Recommendation #9

This recommendation will not be advanced in the manner that was recommended. We hired external legal counsel to discuss the recommendation, had hours of committee conversations about it, and discussed with internal legal counsel. The short of it is that zero-tolerance policies (also known as “speech codes”) consistently fail and are held to be unconstitutional.  Given that, know that we have policy and procedures in place to address incidents of harm in our community. The Office of General Counsel has provided answers to some frequently asked questions about freedom of expression.

However, what we do want to do is take an organizational culture approach to this recommendation. For that, please listen to the podcast for ideas related to the latter.

Read the Transcript

Dr. Anthony James:

Welcome everyone to this audiocast. We are talking about the DEI recommendations from the President's DEI Task Force here at Miami University that was launched in the summer of 2020.

My name is Anthony James, I am the Interim Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion here at Miami University, and I have with me a special guest who I will allow to introduce himself here in a second.

And then what I will do is explain which recommendation we're talking about, and why this recommendation needs some additional context, and just updating it on our website that we recently launched to update the task force recommendations, why this one had some special attention. So with that, I would like to introduce my guest by passing the virtual mic to him and allowing him to introduce himself and give an overview of what his expertise is.

Dr. Darryl Rice:

Well, thank you Anthony, for having me. For those who are unfamiliar with me, my name is Darryl Rice. I'm an Assistant Professor of Management here at Miami University. I've been at Miami University since fall of 2015.

Most recently, I'm coming to Miami from the University of Central Florida, where I earned my PhD in Business Administration. My areas of expertise are organizational justice, behavioral ethics, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. So, working....having the opportunity to work with Anthony, as well as Vicka Robinson on the DEI Task Force was a great opportunity—joy to see what we can do better here at Miami.

And just really appreciated the opportunity that they gave me the platform and opportunity to voice, some ideas of what I think would be helpful in moving DEI forward at Miami.

Dr. Anthony James:

Absolutely. Thanks for that. It was certainly a "fun", and if you all could see me, I would probably do the air quotes. It was challenging and meaningful, and of course, that does have an element of fun, but also just very serious things that we are facing in our society.

If you, you know, have forgotten, summer of 2020 was one for the ages, for the record books, and that on top of that were some racial issues that we had to address, and it nudged us as an institution to think about what we want to be here at the institution and so recommendation #9, of course, had to do with how do we address issues of freedom of speech at a sort of basic level, but more broadly, in terms of cultural issues. We can have an institution that is a public institution, that has members, where its members have freedom of speech and so going to things like zero-tolerance policies can have some unintended consequences.

And so, we hired some external counsel to talk us through. We had extensive conversations within the various groups. We talked to our own internal Office of General Counsel, and it was clear that we have the processes in place that we are allowed under the law, but there are some broader issues that we really should and need to focus on. And that is the cultural piece. And so how do we actually do that? What are some actions we at multiple levels can take, as well as at the collective, and how do we you know increase those cultural building things and decrease the cultural destroying things or actions by members?

And so, so here we are. And this is important to us as a community, and so I wanted to invite someone of Darryl's expertise to help guide us. We want to utilize the resources we have in our institution and so that's why we are here. That's a little bit of background on this audio cast and this one is an important one. I think we all knew last summer that this was one that was gonna get attention and it has. We want to be responsive and accountable, right?

So with that, let me just talk very, very briefly because I want to make sure I give Darryl plenty of time to get his thoughts out. What we have here at Miami University is a framework of inclusive excellence and this is where you build into every aspect of the institution a DEI effort. So it is not centralized. We want to empower the local levels, DEI groups and entities and units to help us consider diversity, equity, and inclusion.

And so of course these things impact the culture, and we have recently launched the website to show what the structure of Miami University is like so I can certainly point you to that. It's on the Office of Institution Diversity and Inclusion website.

