Pillar 3: Advocacy and Partnerships

Beyond listening, dialogue, and cultural competency, we need plans for action and change. Students need to learn how to become effective advocates, responsible allies, engaged citizens, and future leaders who will bring about positive, lasting change at Miami, in Oxford, in their local communities, in the state, and in the nation. What steps can we take to help them learn the skills of advocacy and allyship and put those skills into action? How can Miami be more effective advocates for our students, particularly our students of color and others with often-marginalized identities? How can we partner with the City of Oxford for community change? How do we need to examine Miami University Police Department (MUPD) and Oxford Police Department (OPD) to ensure that incidents of police brutality can never happen here and to elevate trust between our police and our students?

Recommendation 1: Establish a Center for Justice, Advocacy, and Community Engagement (JACE).

Rationale:

By establishing the JACE Center, Miami can overcome our “piecemeal” approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion, as it structurally and culturally positions Miami to DEI via a long-term approach (e.g., this is a marathon, not a sprint), and maintains our sustained focus on the five pillars. There are a number of centers that exist on campus doing great work related to DEI (e.g., Western Center for Social Impact and Innovation). The JACE Center would serve as a place where all efforts can be streamline towards a common university wide vision.

Recommendation 1 Details

Accountable Party:

Office of the President/Advancement.

Pathway:

A fund can be established in which interested parties (alumni, corporations, partnering organizations, etc.) can contribute.

Timeline:

4 years

Recommendation 2: Establish teach away/study away with historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs).

Rationale:

By offering study away/teach away programs with HBCUs and HSIs, this provides a cultural immersive learning opportunity in which our students are exposed to African-American or Hispanic/Latinx culture. Many of these institutions have rich civil rights and social justice legacies, which should help our students and faculty become better allies and effective advocates. This program should be available for students and faculty. Intergroup dialogue cohort is a prerequisite for participation.

An additional benefit of the teach away option at HBCUs / HSIs is the opportunity to expose high achieving diverse undergraduate students to MU’s strong faculty and graduate programs. Within this partnership with HBCUs or HSIs we could include feeder programs or other pipeline opportunities for MU’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) and/or graduate programs.

Recommendation 2 Details

Accountable Party:

Office of the President/Office of Global Initiatives

Pathway:

According to Dr. Cheryl Young, Assistant Provost of Global Initiatives, the Office of Global Initiatives has informed us that the Office of Global Initiatives have existing infrastructure to implement this recommendation. Ensure Dr. Young and the staff within the Office of Global Initiatives have the appropriate level of support and resources to establish and run this recommendation.

Timeline:

1-2 years

Recommendation 3: Replicate and extend our partnership with Cincinnati Public Schools to target underrepresented students in Dayton, Columbus, and Cleveland.

Begin with first-year students by requiring incoming first-year students to take a 1-credit IGD course (equivalent to the CAWC’s Intro to Voices program) following UNV 101 (or similar discipline-designated courses; ie, CHM 147). Thereafter, provide other academic and co-curricular IGD opportunities for further development.

Rationale:

By replicating and extending our partnership with Cincinnati Public Schools to include two or three additional cities with a high percentage of underrepresented students, we can increase our domestic diversity. Our student body diversity composition should mirror the state of Ohio’s population mix.

Recommendation 3 Details

Accountable Party:

Office of the President/Miami University-CPS group/EMSS Office of Admission-Senior Associate Director for Diversity Initiatives.

Pathway:

According to Dr. Rodney Coates, Professor of Global and Intercultural Studies and faculty advisor to the Miami University-CPS partnership, this can be accomplished by targeting Dayton, Cleveland, Columbus, Athens, and Akron. Dr. Coates is also leading an effort to secure a grant that can help with funding. Ensure Dr. Coates and the members responsible for establishing Miami’s partnership with CPS to replicate and extend the program to two additional cities.

Timeline:

2 years

Recommendation 4: Explicitly name and/or hire a Title VI coordinator.

Rationale:

The Director of the Office of Equity and Equal Opportunity currently serves as the Title VI Coordinator. Given this information, a thorough review of the responsibilities of the OEEC and an examination of the workload should occur prior to any restructure or renaming of the Title VI coordinator. By explicitly naming and hiring a Title VI coordinator, this establishes consistency in the OEEO. Title IX coordinator and 504 coordinator are official titles associated with employees in the OEEO.

Recommendation 4 Details

Accountable Party:

Office of the President/OEEO

Pathway:

Pathway: Restructure a current employee to be the Title VI coordinator or hire a Title VI coordinator.

Timeline:

1 year

Recommendation 5: Revise the Student Code of Conduct to explicitly include Title VI language similar to the current Title IX language included.

