Last Monday, graduate students gathered to discuss the new InclusiveVT initiatives and the needs of graduate students at Virginia Tech. Here is a brief summary of the topics discussed. Post your comments and resources related to these topics in the comments section!
- There is a lack of minority faculty/leadership on campus who can serve as mentors to minority students.
- Inherently, minorities are burdened with many responsibilities beyond those of the majority, which makes it more difficult to achieve career goals (i.e., promotion and tenure).
- Minority allies are often not properly equipped to take on additional responsibilities.
- A system to report and follow up on issues raised with specific faculty, staff, or students either does not exist or is not publicized.
- Mandate training at all University levels (executive, administrative, faculty, staff, graduate students, undergraduate students) that presents overarching topics as well as provides solutions to level-specific issues (i.e., explain how a faculty member regained control of the classroom when a threatening situation arose.)
- Each program/department could have an advocate with whom faculty and students could discuss issues and create action plans to mitigate future situations.
- Develop and advertise a method for the community to provide “tips” on individuals who have acted against the University’s Principles of Community.
- Add external auditing to current in-house checks and balances to ensure an unbiased review of the University.
- Language barriers make it difficult for international students to make friends with students who don’t speak their language.
- Public transportation, especially outside of Blacksburg during breaks, is difficult to find.
- International students can feel transient, at at times unwelcomed by domestic students, and therefore not partake in programs.
- Establish connections between international and domestic students for cultural and language exchange.
- Allow international students to opt-in to a listserve with other students from their home country.
- Provide information about campus-wide culture, clubs, organizations, and activities during orientation.
- Are graduate teaching assistants protected by the VT anti-discrimination policy?
- A student’s identity in the classroom may different from their identities elsewhere.
- University forms often inquire about a student’s sex.
- Many people use non-inclusive language with regard to sex and gender.
- Provide training to teaching assistants and faculty regarding gender expression and gender identity with regard to curricula, controlling a classroom, and overall VT policy.
- Eliminate questions regarding sex on university forms other than for purposes of identifying anatomy, where necessary (i.e., Schiffert Health Center).
- Educate the community on when to use what language with regard to sex and gender.