So, what we're trying to do now is, in addition to that structure, is talk about now what happens within the culture. And so here we are, and with that long background—sorry if I was a little long with it there—I'd like to pass the virtual mic back to Darryl and talk about what are some things we can do as a collective to help our institution with setting up the type of culture where there is diversity, where we are engaged in equity behaviors and also being inclusive to each member of our community.

Dr. Darryl Rice:

Okay, so we've definitely got work to do in terms of identifying some of the things that we can do to improve the culture, relevant to diversity, equity, and inclusion here at Miami. But before I share my thoughts, I do think I have a responsibility to the Miami community, and pretty much anyone who listens to our audio cast, given that I was one of the main proponents and advocates for this zero-tolerance policy.

I think anytime you publicly voice something, if you are given the opportunity to meet with experts and, to your point Dr. James, you know the committee opened it up to external and internal experts to educate us in terms of the legal challenges that would be, you know, "hey here's case law, you're going to lose" right? So it got to the point where the law on the books or pretty much if you had a zero-tolerance policy, you're basically setting the university up to lose a court battle. The evidence was just too overwhelming for us to ignore.

It was a hard pill to swallow, but that is the reality of being a public institution, but it doesn't, to Anthony's point, it does it mean we cannot do anything. There are some systems and mechanisms in place. And if we actually don't adopt a zero-tolerance policy, and actually just address it in a very case by case, kind of approach that gives us the best chance of kind of effective change at Miami, as opposed to giving, you know, whomever an easy way out in terms of just saying, "this zero-tolerance policy is unconstitutional" right?

So I did want to go ahead and share that thought, given that that recommendation came from my subcommittee, and we kind of pushed hard for that. I just think I have a responsibility to my subcommittee, to the broader committee presidential task force as well as the Miami community. So they know you know, "hey you know where does Dr. Rice stand on this?", you know, it got to the point where you know this is the right decision to make. And it also brought us to the point of what we really needed to address in terms of enhancing the culture here at Miami, as opposed to relying on like a legal framework to help us accomplish what we do because you know the law is the law where culture is transcended. So kind of collectively, Anthony, I think one of the things that we can....(interruption)

Dr. Anthony James:

If it's okay, I want to make sure I acknowledge something because I think what you did here is very stand-up of you.  If we were just in the open, just talking,  I would say "This is, you know, Darryl's baby, not that you were saying 'it's all about me', I don't want to, you know, confuse that, but you clearly cared about this and passionately. And so for your willingness to say "hey, this isn't the way, but we have other ways to address this", I want to commend you for being willing to do that.

These were...you know...DEI work is difficult. If someone says it's easy then I'm not sure exactly what they're engaging in.

Dr. Darryl Rice:

They are definitely not doing DEI work, right?

Dr. Anthony James:

Exactly. And so you, you're gonna have differences of opinion, but that doesn't mean you can't work through those...you can't sit down and say, okay, given that how do we do that...and, you know, just so the community is aware we do have processes in place to address, you know, issues of when people violate the rights of others, they discriminate or harass, and so we have outlined the scenes—we won't go into all that—but that is in place.

What we're trying to do as Darryl said is build a culture. So with that, I'll pass it back to you I just wanted to make sure I stepped in to say that...so thanks for allowing me.

Dr. Darryl Rice:

Oh no. No, I definitely appreciate that, definitely appreciate that. Because, to your point, when you do this work, you know, it's a labor of love...it's frustrating. You're going to have some wins, you're going to have some losses. But you've got to focus on the wins and just not let any setbacks or what have you, detract from your ultimate goal. And I think a point that we definitely need to talk about is the culture here at Miami. And when we say like the culture of Miami I don't want my words to be twisted, because we are doing, I think, kind of, where we have been in the past, and where we are trying to go. I think there's enough support for us to actually shift the culture and make it more forward-thinking in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

But I think that also ties into kind of some of the culture-shifting events that have already transpired related to the history of Miami because, in order to know where we want to go, we have to know where we've been. Because basically your organizational culture...it basically tells people what is the proper behavior in the context of your organization. It is this shared belief and value of "hey this is how things are around here," we can kind of look to, you know, well, what has Miami done in the past that signals our potential to change the culture.

