“The principles of inclusive excellence have defined my career in my commitment to
student social mobility, and they will continue to guide me and all of us as we write
the next chapter of Cal State San Marcos.” – President Ellen Neufeldt
Inclusive Excellence is an ongoing, collaborative process combining CSUSM’s commitment
to academic excellence with its dedication to embed diversity and inclusion in all
aspects of campus life.
Based on preliminary findings of her Listening and Learning Tour, President Ellen
Neufeldt requested that Dr. Marisol Clark-Ibáñez and Dr. Patricia Prado-Olmos lead
three Inquiry Workgroups that focus on timely and urgent topics for study and recommendations.
- Workgroup 1: Staffing and Resources for the Office of Inclusive Excellence
- Workgroup 2: Review and update the Diversity & Inclusion Strategic Plan
- Workgroup 3: Follow up on Academic Senate 751-18 “Resolution on University Police
Department’s Use of Force & CSUSM’s Critical Incident Response”
Workgroup Progress Reports
Message from President Neufeldt
Addressing Anti-Blackness and Systemic Racism at CSUSM
This summer has been a time of pain, anguish, reflection and longing for impactful
action as we grapple with the ‘pandemic within a pandemic’ – the interrelated crises
of racism and inequity that has converged within the crisis of COVID-19. Today, I’d
like to share with you a few updates on steps we are taking now, and where we hope
to go next as we collectively work to confront and address anti-Black racism and systemic racism
at our university.
Since the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, many Black
faculty, students, staff and administrators have openly and bravely shared with me
their experiences as well as their exasperation. I’m so appreciative of the time that
people took to talk with me and educate me. Once again, they stepped up and gave their
time and energy – and I don’t want it to go to waste. I recognize that many members
of our Black community are tired and traumatized from having to recount their experiences time
and time again. I hear you, I believe you, and I thank you.
I also want to thank the many individuals at every level, including Black students, faculty,
staff, and administrators, who have had engaged in thoughtful conversations about
confronting and responding to the racial brokenness and systemic injustice in our
world and on our campus. There has been good work underway for many years thanks to both the formal
and informal leadership of many across campus who have long championed educational
equity and inclusive excellence leading to concrete actions. But there is much more
to do especially in addressing anti-Blackness and racism on our campus. Many ideas for
further action have come forward that tie into the Diversity and Inclusive Excellence
Strategic Plan, the Office of Inclusive Excellence (OIE) and the work of other groups across
Below are several steps many across our campus are taking now to target the removal
of systemic barriers and build a more inclusive university community for our students,
faculty, staff and greater community.
Study on the CSUSM Black Experience
| Dr. Sharon Elise has been working on a study with fellow Black faculty on the CSUSM
Black experience, which will document and amplify Black student and employee voices
and experiences from the classroom and in the workplace. The OIE is identifying a
date and time for a public presentation of Dr. Elise’s findings and will publish the
document on the OIE website when it is complete.
Supporting Black Student Success
Student Affairs is working to develop and grant fund a program for Black student success,
modeled after the success of PASO (Pathways to Academic Success). This program will
be focused on creating community on campus and off, with a strong academic focus and
holistic approach across the student life cycle that will lead to higher retention
and graduation rates for our Black students.
In addition, the Dean of Students is critically examining student conduct data to
ensure that policies are equitably applied. Housing and Residential Education will
be working in collaboration with OIE to add additional training for Resident Advisors on
racial justice and bias for fall 2020.
Black Allyship Workshop
|Beginning last fall, the vice presidents and I began participating in various campus
cultural competency and ally educational programs, and I asked that all senior managers
join in this endeavor as well. A Black Allyship Workshop training is in the final
stages of development by Student Affairs. It will be piloted this fall with a full
launch in the spring. Any member of our campus community who is interested in furthering
their work, education and commitment to Black allyship is welcome to participate.
More information will be shared as the program is finalized.
