EXCLUSIVE: ASU racial justice committee calls for mandatory equity training

A set of racial justice committees at Arizona State University’s Barrett Honors College recommended mandatory equity training for all employees.

Their report proposed an increase in 'affinity based programming,' which includes housing for particular identity groups.

Racial justice committees at Arizona State University’s Barrett Honors College want mandatory equity training for all employees.

Campus Reform obtained a copy of a report from the Barrett Task Force on Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, which Barrett Honors College Vice Mark Jacobs emailed to over 100 employees. The administrator said in an email that the working groups responsible for the report “did a really great job of assessing, discussing and envisioning for the coming year what our goals are and should be.”

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Among the recommendations in the report was “mandatory professional development” — such as “trainings for employees” — to ensure that all staff are “educated on matters of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.”

The professional development would entail a “day with no classes once a year as a mandatory Professional Development Day for employees to continue training on these issues.” New recruits would have to take JEDI classes via LinkedIn during the onboarding process; meanwhile, employees would learn “personal awareness” by being cognizant of “visual data and what messages they may send,” such as through the objects kept in their office space.

Beyond mandatory trainings, the task force also recommends implementing JEDI principles “into existing events” to “showcase the excellence of our BIPOC students or other historically marginalized groups and community leaders.” For instance, one recommendation encourages the college to “utilize young speakers at convocation events, particularly from historically underrepresented groups such as persons of color.” 

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Other recommendations included a review process for guest speakers to ensure that all lecturers are “representing the values of the community.” 

In the section of the report authored by the faculty retention subcommittee, faculty recommend an increase in “affinity-based programming,” such as housing and other programs where “students can connect with others who have similar backgrounds.” 

“The limited number of faculty of color in the senior ranks and absence of Black faculty create some shortfalls on navigating the challenges of teaching as a faculty member of color at Barrett,” the report explained. “While current mentors can advise broadly on some issues, we are sensitive to the fact that Black faculty and Indigenous faculty face additional challenges that are unique to their experiences.”

Campus Reform reached out to Arizona State University for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.