And I think what often gets overlooked in terms of our culture is our history. And I think that's a mistake that we too often make in terms of realizing where we are. We don't like where we are. But then we don't look at our entire track record, right? You know what I'm saying like the track record of Miami in terms of doing like DEI work, right? I'm just talking about some quick noteworthy events because I think they kind of tell us a message.

Hopefully, everyone in the Miami community is aware of the Freedom Summer with James Chaney and Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner. That happened here at Miami. We just did a dedication, honoring the Freedom Summer, as well as kind of uplifting inspirational figures in Miami's history in terms of Nellie Craig Walker, who was Miami's first black graduate...and also the history of Western College for Women here at Miami. So I think those three big stories are culture-building identities because I think what they position, what they tell us about Miami's culture, is we have a culture of people who demonstrated a high level of moral courage. Basically what moral courage is...this boldness...this willingness...to take certain actions, knowing there will be some adverse blowback.

And I think oftentimes we kind of ignore what we have done well in terms of, "hey we're trying to change for the better" and those are kind of like three stories. Another story that I think is extremely relevant to understanding the culture here at Miami where we can go forward, is when our Board of Trustees made the decision in 1996-1997 to drop the name Redskins because it's a racial slur and the Miami Tribe said "We can't support this use". But, you know, our Board of Trustees made the decision to say, "Hey, we're switching the name to RedHawks," and you knew, you know, that, you know, well, I wasn't here and you weren't here in 1996-1997...but you knew there was going to be significant pushback, maybe, former graduates who, you know, graduated as a Redskin and did not like the name change. "You know I can't support the institution if you do this route." But that wasn't enough to deter our Board of Trustees from making that decision.

And now we're the RedHawks, right? So I think, those types of decision-making kind of shifted, who we were at Miami or in the fabric of who we are, at Miami and I think whether we're talking about the Freedom Summer, Nellie Craig Walker, the decision to go by RedHawks, integrating the history and the heritage of Western College for Women into Miami University. I think all of that signals that we can be morally courageous, and if we, students, faculty, administrators, staff, Board of Trustees, kind of embrace this notion of being or showing and modeling moral courage that will lead to the kind of positive and transformative organizational culture shift, we want to happen because those are some of the kind of noteworthy culture-shifting, points of Miami history that we recognize as this is who we are. 

So I think if everyone would use their platform to the best of your ability, to what you're comfortable with, whether we're talking about students, faculty, staff, administrators, Board of Trustees, if we use our platforms collectively or individually to show moral courage, right? "Hey I want to do this because I think this is the right thing to do" in terms of impacting diversity, equity, and inclusion at Miami. That is when we start shifting the culture because that gets into this shared mentality of who we are. So I think one of the ways forward is for us to embrace the moral courage that has already been shown because we have a way forward, right? We know what is possible here at Miami when people show moral courage whether we're talking about the Freedom Summer, the Board of Trustees decision to go by RedHawks, recognizing the racial barriers that Nellie Craig Walker had to overcome to become the first black graduate here at Miami. All of those were kind of morally courageous acts and I think we all should know the history and acknowledge that we can, you know, do some very transformative things and acts, we act in a morally courageous manner.

Dr. Anthony James:

I'm glad you mentioned that. And there are a couple of things I want to make sure I say and then you did say it a little bit later. We inherited the Western College for Women's history, which is Freedom Summer so which you did say, I just want to make sure I'm we're clear on that to be respectful to the Western College and some alumni. But yeah, this sort of, you know, collective identity is important for understanding what you're walking into as a faculty, as staff, as a student, and sort of what your expectation is. If you are—I mean it's identity right—that you know, being a Miami RedHawk now, which I'm pretty sure Wayne Embry who is our next Freedom Summer 64, he and his wife Terry, our next winner, and then we're putting up a statue for Wayne, next month in April sometime, I believe. I think it's important that these things as a collective become a part of the history and identity so that people then can sort of carry that expectation of how am I supposed to act towards others. You know you can't be in a context that has this progressive forward-thinking identity, and yet still say I want to hold on to traditions of the past that are harmful and hurtful to others, right? And so I'm glad you sort of talked about being more morally courageous.

