Brown University Pledges $100 Million to Address Campus Racism

Students held a Blackout Rally on the campus of Brown University on November 12, 2015. (Colorlines screenshot of Brown Daily Herald video, taken November 23, 2015.)

Brown University is hoping a new plan will help the Providence, Rhode Island, school create a more inclusive environment for its 8,800+ students. On Friday, president Christina H. Paxson announced that the school will invest $100 million dollars over the next decade toward meeting the goals in her new plan, called, “Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion: An Action Plan for Brown University.”

The actions in the plan—which is meant to address diversity and racism on campus—are organized around four pillars: Creating an inclusive learning environment, building and supporting a diverse community, creating pathways for knowledge and success, and creating accountability measures. Paxson posted the plan online as a working document and asked students, faculty and staff to review and give feedback between now and December 4. Then the document will be modified to take into account the input and a final version of the plan will be released before the semester is over.

Elements of Paxon’s proposal include:

  • Doubling emergency funds for low-income students for health insurance, trips home for family emergencies, laptops and books, and access to dining and housing for those who remain on campus during school breaks.
  • Hiring a dean dedicated to supporting first generation and low-income students.
  • Orientation for new faculty and staff will include training and awareness workshops around issues of race/racism, gender/sexism, sexual and gender identity, ability, and the intersectionalities across these areas.
  • Additional diversity and sensitivity training for the Department of Public Safety. 
  • Establishing a committee on curriculum changes.
  • Expanding the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America and the Center for Slavery and Justice and creating an initiative on Native American and Indigenous peoples.

The plan comes days after a November 12 demonstration where hundreds of students gathered at a solidarity rally to talk about their experiences with racism at Brown. Watch a video of the Blackout Rally below.

article by Kenrya Rankin via colorlines.com

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