Innovating the Future of the University Police Department
Acknowledging the national call for transformational change to public safety, our university police
chief is helping us lead the way toward a new university policing model. In addition
to committing to adding a social worker to the department, two University Police Department
(UPD)-related groups are moving forward:
- The first, a UPD Community Engagement group will work directly with Chief Lamine Secka
to identify and address public safety issues and concerns, seeking out partnerships
across our campus to improve the overall UPD experience for all campus members.
- The second, a Task Force on Innovative Policing, will look at how we can further innovate
the future of policing, including next steps for creating a Psychiatric Emergency
Response Team (PERT). We will be asking faculty and staff to lend their expertise
So that we may continually develop a better understanding of the steps we need to take
to make our campus a welcoming and productive environment for everyone, this academic
year we will administer a climate survey with peer benchmarking. This survey will provide
us the opportunity to continually inform and improve our support, policies and practices,
particularly those related to equity and inclusive excellence. We will also continue
to administer and share the biannual diverse learning environment survey to students.
In addition, the Black Student Center is currently working to survey Black students
about their experience with student life on campus from a cultural perspective. Results
of the survey will help to enhance the programs and services of the Center, including
a new tutoring services opportunity in the BSC (in collaboration with the Learning
and Tutoring Services in the Office of Undergraduate Studies).
Faculty Center Report Regarding Experiences of Faculty of Color
|In the spring, I received a summary report from Dr. Ranjeeta Basu in her role as Faculty
Fellow for Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice for the Faculty Center. The report
details experiences of faculty of color at CSUSM and makes several recommendations
including cluster hiring of faculty of color, improving hiring processes for lecturer
hires, revising the Retention, Tenure and Promotion (RTP) process and more. I am supportive
of these and have asked Provost Kemnitz to work with Academic Senate and college deans
to explore next steps. In addition, we are moving forward with a faculty and student
exchange program with historically black colleges and universities.
Supporting Black Staff and Administrators
|With regard to the Black staff and administrator experience, Office of Inclusive Excellence Assistant
Director Ariel Stevenson and AVP for Faculty Affairs Michelle Hunt brought forward
suggestions related to staff career progression, retention and support. In conjunction
with our interim AVP for Human Resources and Payroll Services Kent Porter, I’ve asked
them to continue conversations and recommend next steps.
Reviewing University Policies
|We will begin to identify and change exclusionary or biased university policies and
administrative practices that lead to and maintain inequity and deny opportunity
Coordinating Care and Support for Faculty and Staff
|This fall FACES and the new Staff Center will launch - each guided by advisory committees
- to provide non-clinical case management services and care coordination to better
care for our faculty and staff.
University Cabinet Commitment
|Dr. Tumay Tunur and Dr. Sharon Elise facilitated a conversation with the University Cabinet in July. In addition, the Cabinet viewed the webinar, Addressing Anti-Blackness on Campus: Implications for Educators and Institutions which will serve as a framework for ongoing conversations.
Chief Diversity Officer Next Steps
Office of Inclusive Excellence Workgroup 1, which reviewed and made recommendations on staffing and resources for the Office
of Inclusive Excellence, provided me their report earlier this summer. I am in the
final stages of reviewing and consulting with shared governance groups and key campus
stakeholders and I look forward to announcing next steps shortly.
The steps we are taking represent many but not all the initiatives that we will be
implementing. This work will continue to evolve and grow. The Office of Inclusive
Excellence will map and track the work that is taking place across campus, and we
will continue to share regular updates.
Finally, I want to acknowledge the inequitable burdens of intellectual and emotional
labor place on Black, Indigenous, and people of color within our campus community.
Antiracism work must be ALL our work. Even during these challenging times, may we
be united in our resolve to stay engaged, stand together, and honor the values that
make CSUSM so special. Thank you for learning and growing with me on this journey.
If you have ideas or would like to participate in our antiracism efforts, please email
me at firstname.lastname@example.org.