And then on the other part which is important, and you're business school faculty, we didn't lose business-wise. I think this helped us. It actually puts us on the front, the cutting edge of where we trying to go as a society and how does Miami position itself? And I think that's also important to say that we didn't lose you from a business perspective in being morally courageous. We were just 25 years ahead of the Cleveland Indians and there's another team that...

Dr. Darryl Rice:

the Washington football team...

...yeah, the Washington Football Team. Yeah, more than 20 years ahead, so in that regard, there was no need for external sponsors to say, if you keep this, you know, name, we won't support your organization. FedEx was the leading kind of sponsor, they had the naming rights to the field. But that move was prior to prep, it seems like that move was driven by the business implications, which, you know, may or may not be the case if you're a business. But, you know, we made this decision, you know back in 1996-1997. Before you know, social media outrage, all this other type of alternative motivations that can be, that can kind of, you know, impact decision making. So, I think sometimes that gets lost in terms of what that really means in terms of doing, you know, diversity, equity, and inclusion work here at Miami. We addressed this issue back in the 90s, because that's what we wanted to do. Now you see other institutions just now coming along to address that.

Dr. Anthony James:

Yeah. And, I mean, yeah, I'm biased but there's a pride in that to say I'm a part of that institution, even though. No, I was not here in 96-97, I was not, I promise, but uh okay so, so of course you know I have a book coming out about doing this work and I talked about there are various stakeholders in the institution. So in higher ed you have faculty, students, staff, administration and Board of Trustees. So we've talked about the collective. Let's maybe walkthrough—Okay, what can each of these, you know, entities or stakeholders do at their level, which feeds up into that collective?" So let's maybe start with students. So what are some things that students can do to help shift the culture, what are your thoughts on that?

Dr. Darryl Rice:

I think students play an extremely important role. Just because out of the various stakeholders and, you know, this is me putting on my business school hat...organizational psychologist hat. Students are probably, in terms of current people on campus, there's more students than faculty, staff, administrators. So in terms of students, I think students, they themselves, make every kind of stakeholder make the place kind of collective form of culture, but students, they will kind of interact with one another, more so than students interacting with faculty, students interacting with staff, etc. So I think one of the things that the students can do to increase this diversity, equity, and inclusion is understand the impact that they can have in terms of recruiting students from diverse backgrounds. Oftentimes we think that, you know, it is beneficial to have, people who look like me recruiting me because we can kind of connect on certain identity basis, but when we have a diverse group of students recruiting diverse students that sends the message to students who are considering going to Miami, and even students who are currently at Miami. "Hey, everyone wants me here, and just not hey I'm a black student and, you know, only the black students seem to want me here or non-Hispanic student or Native American student in only, you know, my people, if you will, want me here." So I think students would understand that the power they have in terms of recruiting other students particularly, you know students from diverse backgrounds.

It sends this welcoming message that is not necessarily built on a shared demographic variable, you know, race, ethnicity, gender, if you will, but I'm hearing it from a multitude of students that this is how life can be at Miami and this is what we want it to be at Miami so students kind of embracing their role as recruiters of speaking to students in terms of this is, you know, this is what this is life at Miami, the good, the bad, and the ugly. So just not focusing on the good because oftentimes that level of authenticity is what connects us at a very fundamental human, you know, very basic kind of human-level connection when you're that authentic with people.

