By Egypt Page
It has been nearly two years since SUNY Brockport made headlines for its campus climate problem. The lack of diversity and representation for black and brown students on campus was a problem.
In February of 2020, SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson called the racial climate at SUNY Brockport “unacceptable”.
After the firing of the former SUNY Brockport Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Cephas Archie in late January of 2020, multiple protests were held in support of the fight for diversity and representation on campus.
Archie was just one of an abundance of events that took place in the spring of 2020 at SUNY Brockport. There was also the employee who filed discrimination charges against SUNY Brockport. Another event that provoked a call for action was former SUNY Brockport Diversity Recruitment and Retention Specialist, Dr. Sandra Vazquez resigning.
With students back in class after nearly two years, campus climate can be discussed again. Students can now get a sense on how SUNY Brockport is doing with its racial climate.
The president of The Association of Latinx American Students (ALAS), Jesus Cabrera believes SUNY Brockport is moving in the right direction:
“I feel like we are moving in the right direction when it comes to representation. However, I feel like a lot more needs to be done,” Cabrera said. “There is a gap that we need to bridge between the University staff and the students especially the organization for marginalized groups”.
In a Democrat & Chronicle article written in February of 2020, SUNY Chancellor Johnson elaborated on her efforts to make change at SUNY Brockport:
“Those include assigning outside staff to assist and assess diversity efforts, and promises to revamp the bias reporting process as well as develop a plan to diversity what she called ‘diversity deserts’ that exist in some college departments”
These policies were also followed by a new program on campus, Talon Academy, which would start in the Fall of 2020. This program was started to support men of color on SUNY Brockport’s campus, in their pursuit of personal and academic success. Within that same semester, SUNY Brockport would also introduce a new area at the Seymour Union, the Joey Jackson Intercultural Center.
As stated on the SUNY Brockport website, “The Intercultural Center is dedicated to assisting students of color by providing opportunities for leadership development, celebration, education, and reflection on a range of issues related to inclusive excellence.”
Brockport Student Government (BSG) President, Justin Crawford would like to see support in certain departments:
“Initiatives like Talon Academy and having Danita Davis are things we need for underrepresented students to succeed on campus, I would like to see more support from the college in terms of funding and engagement,” Crawford said.
SUNY Brockport President Heidi Macpherson highlighted her efforts to rebuild the social climate on campus in a recent interview. Those efforts can be found here. Macpherson believes that these changes and programs are just the beginning for SUNY Brockport. That she will do
With the rebuild at SUNY Brockport, came many goals and objectives set out by administration. These goals and objectives can be found on the SUNY Brockport website titled ‘EDI Strategic Plan Progress Report.’ The development for a more inclusive and diverse atmosphere is ongoing at SUNY Brockport.
Jesus Cabrera: firstname.lastname@example.org
Justin Crawford: email@example.com
Edi strategic plan progress report. SUNY Brockport. (n.d.). Retrieved October 3, 2021, from https://www.brockport.edu/about/diversity/strategic_plan/edi_strategic_plan_progress_2020_2021.html.
Green, K. (2020, February 7). Employee files charge of Discrimination Against College at Brockport. RochesterFirst. Retrieved September 28, 2021, from https://www.rochesterfirst.com/news/local-news/charge-of-discrimination-filed-against-college-at-brockport-by-eeoc/.
Green, K. (2020, January 27). Fired Brockport chief diversity officer: ‘I remain with you always in Solidarity’. RochesterFirst. Retrieved September 28, 2021, from https://www.rochesterfirst.com/news/local-news/fired-brockport-chief-diversity-officer-i-remain-with-you-always-in-solidarity/.
Green, K., & Driffill, M. (2020, October 13). SUNY Brockport Report: ‘climate and culture have deteriorated at the campus’. RochesterFirst. Retrieved September 28, 2021, from https://www.rochesterfirst.com/news/education/suny-brockport-report-climate-and-culture-have-deteriorated-at-the-campus/.
Sharp, B. (2020, February 18). SUNY chancellor: Situation at Brockport ‘unacceptable,’ will visit campus. Democrat and Chronicle. Retrieved September 28, 2021, from https://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2020/02/13/suny-chancellor-situation-brockport-unacceptable-cephas-archie-diversity/4751474002/.
Students protest recent events on Brockport College campus. spectrumlocalnews.com. (n.d.). Retrieved September 28, 2021, from https://spectrumlocalnews.com/nys/rochester/education/2020/02/13/students-protest-recent-events-on-brockport-college-campus.