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The Many Faces of Structural Racism: A Campus Conversation- Q&A Responses

Thank you to the 600 members of our community who attended The Many Faces of Structural Racism: A Campus Conversation on June 18. We deeply appreciate the time and expertise of our panel members and the thoughtful feedback from our community. Many community members submitted questions during the event, but were not responded to live due to time constraints. Please view those questions and responses below.  Thank you for you patience as these questions were answered in a thorough, thoughtful way that required collaboration of many groups at UMBC.

What is the institution’s plan to create equity-minded leaders? This approach is needed across institutional departments from the top down to assist with systemic change. View Response

When will UMBC begin to honor Native land at all of its events? Why are there no demographics for Native students? Why is there no American Indian student union? View Response

Racism/prejudice is not new. As an immigrant, I have personally been told to “go back to your country” more than once.  I actually think that Trump has been good for America, as it has brought it out into the open and the subject is now being talked about. I think it is important to not shut out those voices. I would rather be a positive example and use reason and education to change bigotry and prejudice. View Response

Five years ago after the Baltimore uprisings, many began to reckon with how few Baltimore City Public School students were admitted and came to UMBC. Since then, what steps have we taken to increase that number?  What actions will we continue to take to recruit more BCPS students?  And, how do we use this disparity to hold up the mirror and look at ourselves when we say in the campus wide email that there is relatively no achievement gap? How can we reckon with the fact that there is a significantly high opportunity gap to begin with at least for our Baltimore City School youth? How can we improve the pipeline for black students entering college? What role can UMBC play in disrupting the school to prison pipeline for youth in Baltimore and surrounding communities? View Response

UMBC sent an email saying there was no achievement gap. What evidence backs up that claim? View Response

There is always the default response to incidents of bias to try dialogue (try to address the issue with the closest person in hierarchy and work one’s way up the chain of command), yet there is research that shows that such issues are overwhelmingly under-reported and, for that reason, they continue to occur. View Response

How do we hold faculty accountable for their actions when they determine whether someone passes or fails based on their race? View Response

Students and others have had issues with some professors, but it is difficult to come forward because said people have so much power that we do not know if we will be believed, and said microaggressions are difficult (if not impossible) to prove. How do you combat microaggressions and small racist acts from professors and staff who are deeply entrenched in UMBC?  If one has clearly seen cases of differential treatment and/or microaggressions what would you suggest they do about it? View Response

The prison-industrial complex is one of the most salient current-day examples of structural racism, and ceasing to purchase furniture, office supplies, and other materials made by prison labor would signify a genuine commitment to ending these patterns and send a powerful message to both the campus community and the country at large. How does the university plan to respond to the demand, to lobby for the repeal of the state requirement to purchase from Maryland Correctional Enterprises? View Response

I would love to hear an opinion on why African-Americans are so despised. View Response

Why are we not talking about how “all lives matter”? Why is it important to say “Black lives matter”?  View Response

How is a Center for Democracy and Civic Life that fails to name structural racism or center the experiences of people of color equipped to move these discussions into action for the student body? View Response

Why is there no mandatory class/seminar about structural racism? View Response

How can we treat the centuries long pandemic of structural racism a similar priority to this more recent pandemic? What do you think we’d need to do right now? How would we move beyond campus conversations and into strategic action?  What is stopping us from doing this and where are the gaps? What actions are you prepared to take to dismantle systemic racism at UMBC? View Response

For Black staff and faculty the issues that we have lived with for our entire lives are now on display. This sometimes complicates our working relationship with our white colleagues. What are your suggestions on how Black staff/faculty can navigate these relationships. Specifically, when we don’t want to talk about what’s going on? I’m Black and in a UMBC department and field with little racial diversity. I have experienced several situations where comments were made about my race or appearance by colleagues, and I struggled to figure out how to report these incidences because I wasn’t sure what the desired outcome should be. I don’t think these were firing-level offenses… but I need support to explain to my colleagues why these comments are isolating or unprofessional. What would you suggest? View Response

Another thing that has frequently happened is discrimination and questioning of mental health and invisible disability even when SDS has sent a letter to professors. What can students do about that? View Response

In light of the growing concerns that people of color across the country have expressed with respect to their interactions with members of the police force, has the UMBC administration made any changes or reforms with respect to the armed police at the UMBC campus ? If yes, what are they? View Response

Will there be a commitment from UMBC to diversify OIA which is about 85% white and specifically the communications team which has only one brown person and no black people and had never hired any brown and black people, until now, in its 50 year history? View Response

It is quite sad and depressing that we have to talk about color and race in times of pandemic. Furthermore, we are living in the information age where science and technology should be on the pedestal and not color disputes.  The harsh truth is that we are living in a hypocritical society, where people talk about it but do not implement those actions in their real lives. Policies and laws would not make a difference either.  What are some optimal solutions to ending racism in this country? View Response

In its commitment to creating structural change, what efforts will UMBC be prioritizing for LGBT faculty, staff, and students of color? I would like to know if in the conversation about structural racism we can include LGBTQ, Hispanic, LatinX, Women, and class/track/type racism in academia?  (i.e., oppression over minorities and oppression over faculty members that are not on a tenure track). View Response

I’m black and LGBTQ+, so it makes me uncomfortable to know that Chick-fil-A remains on campus. They have been outed in the past for donating to anti-LGBTQ+ organizations and were major donors to Trump’s campaign. Why hasn’t UMBC addressed this issue? View Response

When are students going to be offered a chance to speak up about our own experiences? I think that hearing from students would be beneficial as it could inform UMBC about the culture that is going on behind the scenes. How will we continue this conversation AND look to center the voices of students and community members? View Response

How will faculty who are not inclined to weave anti-racist pedagogy into their work be trained to do so? What about those who refuse to do so? View Response