So I think understanding that they all can you know recruit diverse students. Share what they like, what they don't like, what they enjoy. I think we have a tendency to want...students tend to come together when bad things happen. You know, a Breonna Taylor event or George Floyd event. And then we want to stand in solidarity and support one another, which is very very important, but that should not be the only time that our students are coming together in terms of showing support in solidarity. The culture should be that we are we stand in solidarity with you and support you whomever you are because we have this shared identity as being Miami Redhawks, right? So being part of the RedHawk family is what makes us want to stand in solidarity and support you. And that should be the norm and not necessarily some event outside of Miami, you know, making us come together. So I think that's very, very important that we understand those acts of solidarity and support should be the norm just triggered by the culture of being at Miami, not necessarily something, some tragic event, outside of Miami bringing us together.

Dr. Anthony James:

Absolutely. And so there's two sort of tangible things I think I'm hearing there and, of course, correct me if I'm wrong. So one is, this is the responsibility of all students. Sometimes, you know, people will say to me, you know like, "Oh that must be an issue for the black students." "No, we're trying to build a culture and that's everyone has to be a part of it." And, you know, we need buy-in to help create that culture. And then secondly, that cultural piece happens daily. It's not like let's wait til the accident happened. Like each day, we're working to make sure that we're responsive to our diverse, you know, members. We are our full diverse community. We have equity practices in place and that we're being inclusive and so you know when that event happened because we know that something will happen, not exactly what, but something, that we have the cushion to sort of lean back on. That we have a culture that responds to it effectively. Yeah, that makes sense.

Okay, so let's, I think faculty is next. Yes, faculty. So what about faculty? What are some things that faculty can do?

Dr. Darryl Rice:

I think in terms of culture, there's a certain power dynamic as well because different stakeholders have different level of power. And I think in terms of faculty, we tend to be able to use our platforms to help build a culture of inclusiveness with other faculty, staff, and students. So I think it's very important for faculty to...it sounds very simple, but it's one of the most powerful kind of signals of "We want you here; you are welcome here."...is fair treatment. So I think we, as faculty, need to be very mindful in terms of how we're treating our students, how we're treating other faculty. If you're tenure faculty or senior faculty, how your interactions with junior faculty? Are you welcoming? Are you open to having conversations with faculty of color, of the unique challenges that they may face in the tenure process? Are you willing to support staff because there's this power dynamic. Typically, institutions of higher education faculty occupy a certain status and how are you using that status to help others that you can have a positive impact on? So making sure that we are treating each other very fairly especially if you're in a position of power.

That actually kind of reminds me of one of the studies that my colleagues and I conducted for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion research, because we felt most of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion research focused on demographic similarities in terms of, "hey if you want people to feel included, they need to see other people like them", which is very important, but that's just one piece of the puzzle. And another piece of the puzzle in terms of when you understand what inclusive is. Anthony can't tell, you know, Darryl, you should feel included at Miami, right? Only Darryl can say, I feel included at Miami. And the premise of our study was, those who are in power, when you're in power and you treat other people fairly that signals a fair use of power. And then that gives people confidence that they will be treated fairly. And when you treat people fairly... so when faculty treat other faculty fairly.... faculty treat staff fairly..... faculty treats their students fairly, that also the recipients of that fair treatment from these, you know, powerful people, people who control your grades and whatnot, vote on your tenure packet and things of that nature...when they signal that they are going to use their power in a fair manner, that is also a sign of them wanting to be inclusive and welcoming.

So, I think all faculty need to be mindful of certain power and status differences in the place that they occupy in higher ed, because when we start treating our students and staff and other faculty fairly that also builds a culture of diversity and inclusion.

Dr. Anthony James:

Absolutely. And I have to be honest and vulnerable here, being in this position, that that power matters, and when powerful people do things that make you feel included as the kid say "It hit different." And I try to not lose sight of that and that we put people in powerful positions. One that, you know and will, of course, get to this in administrators, but faculty, just inherently because the nature of the business we're in, have a level of power and if they can use that in a way that builds the culture, yes that does certainly help. I can, I can see that so. Alright, cool, cool. Well, you've mentioned staff let's transition to staff, what are some things staff and of course I will be remiss if I didn't mention. We have awesome staff. These are folks who support the business of the institution, and I just want to make sure I shout out our staff, because they do, in fairness also get missed when we don't take a stakeholder approach in making sure, so I've tried to at least be mindful of that and and be inclusive.

