Brown University Announces $100 Million Diversity Initiative

Brown University Announces $100 Million Diversity Initiative

Brown University has announced a ten-year, $100 million initiative aimed at creating a more diverse and inclusive community and addressing issues of structural racism, power, privilege, inequity, and injustice on campus.

According to Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion: An Action Plan for Brown University (21 pages, PDF), a draft document released by the university, the plan will focus on three areas — creating a just and inclusive campus community; investing in diversity among faculty, staff, and graduate students; and highlighting issues of race, ethnicity, and identity in interdisciplinary research and teaching endeavors. Efforts to be funded by the initiative include the provision of stronger financial and mentoring support for low-income undergraduates and those from diverse communities; the creation of professional development opportunities for all members of the campus community; a doubling of the numbers of faculty and graduate students from historically underrepresented groups by the 2024-25 academic year; a renewed focus on recruiting African-American, Latino/a, Native American, and first-generation students; the creation of new opportunities for education and research on social justice issues; and the development of multiyear diversity and inclusion plans for every department and center by the end of the 2015-16 academic year.

The university is inviting feedback on the plan from students, faculty, and staff through December 4. A final plan will be released by the end of the current semester.

According to Reuters, the university's announcement follows on the heels of the alleged assault by a security officer of a student who was visiting Brown for a Latino Ivy League conference and comes against the backdrop of race-related protests at a number of U.S. colleges and universities, including Yale, Princeton, and the University of Missouri.

"The deep pain that we have heard expressed by students of color in the past weeks and months — a pain that has been affirmed by faculty and staff members who work closely with and care deeply about our students — is very real," wrote Brown University president Christina H. Paxson in a foreword to the plan. "We value our students of color and are grateful to them and those working with them for calling attention to actions needed to address racism and injustice on our campus."