Hopkins releases second Diversity Roadmap update

By EMILY MCDONALD and JAE CHOI | April 18, 2019

A6_gilman

COURTESY OF SHERRY KIM The Humanities Center in Gilman Hall offers interdisciplinary courses.

University President Ronald J. Daniels and Provost Sunil Kumar released the second progress report on the Roadmap on Diversity and Inclusion on Friday. University officials drafted the Roadmap, a document outlining plans to make Hopkins more diverse, following the Black Student Union’s (BSU) 2015 protests and list of demands. 

This update contains the first Staff Composition Report and statistics on the Faculty Diversity Initiative, which seeks to recruit and retain diverse faculty. In an email to The News-Letter, Fenimore Fisher, chief diversity officer, explained that the report demonstrates how Hopkins has progressed since the Roadmap’s creation.

“Hopkins is committed to engaging fully a diversity of people, backgrounds, experiences and thought,” he wrote. “That commitment can be seen in the significant progress we’ve made since the first Roadmap on Diversity Report was published, especially concerning access to opportunity and broadening of networks for underrepresented minority (URM) students.”

Fisher added that Hopkins will continue to work on improving diversity and inclusion on campus.

“There are two important themes under the Roadmap, accountability and transparency, as reflected in the annual progress reports and periodic faculty composition reports,” he wrote.

However, BSU Vice President Kendall Free noted that the progress report contains few details and statistics about some of the studies, such as faculty exit surveys, that the University has conducted. 

“It’s not very descriptive in terms of specific actions that have been taken,” she said. “Just from an objective standpoint, it’s very  

congratulatory, without providing too, too much evidence as to what specifically Hopkins did to make it happen... I honestly would rather see the data from the surveys and then draw my own conclusions.”

President of the BSU Chisom Okereke explained that she has not seen a large cultural shift in terms of diversity and inclusion at Hopkins since the creation of the Roadmap.

“I was honestly surprised that they released another progress report because I was like, what has really been done?” she said.

According to the faculty exit surveys, female, Asian and URM faculty felt less supported than their white male colleagues. However, there were no quantitative statistics about how faculty identity influenced levels of satisfaction and inclusivity. 

According to the report on faculty composition, the administration reported increases in the number of female faculty (from 42 to 44 percent), minority faculty (from 30 to 32 percent) and URM faculty (from 8 to 9 percent) between 2015 and 2017. 

The progress report also includes information on: Michael Bloomberg’s $1.8 billion donation, which will bolster undergraduate financial aid; expanded healthcare and family support services for students and staff; the Office of Institutional Equity’s (OIE) statistics on sexual violence; and statistics on HopkinsLocal, a program through which Hopkins invests in local businesses. 

The administration also discussed its implementation of new programs and policies, such as its use of Interfolio, an information system for managing and overseeing faculty.

Overall the University had greater numbers of Hispanic, African American, Hawaiian Pacific and Asian faculty from 2017-2018 than it did from 2015-2016. The total faculty percent composition for these minority groups also rose. The exception to this, however, was for American Indian faculty.  

The Class of 2022 is composed of 26.4 percent URM students, down from 27.2 percent last year. Beginning in 2018, the University also began to offer lower deductibles for medical care and new plans for greater visual, dental and mental health care for students. 

The University reported that its climate survey on sexual misconduct, its changes to the Counseling Center, its expanded student disability services, national societies for diverse students and expanded heritage celebrations through OMA were other highlights of their engagement with a diverse range of students. 

Free explained that she would have liked to see more information about support systems that are in place for admitted URM students or students with limited incomes. 

“I would have liked to see a lot more about what the University is doing to embellish the support networks that exist,” she said. “It’s kind of like a bandaid on a bullet wound situation with admitting more students because my first thing was like okay, what are we doing once they get here?” she said. 

The report also mentioned that the University has worked to increase support for Student Disability Services (SDS). This includes hiring two new staff members and conducting trainings on the accommodation process.

Free explained that the report failed to mention some specific challenges currently facing SDS. 

For example, she noted that SDS was supposed to move to the Mattin Center before the University announced the creation of a new student center in that location. It is still unclear where SDS will be relocated. Free expressed that she would have liked the progress report to directly address issues such as this. 

“It just feels really vague when there’s terms like ‘expanded support’ or ‘additional resources,’” she said.

According to the report, the University surpassed its three-year goals for HopkinsLocal, committing 23.5 percent of construction spending to minority-owned, women-owned and disadvantaged businesses; hiring 1017 people from “distressed” zipcodes; and increasing spending on local suppliers by $54.3 million. 

The University noted that its community initiatives and partnerships with local schools have bolstered its engagement with Baltimore. 

The University plans to launch a second iteration of HopkinsLocal in 2019 with updated goals. Free remarked on these goals.

“Obviously hiring local is a good thing and supporting local businesses is good as well,” she said.

However, Free worried that some of the people hired through HopkinsLocal, which focuses on hiring individuals from low-income neighborhoods, will face transportation difficulties. 

“My concern with that, again, is there’s always secondary things that go along with it. For instance, HopkinsLocal hires from these distressed zipcodes, but how long does it take people to get here from those zipcodes? How does that affect their quality of working here if they have to have really long commutes compared to other people and still are compensated the same?”

Similarly, Okereke believes that the culture at Hopkins still needs to change to promote diversity and inclusion on campus. She noted that, despite the positive programs Hopkins has implemented, the University failed to respond to 18 lost reports of sexual misconduct and to provide students with adequate mental health resources. 

The proposed private police force, she added, continues to strain the University’s relationship with Baltimore communities. 

“To improve student life and student diversity and inclusion, the culture needs to change,” she said. 

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The News-Letter.