But as far as building a culture goes, what are some things that staff can do to help in this area?

Dr. Darryl Rice:

I think staff play a huge role in terms of how to improve the diversity, equity, and inclusion, you know climate, or culture here at Miami, because I think staff are kind of like the unheralded heroes in terms of the day-to-day operations of the institution of higher education, particularly here at Miami. These are the people we trust to get the job done and to keep everything running smooth. So I think staff, in terms of how they can help....staff probably have unique insights in terms of best practices when implementing a certain strategic because oftentimes you know the leaders—they set the vision, but staff, the day-to-day workers—they're in charge of accomplishing the mission.
So they've heard, you know, different leaders at the university level, department chairs, deans, provost, president—they set the vision for their department, division, but the staff, those people are in charge of the day-to-day operations.

So when we're trying to establish a new program aimed at diversity, equity, and inclusion, you know, what are some of the best practices? You know, what are the most effective way to accomplish this? What are some of the traps we should avoid? Because oftentimes we, we can come up with a great idea, right, but the devil is in the details in terms of leveraging that insight in terms of, "hey this is a different project but I think we can, in terms of how we can implement it, we can leverage these insights we've gained from, you know, this program that we launched." So I think they have kind of unique insights in terms of "this is how you should implement this idea in the context of Miami University" because they know, "hey, to go down this row, it's dead-end, right? We've tried this in the past, the idea sounds great, the vision sounds lovely, but we're talking about the implementation. "Here's the roadblock that we will run into" or "hey, this is the path forward." So in terms of actually listening, in charting the path forward, staff plays that role, you know, they can kind of see, "This is where we need to go if we want this to be successfully implemented." So I think those unique insights, need to be leveraging and kind of empower staff to say, "Hey, we need these insights because without your insights we're dead in the water."

Dr. Anthony James:

Absolutely. Now I'm glad you mentioned that they have that institutional memory. That really is key for letting you know how to advance the DEI efforts without, you know, stepping in the poop, so to speak, and those happen if you're not, you know...I know some people don't like my prudent approach, but you know I try to be prudent to avoid that and listen.

Yeah, so I appreciate that. Now, the next question is. (Oh and before I say that, actually, you mentioned one of your papers. What we're going to try to do is to link to those papers, when we post this so that people have access to it, so let me make sure I remember to do that.)

So the next two stakeholders, and for the sake of time if you don't mind. I'm going to combine the questions. One, because administrators was next on the list and then Board of Trustees, but administrators really are faculty and staff, so it's a little bit of combination so if you can maybe provider perspective there.  If there's a unique perspective in terms of how administrators carry out the ideals to help shift the culture, but then also what is Board of Trustees do. So, I'll pass the mic.

Dr. Darryl Rice:

Yeah, yeah, definitely we can, because in a way, given the shared governance approach to Miami's structure, I think our high-level administrators and we're talking about department chairs, deans, provosts, president, as well as kind of the Board of Trustees.  So, if Miami was a business, you know, our high-level administrators would be like the senior level executives (the C suite). Whereas our Board of Trustees, the overseers provide oversight...those are board of directors and that is a shared leadership approach right, you know, advise, kind of recommend, we will take this under consideration before we make the final decision that represents institutional leadership.

And I think in terms of the role that faculty and staff, administrators and Board of Trustees play is taking that, kind of embracing that, "Hey, we're high-level leaders at Miami University, and we set the tone for the institution." And it sounds cliche, but it's very powerful.

Typically, the organization will behave in a similar manner, that the leader behaves. And this is the case for organizational inclusiveness. You kind of mentioned some of my studies to go along with this audio cast. And that was another kind of part of my research in terms of what does DEI research says and what was missing, and my colleagues and I, we just took a leadership approach and said, you know, organizational inclusiveness trickles down, if you will.

