read the full letter here

Minnesota State College Student Association (MSCSA) and Students United sent a joint letter to the Minnesota State Board of Trustees concerning equity and diversity and the work we, as student organizations, believe must get done in order to address the racial disparities at our institutions.

The entire letter is attached to this blog. Below is a brief synopsis of what can be found in the letter.

In the letter, we requested the Board of Trustees make four vital improvements.

  1. Require that a new System Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan be created within 12 months
  2. Double the size of the Equity and Inclusion Office in the system
  3. Bring an Equity Lens to the Board of Trustees
  4. Create benchmarks and timelines to develop a more culturally competent curriculum

Require that a new System Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan be created within 12 months

Currently, Minnesota State has an expired diversity plan and a work plan that will expire at the end of this academic year. Our letter states that “These efforts lacked the appropriate resources and institutional buy-in that is necessary to address a systemic problem like equity in higher education.”

The letter then lays out four key elements for the success of the system’s next diversity plan:

  • Have an independent review of the previous diversity plan
  • Conduct a system-wide climate survey
  • Require meaningful community engagement of all internal and external stakeholders
  • Set clear benchmarks and timelines to complete

Double the size of the Equity and Inclusion Office in the system

We believe the equity office is understaffed and therefore unable to do all the work they would like to do. Increasing the staff size would be a step in the right direction for addressing key issues.

Bring an Equity Lens to the Board of Trustees

We urge the Board of Trustees to lead by example. We gave two specific requests, first to have all Trustees participate in the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) and second to make board recruitment from communities of color a priority.

Create benchmarks and timelines to develop a more culturally competent curriculum

There have been many good discussions on this topic. However, it is time to turn this discussion into action and develop a planning process.

To learn more about our joint letter, we encourage you to read through the entire letter, which is included in this blog.

Any questions or comments can be directed to our Director of System and Government Relations, Sarah Berns, at sberns@studentsunited.org.