Community Statement from Interim President Amy Marcus Newhall
Posted: November 21, 2015
November 21, 2015
To Students, Faculty, and Staff,
I write to you in my role as Interim President of Scripps College. The past few weeks have brought to the forefront at Scripps, the Claremont Colleges, and across the United States the pervasive effects of institutional racism in higher education. I have been deeply moved by our students’ expressions of frustration, disappointment, and sadness. The continued legitimacy and excellence of our colleges and universities depends on our ability to be truly inclusive, especially with regard to students of color and other marginalized students.
The recent protests called attention to racial inequity on our campuses. Unfortunately this problem is not new. Scripps and the Claremont Colleges have been working to dismantle the legacy of institutional racism but we clearly have not made sufficient progress. We simply must do more. Our students of color continue to personally experience the effects of racism in their educational and social lives as they navigate Scripps and the 5C environment. I support the CMCers of Color and all students of color at the Claremont Colleges in their demand for change and the elimination of racism.
The administration continues to engage with students, faculty, and staff regarding these critically important concerns. For example, Charlotte Johnson, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, met with students and is taking specific actions in response to student concerns. In a letter to the students sent yesterday, Dean Johnson expressed her commitment to work toward a fully inclusive environment.
Last week I too met with students during my open office hours. During the conversation, students made it clear that they want action, advocacy, accountability, and empathy. They proposed a number of action items, which I have agreed to support because I believe they are critically important for our community.
Specifically, I will:
Support the increase of funding to Monsour Health Services in collaboration with the other Claremont Colleges.
Work with the Claremont University Consortium (CUC) to review the health care services provided by Monsour to our students (including the effectiveness of the services and the staff diversity) and how to address the current problem of extended wait time to schedule appointments.
Address the Monsour wait time problem in the interim by providing the resources to offset the cost of counseling copays for students who are not able to get appointments at Monsour so our students can have access to the counseling they need to thrive for the rest of the semester and the school year.
Work with the Dean of Students to reach out to students who take personal leaves of absence to better understand why they are on a personal leave of absence and what the College can do for them to facilitate their return to Scripps.
Discuss with the Interim Dean of Faculty and the Director of Human Resources the faculty and staff search committee process of including diverse representatives and recommend that search committees incorporate this consideration when choosing committee members.
Advocate for Scripps College searches to include in their advertisement a requirement that the candidate provide a statement and proof of commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity. In fact, faculty searches include the statement “Preference will be given to applicants with a commitment to the College’s goal of improving higher education for underrepresented students.” and staff searches include the statement “Active support for the College’s Principles of Community and Principles of Diversity in the performance of job duties.” It is important to ensure the implementation process for these statements.
Communicate to the Director of Human Resources and the Interim Dean of Faculty the desire of students to have a voice on search committees by being a voting member.
Promote, through the Interim Dean of Faculty, the importance of faculty training and the encouragement of faculty to seek resources to navigate classroom dialogue regarding power and oppression.
Promote, through the Director of Human Resources, the importance of administration and staff training and the encouragement of administration and staff to seek resources to navigate conversational dialogue regarding power and oppression.
Provide monthly updates to the student body on the steps being taken to address these action items.
Provide semesterly written progress reports on the recommendations that Scripps Students of Color made at the Student Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees in October 2015.
In addition, I will work as the Scripps advocate and representative within the Council of Presidents of the Claremont Colleges. At the consortial level, the Council is proposing a day of dialogue for the 5Cs in the spring semester. We look forward to working with constituencies on campus to generate this programming.
I have scheduled a community forum to discuss how Scripps can be more inclusive and the ways we can enhance support of students of color. I hope you will join me and other senior administrators on Monday, November 23 at 4:15-‐5:30 pm in the Humanities Auditorium for this forum.
Amy Marcus Newhall
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