And what we found were, you know, if supervisors—so mid-level supervisors—if they saw senior level, senior executives, engaging in inclusive leadership, they model that behavior of inclusive leadership. And then the direct reports of the mid-level supervisors started modeling inclusive behaviors in terms of engaging in more interpersonal helping as well as being more committed and engaged in the organization. We show that leaders set the tone. And if you want to set the tone for DEI, it starts at the top, and you can expect that to trickle down. So I think in terms of the work that was commissioned and the task force, some of the decisions that the Board of Trustees have made, we've already talked about switching the name to RedHawks right that was, you know, institutional leadership, saying, "This is what we want our organization to be. This is how we're going to do things forward."


So I think in terms of our administrators and Board of Trustees, they must continue and probably increase that level of inclusive leadership, because if they continue to lead in an inclusive manner, be very vocal in support of the work that various stakeholders are doing, under the umbrella of diversity, equity, and inclusion, we should expect a cascading impact. We can't predict this will happen in five years. It's just over time in terms of establishing the culture, that will trickle down from the top. So I think it's very important for our leaders to show inclusive leadership, model inclusive excellence, support diversity, equity, and inclusion, and understand that they set the tone for the institution.

Dr. Anthony James:

Yeah, exactly. And even in terms of what leaders' stake is buttoned in, and how that, so yeah that makes absolute sense.

Okay, so a couple more questions here. So, first, so what will be some indicators that would suggest the culture is actually shifting here in Miami?

Dr. Darryl Rice:

A tricky question because we're still kind of in COVID, but like post-covid, right? All this work that has been done—How does it manifest and what are the signs. I think like we talked about the role that students can play and pretty much anyone who is tied to the community of Miami, right?

I think we will start seeing some of the signs of, hey this is working when the composition of our student demographics change. So if we become more diverse, right? That is a sign that this work that we're doing under Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to build a culture that not only attracts but also retains students of color, all students, faculty of color, all faculty, right? So in terms of how we look...that is one indicator that this work is leading to improving the culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as—and this is kind of like a double-edged sword—I would also argue if you reduce the need to have to vocally support or vocally put out a statement, you know, engage in a very public fashion that "Hey, we stand in solidarity", or support because one of the reasons, you know, we put those statements out not the only reason but one of the reason is so people know where we stand on these issues. 

But once we build a culture to where we want it to be, then we don't have to put out those statements necessarily because it's already understood. You know where we are, right? So in a way, I'll just use myself: I didn't have to put out a statement in terms of, "Hey, I stand in support of our black students", right? Most of my interaction with the black students on campus by virtue of my work, they know where I stand on these issues. So I think, the less time we have to vocally put that out there, just to let people know where we stand, because they already know where you stand. If we're already this culture of solidarity and support where the students already know they're going to be supported through this, and this is just who we are.

But, you know some people may not like that because they like the publicity of the statement, if you will. But that's one of the signs in terms of the culture is changing. Well, the culture is changing because you already know where we stand. I'll make this analogy to kind of clear things up. In sports, I'll use the sports analogy because that tends to bring home this point. You generally know that the culture of a sports team is changing because when they bring in a leader to change the culture, this leader sets the tone. This is how we will do things going forward, and the early adopters are more responsible for that level of consistency. So, the coach may say "To get where we need to go, you guys should look at the opportunity to get some extra practice time. It's completely voluntary, but I'm just suggesting that this may help our performance on the field iand just not doing the bare minimum, if you will, and just practicing during this scheduled time. Then the early adopters, they look for opportunities to, you know, practice more. But once it becomes the culture, anyone who is joining that team understands "hey we want some offseason workouts because that's just the way we do things around here." And it is not necessarily the coach recommending that "hey I support you guys doing it." That's kind of the norm because any time it's the norm, it becomes kind of...you almost take it for granted.

So that will be an approach I would say when we're no longer perceived to be a fragmented community at Miami where we just hang out with our cliques and whatnot. When there's this kind of culture of inclusiveness and, you know, that is the norm—doesn't matter how you look, you know, we're going to have interactions. I'm going to support you. When that becomes the norm, that sends the message itself that the culture has shifted. Because it's no longer what we want to achieve, but this is now, who we are, we're looking to maintain it.

