Chancellor Malatras Directs SUNY-Wide Survey and Comprehensive Review of Discrimination and Racial Inequities on All Campuses

February 26, 2021

Survey to Launch by September 1 with Resulting Reports to be Shared Widely with Campuses to Include Outcomes and an Assessment of the Campus’ Progress to Create a More Inclusive Climate; Will be Conducted Across SUNY Campuses Biennially

Survey Was a Recommendation from the 25-Point Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Action Plan Released Yesterday


Albany, NY
–State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras announced today that SUNY will conduct a survey starting September 1st that will provide a comprehensive review of discrimination and racial inequities on all campuses. When completed, reports will be shared widely with campuses, and will include outcomes and an assessment of the campus’ progress to create a more inclusive climate based on a survey of all students, faculty, and staff. The survey was recommended in the 25-point Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan released yesterday during the Board of Trustees meeting.

Official statistics relating to racial bias incidents are often under-reported, and may not reveal the extent of any issues on a particular campus. The data collected can inform on persistent issues, identify potential issues for each campus, and guide future diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. SUNY will model its new biennial climate survey from its sexual assault and harassment survey.

"Ignorance of problems don’t make the problems any less real to students, faculty, and staff facing discrimination. That is why we must waste no time in implementing SUNY’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan recommendation to conduct a systemwide racial equity survey in order to uncover incidents of racial bias and discrimination, reviewing the inequities at all levels on our campuses, and taking the evidence to make real and meaningful change," said Chancellor Malatras. "Together, based from the information we will gain from our students, faculty, and staff across all our campuses, we can create a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable learning and campus environment for all of SUNY."

SUNY Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer Teresa A. Miller said, “We recognize that our 25-point plan is a blueprint for further embedding the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion into the fabric of our system. One of our most critical actions is to conduct a SUNY-wide biennial survey of the climate on our campuses—we cannot know if we're moving the needle on our diversity, equity, and inclusion goals if we don't have the data that allows us to measure our progress. SUNY has successfully conducted systemwide surveys in the past. We will build upon this infrastructure to measure the climates on our 64 campuses. These data will help SUNY make informed decisions at every step as we implement the action plan.”

Chancellor Malatras announced the start of the process to develop a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan in September 2020 and charged a comprehensive assessment of racial equity gaps be completed and recommendations be provided by winter 2021. Chancellor Malatras appointed SUNY's Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer, Teresa Miller, to be the lead on overseeing the process. The plan was developed in collaboration with a broad cross section of stakeholders including SUNY Board Vice Chairman Cesar Perales, Trustees Marcos A. Crespo, Eunice A. Lewin, Stanley S. Litow, and Camille Joseph Varlack; SUNY leadership; faculty; student organizations; and experts within the SUNY Empire Shirley Chisholm Center for Equity Studies and the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government. Members of the SUNY community were invited to provide feedback and recommendations as well.

SUNY has quickly begun implementing the recommendations from the 25-Point Action Plan. Yesterday, the Board of Trustees immediately adopted one of the Action Plan’s recommendations, creating a Board Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee to review SUNY racial equity policy. Chairman Merryl H. Tisch appointed Trustees Marcos A. Crespo and Camille Joseph Varlack as co-chairs of the committee.

The 25-point action plan is designed to create a more inclusive, representative SUNY, and to achieve equity in student success outcomes. It includes:

Close Student Academic Equity Gaps
  • Strengthen and expand Opportunity Programs
  • Expand Re-Enroll to Complete programs to close persistent equity gaps
  • Develop a robust policy to expand college credit for life and work experience
  • Expand successful programs to support and recognize Indigenous learning across SUNY System
Create a More Inclusive Culture at SUNY
  • Develop a model diversity training program for campuses
  • Conduct a SUNY-Wide biennial climate survey
  • Review and enhance SUNY’s mission statement to expressly support diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Expand programs dedicated to the social-emotional and academic development of students of color
  • Expand clubs and other formal student organizations for students of color
  • Create a system-wide research institute on racial equity that focuses on African American studies
  • Create a permanent process to address diversity, equity, and inclusion at the Board of Trustees level
Embed Racial Equity into Curriculum and Toward Racial Equity
  • Incorporate diversity in General Education requirements
  • Update criminal justice curriculum
  • Develop a process to share best practices or best in class in embedding racial equity into curriculum
Strengthen Institutional Role of the Chief Diversity Officer on Every Campus
  • Conduct a System-wide audit of the impact and effectiveness of the Chief Diversity Officer role on every campus
  • Update policy to ensure that CDOs report directly to presidents at every campus
  • Ensure CDOs have sufficient resources to carry out their roles and responsibilities
  • Require that any hiring or change in employment status of a CDO be reported to the System Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Increase Diversity of Faculty and Staff at SUNY
  • Expand the PRODiG program to better serve SUNY’s community colleges
  • Establish a Black Leadership Academy
  • Forge partnerships between Educational Opportunity Centers and University Police Departments to recruit campus police officers in communities of color
  • Form a partnership with New York State Department of Civil Service to remove barriers to applicants to law enforcement positions
  • Create a public safety micro-credential to create education and workforce opportunities in law enforcement for students of color
  • Increase diversity within all candidate pools for non-faculty campus hiring
  • Expand campus participation in New York Higher Education Recruitment Consortia (HERCs)

For the full SUNY Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Phase One Action Plan, please click here.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.3 million students in credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2021, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit suny.edu.


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