Rationale:

By revising the Student Code of Conduct to explicitly include Title VI language similar to the current Title IX language, this establishes consistency in the Student Code of Conduct.

Recommendation 5 Details

Accountable Party:

Office of Community Standards/Student Life Council

Pathway:

Undergo the appropriate procedure to amend the Student Code of Conduct

Timeline:

1 year

Recommendation 6: Identify and partner with organizations such as The PhD Project, the Institute on Teaching and Mentoring, and the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education to increase faculty and staff diversity.

Recommendation 6 Details

Accountable Party:

Office of Institutional Diversity: Deans and department chairs

implementation:

Work with faculty and staff of color to identify such groups.

Timeline:

1-2 years

Recommendation 7:Miami University can become a template by encouraging the partnership between our Department of Family Sciences and Social Work (FSW) and the Miami University Police Department (MUPD) and Oxford Police Department (OPD). 

This partnership will explore how to maximize the presence of social workers, mental health professionals and paramedics in difficult situations.

Rationale:

This would attempt to limit police interaction and bring in proper reinforcements in situations where mental health is a primary factor. The idea is that police officers, paramedics and social workers can be part of a mental health crisis unit that would respond to these difficult situations.

Recommendation 7 Details

Accountable Party:

College of Education, Health, and Society, Department of Family Sciences, MUPD, and OPD.

Pathway:

College of Education, Health, and Society, Department of Family Sciences, MUPD, and OPD would work together to develop models to be implemented and pilot implementation.

Timeline:

3 years

Recommendation 8:Key internal and external partners rotate hosting responsibilities for our monthly “Advocates and Allies” happy hour.

Rationale:

By hosting a monthly “Advocates and Allies” happy hour, we become more intentional in community building in a sustained manner. Advocates and allies should not only come together when discriminatory acts occur, but also to celebrate and bond with one another.

Recommendation 8 Details

Accountable Party:

Office of the President/Various partnering organizations

Pathway:

Develop a calendar of events and determine which partners will host the happy hour each month.

Timeline:

Post COVID-19

Recommendation 9: Miami University should explore the adoption of a zero-tolerance anti-discrimination policy and strictly enforce its existing University policy on discrimination

Miami University must be able to determine under what conditions employees can be terminated and students can be dismissed from the University if proven they have made discriminatory (e.g., racist, sexist, homophobic, etc.) comments.

Note: This recommendation assumes the accused party was afforded proper due process and an appropriate finder of fact determined discrimination occurred.

Rationale:

As a public institution of higher education, Miami University should demonstrate moral courage when defending its interest in having an efficient and disruptive-free work environment. Student dismissal or employee termination should not be shied away from because of fear of First Amendment violations. Case law dictates that a balancing test regarding private citizen’s 1st amendment right vs public institution interest in an efficient and disruptive-free work environment (Connick v. Myers, 461 U.S. 138, 1983; Dixon v. University of Toledo, 702 F.3d 269, 6th Cir. 2012; Locurto v. Giuliani, 447 F.3d 159, 2d Cir. 2006; Pickering v. Board of Education, 391 U.S. 563, 1968). The key legal factors (e.g., avoiding disruptions in regular operations, maintaining good working relationships among coworkers, avoiding erosion of working relationships dependent on confidence and loyalty, avoiding obstructions in employees’ abilities to perform their work) favor Miami’s case for an efficient and disruptive-free work environment.

Recommendation 9 Details

Accountable Party:

Office of the President/Legal/Office of Institutional Diversity

Pathway:

Miami should consult with experienced attorneys (e.g., the attorneys who represented the University of Toledo in their case against a former employee terminated for making discriminatory comments) whom have won legal cases in which they demonstrated that a public institution’s interest in an efficient and disruptive-free work environment outweighed the 1st amendment protection of a private citizen and revise University policy accordingly.

Timeline:

1 year

Unintended consequences for recommendations.

The unintended consequences for these recommendations are likely to be in line with the typical unintended consequences for other DEI recommendations.

If successfully implemented, the recommendations will result in lasting, positive, and transformative change at Miami, however, the increasing the number of underrepresented students, faculty, and staff will lead to an increase of Title VI complaints and violations. There will be challenges to making these changes due to varying beliefs and values in the community. Thus, it is important for leaders to clearly think through the impact of these changes and the possible unintended consequences that derail desired DEI outcomes.

There will be backlash from some in the Miami community who will not agree with resources being committed to improve DEI efforts if they believe the status quo is sufficient and/or those resources could have been used to save jobs.

There will be backlash from some in the Miami community that the recommendations may be perceived to emphasize “Black students”.