Brooklyn College Is Trying to Keep Up With the Nation’s Fight Against Racism

By Mukta Ahmad|October 3, 2020

Brooklyn College Campus. (Photo Creds: Mukta Ahmad)

Brooklyn College President Michelle Anderson recently sent out a mass email to the school community, introducing the Implementation Team for Racial Justice in light of the nation’s increasing racial discrimination and brutality cases.

“So part of the Implementation Team is to kind of really highlight to the campus that ‘hey these are the things that we are currently doing,’ to try to make sure that we have a diverse and warm and welcoming environment on campus,” said the Vice President of Student Affairs and co-facilitator of the Implementation Team, Ronald Jackson. The team is responsible for ensuring that any kind of racism or discrimination towards students, faculty, or staff is addressed and dealt with in a fairly, respectful, and timely manner.

Although there is already an anti-racist policy established for the college, it has never been enforced.

Anderson also introduced an Anti-Racist Agenda at the beginning of July. An agenda that Dr. Trina Lynn Yearwood, an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Africana Studies department at Brooklyn College, wrote via email would have marked her own experience as a student at Brooklyn College, 25 years ago, differently. Dr. Yearwood also noted that the only safe place for her at the college was the Africana Studies department because she felt that the campus was a “hostile environment.”

There are eight action plans introduced as part of the Anti-Racist Agenda. They vary from listening sessions (for students, faculty, and staff), student success, faculty/staff mentorship to anti-racist pedagogy.

“The leadership recognizes the profound negative impact that racism and Anti-Blackness has on the institution and has chosen to name it [because] racism has shaped the College’s history and continues to infect our present,” wrote Dr. Yearwood.

The Implementation Team also strives to ask the Brooklyn College community if there are other things that they should be doing besides what the team is already doing to address racial issues.

The team also sends out a survey to students and faculty to address any concerns and complaints. The survey can be anonymous if someone does not feel comfortable sharing their experience. “We want our students or faculty to utilize that because that will help us,” said Veronica McFarland, a student member and the treasurer of the Implementation Team.

“We just want our students and faculty to know that this is not going to be another one of those committees where you’re not heard; nothing is going to be done. No, we are going to do something about it,” said McFarland. “We will be making sure that these changes are being done.”

Disclaimer: This story was originally written for The Hound Newspaper (WBCR’s monthly publication).

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