Dr. Anthony James:

Yeah, now that makes sense. I think there's a nuance in what you're saying which people may agree with or disagree with and that's okay. that when, when your actions speak loudly, you don't have to verbalize it because people can look at it, they look to you, because they know you're already doing it. I always give the example of the San Antonio Spurs. You knew they weren't going to sign some players, because they had a culture (in the NBA), you know, because they had a culture of what the expectations were and that just you know became, you know, who becomes the tone-setter so to speak, so that makes sense.

Dr. Darryl Rice:

It was the Spurs way, that was the culture.

 

Dr. Anthony James:

Well, we'll try to set that the RedHawk way. Alright, so one last question and then being mindful of time. So how do we, you know, hold ourselves accountable to this goal of shaping and strengthening our culture?
 

Dr. Darryl Rice:

I think what. (pause) In all honesty, I think that's a piece that we're currently doing. And I've been pleasantly surprised. I think in terms of holding ourselves accountable. I'll just use the presidential task force of diversity, equity, and inclusion, because I think that's probably what a lot of people connected to the Miami community is with. Summer Task Force put together this list of 44 recommendations. And we are actually, you guys, you know to your credit Anthony, you guys are tracking. "Hey, this was a recommendation, we like this recommendation we're going to implement this recommendation, in terms of this will help Miami move forward on the DEI efforts. So we're tracking: "Hey, it's not just a recommendation that we thought was cool, but here's the update in terms of this recommendation."

So I think that in itself, having that system of accountability this system of, "Hey, this is what we're doing, like, the committee made this report, we're going to support it. Now focus on the implementation in holding us accountable to getting this work done." So I think any time you have, like, a list, a to-do list, if you will, and we're just checking off the various recommendations...that shows accountability because if there was no list and you kind of did not advertise that we're going to keep track of this, the only people who probably be sending emails are those really vested in diversity, equity, and inclusion as opposed to taking a more proactive approach, having a central location where anyone can go to check, and also sending out those notifications in terms of  "this was a recommendation and this is where we are in terms of our progress and get it accomplished." That's one way.

And then just being accountable to one another. If you see someone acting in a discriminatory way say something, you know, and you don't have to kind of look to be a savior, if you will, but sometimes it's just being in the present just saying. "Yo, that's not cool" because anytime we kind of check behavior and attitudes that go against our values. When that behavior is checked, that is also a form of accountability and that can kind of go a long way. It doesn't necessarily say you have to report this, but on a day-to-day basis if someone gauges, you know, makes a discriminate, off-hand remark, if someone is there to kind of check it right just like "yo that's not cool." That goes a long way in terms of having that other person say okay is it just not me who wants to stand up to this type of behavior that may go against our values.

So those are kind of the various ways we can be accountable. But it's a huge piece, holding ourselves accountable to bring about positive transformative change. That's a huge piece because the recommendations are one thing. But now, implementing them and telling the community: "This is where we are on this recommendation." That's huge in terms of keeping the accountability piece important.

Dr. Anthony James: 

Now that makes sense. I appreciate you sharing that. We've come to the end of our hour. I want to make sure I thank our guest expert on the audio cast today for sharing with us some of his research. We will be sure to post that research so that you have access to it and read it.
 

And we also want to make a plea to the community to join us to be a part of this culture shift that we're trying to do to make this a place that people not only want to come to, but want to stay and continually be part of, but also to help us increase our interest and work with our strategic plan. Thank you so much Darryl for being willing to do this. I appreciate your courage and your passion and willingness to share your thoughts today. Thank you.

Dr. Darryl Rice:

No problem. Thank you for your opportunity.

Dr. Anthony James:

No problem. Everyone, you have a wonderful day. We will post this and we will continue to move forward.

Love and Honor

Dr. Darryl Rice:

Love and Honor