Social Justice

The New Normal

In response to an interview question this morning about the needs of students of color on campuses, I said they need white administrators, faculty and staff who consistently demonstrate the competence to create inclusive campus environments for all students and to dismantle any racist policies, practices and programs that exist. And I am now remembering something I said during a panel at the ACPA 2013 Convention: “There is a new normal ~ It is no longer acceptable for student affairs staff to not demonstrate a moderate, continuously developing, level of awareness and skill around issues of equity, inclusion, and social justice.”

We can no longer afford to have lower expectations of our colleagues in relation to equity, inclusion and social justice. Leaders and supervisors must hold all staff accountable for demonstrating the capacity to develop programs, services, policies, and practices that support the academic success and resilience of all our students, in all of their intersecting group identities.

It must become the “new normal” that everyone we hire, supervise, and promote clearly understands that multicultural competence is a central, critical component of a student affairs practitioner in 2013. No exceptions. No excuses.

That being said, we are each on a learning curve in our own development journey.  Student affairs and academic affairs leaders need to develop intentional, long-term plans for the professional development of all staff/faculty and link these to the performance management processes. We can no longer tolerate mediocracy and inattention ~ we could not survive if we tolerated it in budget and finance processes, and we will not survive, and our students will not succeed, if we tolerate it in relation to equity, inclusion, and social justice.

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