Last summer, Duke University was part of a sea of universities committed to the fight against racism. A year later, he’s one of the few to publicly document his progress towards a more inclusive campus.
In response to nationwide protests following the murder of George Floyd, Duke chairman Vincent E. Price made specific promises.
Among others, Price said the university:
- increase “significantly and measurably” the diversity of faculty, staff and students.
- extend financial aid to students as needed.
- integrate anti-racism into the curriculum and require students to learn about structural racism, with an emphasis on institutional heritage.
- mandate anti-racism and prejudice training for faculty, students and staff.
- supporting the communities of Durham, North Carolina, the city where the private campus is located.
These kinds of promises weren’t entirely unusual, but Duke’s transparency efforts stand out. Most institutions don’t publicly track their progress, as Duke did.
The university has set up the website anti-racism.duke.edu keep the campus up to date and hold itself accountable for its 2020 promises. The site tracks the university’s commitments and actions, lists resources for people on campus and anti showcaseswork and research on racism done in college or by Duke fellows. It also allows members of the academic community to spot opportunities for collaboration and partnership between departments, wrote Michael Schoenfeld, vice president of public affairs and government relations and director of communications, in an email to The Chronicle.
Signs of progress
Exactly a year after his first message with promises, Campus updated price on the position of the university.
On training and education: This year, orientation of new students included lessons on inclusiveness, fairness and how to shape systemic change, and this fall, students can register for the new “The Invention and Consequences of Race” course. The provost’s office and the Office for Institutional Equity are still working on designing new programs that are informed by history and that allow the campus to promote anti-racism, equity and inclusion, according to the monitoring website.
University now lists resources on its anti-racism website where employees can access, among other things, a recording of Duke’s “Living While Black” symposium, the Office for Institutional Equity resources for understanding and combating racism and its impact, and the archives of university to better understand the history of the institution.
Last september, Price, board members and other directors attended a workshop on anti-racism and fairness. The university said it would continue this workshop every year.
On the diversity of the faculty: On a campus where less than half of students identify as white, white academics are the overwhelming majority on the Duke campus. About 5.8% of faculty members are black, 3.6% are Hispanic, 18% are Asian and 72.4% are white, according to Abbas Benmamoun, vice-president of faculty promotion.
In October 2020, the university announced that a $ 16–million grants of the Duke Endowment would help recruit various faculty members. Black faculty recruits now account for 15% of new “regular rank” hires across all departments, Price wrote in his campus update this year.
Additionally, the university is working on a dashboard that tracks data on faculty diversity, as well as the institution’s hiring and retention work.
On financial assistance according to need: This year’s figures won’t be available until the end of the year, Schoenfeld wrote in an email. The university plans to spend around $ 200 million in undergraduate financial aid in fiscal 2022, up from $ 175 million in fiscal 2020 and around $ 161 million in 2019.
On community support: From June 2020, Duke doubled in its support of the Durham Public Schools Foundation, helping to strengthen internet connectivity for K-12 students during distance learning. The institution has also committed through the Duke-Durham Fund to make an initial donation $ 5 million to the community for relief from Covid-19.
The institution is still working to expand its efforts to recruit students and staff from historically black colleges, universities and community colleges.
Calls for more action
Measures to tackle police on campus were conspicuously absent from Price’s June 2020 plan. In July 2020, the group Duke’s Black Coalition Against Policing called on university administrators and the board to sever ties with the city police, disclose mutual aid agreements between Duke and any police department, and end relations with any other law enforcement agency. directors duke have since met with the members of the group on their demands.
“There continues to be a productive dialogue with students and others concerned about policing,” Schoenfeld wrote in an email. In the meantime, a campus speaker series covers topics such as race and the police.
Despite the progress the university has made over the past year, some student activists say there is room for improvement. Asian student groups asked that administrators provide more support to students after the recent wave of violence against Asian and Asian Americans.
And last month, the Duke Native American Student Alliance wrote a guest column in the student newspaper asking the institution to better support Indigenous students. The group demanded, among other things, that the institution establish a Native American Center, that administrators hire senior Native faculty members, and that Duke adopt a land recognition drafted by the Native American Student Alliance.