Housing and Residence Life Call to Action

  • Black Lives Matter. Housing and Residence Life has a responsibility and a desire to address and dismantle barriers oppressing our Black students and colleagues. We are committing to a departmental action plan that will be informed by direct input from the communities we serve. We approach this long-term work with open minds and open hearts; injustice and inequity cannot have a home with us. Our Black community and all community members with marginalized identities unequivocally deserve affirmation, respect, and equity.

Values

  • We include, value and trust each other.

  • We insist on a culture of respect, and recognize that words and actions matter. The absence of action and words also matter.

  • We appreciate and acknowledge our differences.

  • We treat all people with dignity, open-mindedness, and esteem.

  • We respect that each of us is at a different place in this process.

  • Our values are strengthened when all members of our Housing and Residence Life community have a voice and are encouraged to contribute.

Action Statements

  • (We will update progress in our action plan monthly on our website)

  • 1. Examine and assess current practices, protocols, and policies within Housing and Residence Life to ensure inclusion and appropriateness. Recommend changes when needed for the betterment of our students and staff.

  • 2. Disaggregate data to make sound and just decisions.

  • 3. Commit to continuing education on racism inequality for all staff through workshops, training, challenging the status quo and building in experiences to push all members of the Department of Housing and Residence Life.

  • 4. Develop and adhere to a “Call to Action” plan for the department that includes a) general statement, b) value statement, and c) action statements (a living document).

  • 5. We will develop a “Student Voice Advisory Committee.”

  • 6. Establish and maintain regular meetings with student leadership to share information and receive feedback.

  • 7. Develop a detailed explanation of the conduct process, confrontation related to policies, and Department of Public Safety (DPS) involvement.

  • 8. Hold all students accountable, through our educational conduct process, for any behavior that does not align with being a positive member of the Housing and Residence Life community and the values we have put forth.

2020-21 Progress

  • 1. Examine and assess
    1. Made our Call to Action statement visible to students, parents and WMU community in an effort to educate on our Departmental values and beliefs.
    2. Put together a bank of programming tools based on inclusion for student staff to use to aid their programmatic efforts throughout the housing portfolio.
    3. Used our social media outlets to recognize and celebrate diverse groups of people and their contributions to the land on which we are physically built. 
    4. Reviewed various policy and procedural practices in place in an effort to rid them of practices that may be discriminatory or support systemic racism (example: housing sign up moved from first come, first served, to a lottery system).
    5. Assessed and adjusted recruitment strategies in an effort to be more inclusive.
    6. Continually receive student feedback on how to appropriately serve students based on their needs.
    7. Developing a Doing Your Own Work process for professional staff in an effort to express the importance of work on inclusion and build in accountability.
  • 2. Disaggregate data
    1. Examined the student perception survey and responses to questions about inclusivity.
    2. Examined the conduct process and make adjustments accordingly to better support students of color and insure the process is void of discriminatory practices.
    3. Use informal student feedback, at the hall level, to better align hall practices.
  • 3. Commit to continuing education on racism inequality
    1. At all staff levels, engage in weekly participation in the study of articles, current events, talk backs, webinars, videos etc. around areas of racial inequality
    2. Build in the above research to be incorporated in weekly programming and information placed in and around each hall.
    3. Conduct ongoing trainings for Housing staff.
  • 4. Develop and adhere to a “Call to Action” plan
    1. Created a Departmental Call to Action plan to organize our departmental values, vocalize what we stand for, and shape how we make our decisions that impact our students
    2. Some residence halls worked with their student staff to create a more specific Call to Action for their building in an effort to take the Departmental one and pair it down to be specific and tangible for their buildings.
    3. Continue to reflect on Call to Action weekly to ensure Housing staff is living it out in everything they are doing.
  • 5. We will develop a “Student Voice Advisory Committee.”
    1. Student staff met directly with the Director of Housing to discuss various topic areas.
    2. A Departmental Student Voice Advisory Committee is currently being developed.
  • 6. Establish and maintain regular meetings with student leadership
    1. Solicited feedback from student staff.
    2. Monthly meetings, at the building level, with student staff.
    3. A Departmental Student Voice Advisory Committee is currently being developed.
    4. A Resident Assistant Council is currently being developed.
  • 7. Develop a detailed explanation of the conduct process
    1. Engaged in multiple intentional conversations with DPS, at all staff levels, to have transparent conversation around issues involving safety and concerns expressed regarding our students of color.
    2. Providing the same level of explanation to all residents if/when they are documented, and follow up with any documented resident on their input regarding how the documentation process went.
    3. Trained Housing staff on when it is appropriate to include DPS in the documentation process and when it is not.
  • 8. Hold all students accountable
    1. Hold educational discussions with staff and students about the impact of racism and discrimination.
    2. Training on how to not be a bystander when hearing of issues around racism and discrimination.

CTA Spotlight

October 2020:  Valaree Kyser, hall director, Eicher/LeFevre Hall

Valaree has personified the Housing’s Call to Action on diversity in the month of October. The nomination noted, "Ms. Kyser has not only instilled the values of our plan by addressing and dismantling barriers oppressing our Black students and colleagues with her staff and residents but has also shown her commitment to continuing education on racism inequalities both from her position as hall director and as an FYE instructor. She engages in critical conversations with students about their roles and responsibilities in an unjust society."

January 2021:  Alex Peterson, hall director, Eldridge/Fox Hall

Alex was nominated by two of his peers.  Alex has impacted multiple areas of the CTA, but we are recognizing him for his focus on his commitment to continuing education on racism inequality.   To quote his nomination, "Alex is always looking for ways to continue his and his staff's education on racism and inequality. From attending the local Summit on Racism every year to attending the Restorative Justice Symposium at MSU for multiple years, Alex is putting in the work to grow. Furthermore, he works to share what he's learned with his peers and the department."