We, the members of the Black Students’ Union at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, recommend the following actions be taken by the Institute:
A full-time equivalent be hired with a specialization on and experience with psychological issues affecting the African Diaspora in MIT Medical’s Health and Counseling Office
The current mandatory undergraduate HASS-Elective (Graduation Requirement) be restricted to a newly designated “Immersion studies” HASS-Elective (a designation for current or future courses focusing on topics of multiculturalism or diversity [e.g. race, gender, sexuality])
- Immersion studies being a designation for current or future courses focusing on topics of multiculturalism or diversity (e.g. race, gender, sexuality)
Diversity orientation for incoming students must include the following:
- Incoming student focus groups held in spaces designated for diversity and inclusion of URMs (e.g. Black Students’ Union Lounge, Latino Cultural Center, Rainbow Lounge, Office of Minority Education, Institute Community Equity Office, Office of Multicultural Programs)
- Incoming student focus groups of no more than 30 people facilitated by trained conversation leader
Online diversity training to be completed after an undergraduate student’s second year, possibly employing of techniques the “Student Success Sexual Assault Training” to obtain 100% student compliance
Publicly released breakdown of data by identity groups (e.g. race, gender, sexuality) on the reasons why undergraduate students of color turn down offers of admission to MIT while still respecting students’ privacy
Increase financial aid commitments to compete with peer institutions, reaffirming MIT’s commitment to keeping MIT education accessible and affordable through need-blind admission and a generous need-based financial aid program
Targeted survey questions be added to MIT Quality of Life, Senior Survey, and Undergraduate Enrolled Student Survey (ESS) on feelings of diversity, inclusion at MIT such as:
- “Do you feel at home where you live? Do you feel included?”
- “Do you feel your major is a diverse place? Your place of residence?”
- “Do you feel comfortable expressing your opinions to your peers in your home? In your classrooms? With your professors?”
Targeted survey questions in the previous recommendation be coupled with publicly released breakdown of data by identity groups (e.g. race, gender, sexuality, place of residence, majors) while still respecting students’ privacy.
Statistics be released and updated yearly on the following beginning Fall 2016:
- Major retention rate and flow (how many students switched to and from each different department)
- A report on “Number of Underrepresented Minority Students by Course and Year” in the Degree and Enrollment Statistics by the MIT Office of the Registrar, mirroring the Registrar’s “Number of Women by Course and Year” report
A formal statement from the leader of each MIT Department, Lab, Center on behalf of one’s department or group affirming MIT’s commitment to students’ health, diversity, and inclusion with remarks including but not limited to:
- “We care about the mental and physical health of our students before the quality of their work.”
- “We value diversity in and inclusion of our students, faculty, and staff with regard to their backgrounds and opinions.”
- “We are still committed to MIT’s 2004 goal of doubling the percentage of URM faculty and tripling the percentage of URM graduate students within ten years.”
- Departments only: “We pledge to create and to implement an action plan to meet and exceed MIT’s 2004 goal of doubling the URM faculty and tripling the percentage of URM graduate students within ten years. This proposed action plan and its progress will be reviewed periodically together with an Institute Visiting Committee.”
Creation of a Diversity Representative within each Department
- These representatives must have experience with and educational background specifically in diversity and URM recruitment and retention in higher education.
- These representatives must be tasked with leading the improvement of diversity and inclusion within the department.
- These representatives must work within each department to create and to implement an action plan to double the percentage of URM faculty and triple the percentage of URM graduate students within ten years, as per the unanimous 2004 resolution of the MIT faculty.
- These representatives must employ the tactics outlined in the 2010 Report on the Initiative for Faculty Race and Diversity by Professor Paula Hammond, the former chair of MIT’s Initiative on Faculty Race and Diversity.
- These representatives must work with respective Department Heads, ICEO, and the Human Resources Department to implement equity recommendations.