Diversity, Equity, and Belonging

 

Alumni and Parent Relations' commitments towards furthering racial and social equity will be tracked here. Please refer back to this page as updates are made.

This will take time and we are committed to doing the work, no matter the cost, no matter how long it takes. We are motivated to engage in thoughtful conversations that connect all Pilots in caring deeply for the UP community. We invite you to share your feedback by emailing alumni@up.edu or parents@up.edu and to join us in working to create a more just, equitable, and compassionate world.

 

Our Commitment to Action

July 4, 2020

Dear University of Portland Alumni & Parents,

We are inspired every day to create belonging, connection and stakeholdership for all of our University of Portland alumni and parents. We intentionally build Pilot communities around the country with the aim of our students, alumni, and parents feeling welcomed wherever they go. As the world is bearing witness to the substantially important work to be done for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), a mirror has been held up to UP through the stories shared on Instagram @blackatuniversityofportland. Additionally, we acknowledge the recently released opinion piece published on The Beacon, our student newspaper, and we stand with our brave colleague. We believe her, and we resent that our community failed all those who have shared their experiences. The powerful accounts highlight that the welcoming, nurturing, and supportive UP community that exists for many, does not in actuality exist for every Pilot.

Unmet expectations concerning racial and social justice of our fellow Pilots is anathema to the thriving University community our office is dedicated to building. To date, our efforts to truly support all Pilots have been flawed and insufficient. We stand firm in the importance of acknowledging those flaws through vulnerable conversations. We must confront uncomfortable realities, and as community members commit to substantive progress.

As the Office of Alumni & Parent Relations, we commit to:

1) Participating in and completing training that covers unconscious bias, cultural responsiveness, and language that exacerbates sexist and racist discrimination.

2) Engaging alumni leaders (e.g., National Alumni Board, GOLD Board, and Chapter leaders) in that same training.

3) Formulating new recruitment methods for Board membership and alumni leadership roles that meaningfully diversifies the representation of alumni voices.

4) Partnering with alumni volunteers to create identity-based affinity chapters by January 2021, including a Black Alumni Chapter, a Latinx Alumni Chapter, and a Pacific Islander Alumni Chapter.

In the interest of transparency, we will share our progress towards these commitments publicly on our website (up.edu/alumni). The list above is by no means comprehensive. It’s merely a start. We are motivated to engage in thoughtful conversations that connect all Pilots in caring deeply for the UP community while also helping hold one another accountable through vulnerable and honest dialogue. Because we care about the Pilots who have gone before us, the Pilots currently in our care as students, and the Pilots yet to join the UP family, we invite community members to continue sharing their voice at @blackatunviersityofportland. We also extend an open invitation to connect with our office.

In Solidarity,

The Office of Alumni & Parent Relations

Evan Falkenthal

Anna Horlacher ’12, ’20

Sarah Kuenzi

Nancy Nofziger

Kathryn Seccombe

Craig A. Swinyard, Ph.D. ’98

 

Tracking Our Commitments

1) Participating in and completing training that covers unconscious bias, cultural responsiveness, and language that exacerbates sexist and racist discrimination.

  • 7/10 Update: The Office of Alumni & Parent Relations (A&PR) vetting possible options and training modules.
  • 10/2 Update: A&PR staff has completed an 8-part training learning from experts on how to: 
    • Understand and confront unconscious bias
    • Have inclusive conversations and communicate across cultures
    • Create diverse and inclusive workplaces

2) Engaging alumni leaders (e.g., National Alumni Board, GOLD Board, and Chapter leaders) in that same training.

  • 7/10 Update: Internal research is being done to develop a baseline understanding of our current racial/ethnic makeup of alumni leadership.
  • 10/2 Update: A “Work For Equity” lunch and learn model is being created with weekly curriculum and reflective discussion space for all chapter leaders. 

3) Formulating new recruitment methods for Board membership and alumni leadership roles that meaningfully diversifies the representation of alumni voices.

  • 7/10 Update: A&PR staff is having conversations with alumni who were student leaders in various student clubs (e.g., Black Student Union, Latinx Student Union, Filipino American Student Association, Womxn of Color) to learn how to improve outreach.
  • 10/2 Update: A&PR is working on a more structured, equitable method for recruiting alumni leaders, yet still has significant work to do in this area. 

4) Partnering with alumni volunteers to create identity-based affinity chapters by January 2021, including a Black Alumni Chapter, a Latinx Alumni Chapter, and a Pacific Islander Alumni Chapter.

  • 7/10 Update: A&PR is continuing to talk with alumni about how to best create a supportive alumni chapter structure. Large call to take place later in July to formalize a plan.
  • 10/2 Update: A committee of eleven alumni has formed and multiple meetings have been held to discuss the needs and priorities of an alumni chapter structure. Thus far, interest has been expressed in one larger and collaborative identity-based chapter rather than individual identity chapters. A survey is being created to ensure that the University has accurate demographic data so that we can then engage and support historically marginalized voices in identifying priorities and next steps.  

Additional Updates: 

  • 10/2 Update: Pursuing translation options for the Office of Alumni & Parent Relations’ communications in English and Spanish.  

Resources for Alumni

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Resources for UP Parents