SA has released a new survey seeking student input on both the racial climate being cultivated by UR faculty and a potential mandatory race-related training curriculum for faculty.

Since her time as Minority Student Affairs Liaison during the last academic year, SA President Adrija Bhattacharjee has spearheaded efforts to design a more in-depth race-related training curriculum for faculty and to make those trainings mandatory. Currently, faculty are offered optional sessions that Bhattacharjee argues do not require serious engagement.

On Oct. 3, Faculty Senate Co-Chair and Professor of Education Joanne Larson gave a presentation to the SA Senate announcing that the Faculty Senate had made it clear that they would not support making race-related training sessions mandatory, a policy that would have to be instituted by the University administration. Larson said she and faculty members nonetheless began work with the Institutional Office of Equity and Inclusion to create non-mandatory educational race-related curricula and expand the visibility of existing offerings.

Since then, Bhattacharjee has also refocused her advocacy on expanding the training curriculum, though she has not compromised her overall end goal of making the sessions mandatory. The survey feedback will be used to guide this advocacy and demonstrate student support to faculty and administrators, Bhattacharjee said.

“Last spring, I brought forward a proposal to the Faculty Senate to mandate at least one race-related training course for all faculty at the UoR,” she wrote in the Nov. 11 email announcing the survey. “While faculty strongly opposed the mandatory aspect, they still voted to approve that the previous training structure, which was just a plethora of ‘strongly encouraged’ sessions, be reformed. While SA will still push for mandatory trainings going forward, our first priority is ensuring that the race-related training structure for faculty becomes more effective.”

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