina Colon '23, Suelita Delorme '21, Khyarah Gaston Feliciano '21, Aryanna Wiggins Gamble '21, Megan Griffin '21, Janell Smith '23, Cora Swan '23, and Victoria Thomas '20.
Community Engagement 2021
At this time, our community is still learning, teaching, and working remotely. In spite of the distances, technology keeps us connected and allows us to continue our work in DEI. In January, there were two significant campus-wide forums held with incredible participation from faculty and staff: Promoting Democracy, Combating Racism, and Fostering Leadership: Personal Reflections and Promoting Democracy, Combating Racism, and Fostering Leadership: From Reflection to Action. Both events had robust conversations, innovative ideas to engage students, and open dialogue. To be continued!
In the coming weeks and months, there are many community-engagement efforts underway and some yet to be planned. For the 2021 spring semester, look for more information and note these upcoming events or happenings, including:
- Faculty and Staff training led by Dr. Tia Brown McNair, vice president in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Student Success and Executive Director for the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT) Campus Centers at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), and author of From Equity Talk to Equity Walk: Expanding Practitioner Knowledge for Racial Justice in Higher Education (January 2020). More information coming soon for a three-part training from Dr. McNair, to begin with, the first session on Wednesday, February 24th at 3:30 pm via Zoom with subsequent sessions in March in April.
- The Society for Culture Awareness and Diversity at The American Women’s College (TAWC) launches a podcast series beginning in March with “Diversity in Women’s History Month.”
- The Office of Multicultural Affairs with the support of Student Life is coordinating a series of DEI student trainings in February and themes include Leading Through Difficult Times, Designing Inclusive Programs, and Wellness.
- DEI Student Summit, hosted by Student Life and Office of Multicultural Affairs, to be held in spring (date TBD) and will focus on providing students with historical content into racism, critical thinking/reflections through storytelling, and an activity for action to create the change they desire.
- Events for Black History Month including, among others:
- Sheena Collier, founder of Black in Boston, will be joined by local entrepreneurial leaders highlighting their businesses, sharing their stories, and strengthen social responsibility and networks, and the Virtual Poetry Jam sponsored by the Black Student Union Club.
For more information on DEI at Bay Path University, visit these resources.