WASHINGTON, Aug. 4, 2021 - After the murder of George Floyd in the summer of 2020, people across the country, including college students, engaged in massive and sustained protests. Many institutions of higher education released public statements expressing support and solidarity in the days after the protests began. Together with the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE), NASPA (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education) analyzed those statements and the actions taken thereafter. The resulting report, “Moving from Words to Action,” is now available.
“When no one follows up to see what actions were taken, statements are just words,” said Kevin Kruger, president of NASPA. “This report examines what changes institutions have made and shares strategies for increasing racial justice on campuses across the country.”
Researchers conducted a two-part analysis, including a content analysis of public statements and letters released by 230 institutions and a national survey of vice presidents of student affairs and chief diversity officers regarding commonalities and goals across the statements and the types of actions that have followed since then. After seeing an institution’s public statement condemning racism, campus communities may ask how their leadership will back up their promises or whether they will take any meaningful actions at all.
The survey found that 85% of institutions that reportedly issued statements also took action in at least one of the following areas: Resource Investment, Hiring & Recruitment, Education & Training, Data Assessment, Pedagogy & Curricula; Public Statues & Buildings, and Campus Police Reform. Findings indicate that racial justice efforts prior to George Floyd’s murder primarily focused on education and training, and that changes implemented within the first eight months that followed focused on actions related to resource investment, with 37% of institutions starting to fund new initiatives related to DEI work, 28% seeking new grant funding and donations for DEI-related initiatives, and 21% hiring additional staff for the central DEI office. While there are a variety of other actions now being taken by institutions, most respondents indicate that these are still in progress.
“Colleges and universities cannot hope to confront the impact of racial injustice without fully examining and reviewing their systems at every level, and we hope this research helps all institutions to begin or continue that process,” said report co-author Paulette Granberry Russell, president of NADOHE.
The full report includes the results of the statement content analysis and the survey, as well as information about actions being taken by institutions, providing a useful roadmap of possible actions for those institutions still developing their approach to racial justice on campus.
To access the full report, visit https://naspa.org/report/moving-from-words-to-action-the-influence-of-racial-justice-statements-on-campus-equity-efforts.
NASPA is the leading association for the advancement, health, and sustainability of the student affairs profession. Our work provides high-quality professional development, advocacy, and research for 15,000 members in all 50 states, 25 countries, and 8 U.S. territories.
NADOHE serves as the preeminent voice for diversity officers in higher education. Its vision is to lead higher education towards inclusive excellence through institutional transformation.