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Diversity and Inclusion in SIPS: Discussion with Graduate Students

Meeting Minutes
July 29, 2020 via Zoom
Minutes: Cindy Twardokus

The meeting was attended by thirty-eight people which included members of the SIPS Executive Committee, Directors of Graduate Studies and Graduate students.

Purpose and goal of meeting (Chris and Hale)

  • Chris –
    • ‘What can we do to increase diversity, equality, inclusion, anti-racism and social justice within SIPS?’
    • Meeting scheduled to gain insight from graduate students.
    • The Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Council on the Ithaca campus with coordinate with the D&I Council on the Geneva campus. As each campus has different needs, there is justification for separate, yet coordinated councils.
    • Hale – Goal today is to listen. Ideas will be presented and discussion welcomed.

Introductions

All attendees introduced themselves along with a statement of what they hoped to gain from the meeting.

Summary of SIPS Culture Change Proposed Action Plan shared by Hale:

(https://docs.google.com/document/d/1iw0BO-Lt00hJ0w2BMLs-VdnXy9qcuBxf0ekqoHEp9X4/edit)

1. New D&I Council

  • Concern voiced about why and how decisions were made as to who would serve on the D&I Council. Suggested that process was not transparent and that some graduate students were unaware there would be a vote to choose representatives to the council.
  • Questions raised as to the purpose/function of the council
  • With the addition of the new D&I Council, issue raised about the future of SIPS-ABC group.
  • Concerns acknowledged and questions responded to with explanation that intent was for graduate students to choose their own council representatives; the council will function as a centralized group making decisions regarding diversity and inclusion issues in SIPS through coordination and representation of all sections; the council will build on rather than replace the work of the SIPS-ABC group and act to re-energize the group by providing a leadership structure.
  • Suggestion made to let the SIPS Graduate School Council choose two representatives from each section.
  • Suggestion made for first order of business should be to draft a governance document stating charge of the council and detailing operating procedures. This document would help provide continuity of the council. Document should be made available to entire SIPS community for comments.

2. Update 2017 gender and diversity audit

Data has been collected and results will be posted to SIPS website.

3 – 11. See “Summary of SIPS Culture Change Proposed Action Plan.”

Other subjects discussed:

  • How will council keep all of SIPS informed and how will SIPS hold people accountable and enforce actions of the council?
  • Hale serves as the D&I representative on the SIPS Executive Committee
  • Mandatory training?
  • Communicate and accept feedback on actions in positive manner
  • Expectation of positive social norms
  • Make D&I involvement a part of the annual performance review
  • Continue to grow and develop a process for communication/transparency
  • Concerns raised that some PI’s may push back on the idea of graduate students spending time away from research to serve on D&I Council. General response that students should be allowed to serve as good citizens and that perhaps service could be rewarded by acknowledgement of participation in letters of recommendation. Also, PI’s who push back should be encouraged to think about all working for the good of society.
  • SIPS intends to recognize all of the prior, current and future student contributions that are not part of the council.
  • Chris summarized the SIPS leadership structure noting that decisions concerning graduate students are made by the graduate fields.
  • Jenny stated that allyship is needed to increase diversity within SIPS in addition to emphasizing the need for extension activities that reach a broader cross-section of stakeholders in the state

Action items:

  • The SIPS Graduate School Council will decide the appropriate number and selection process for graduate student representatives to the SIPS D&I Council. The Council will also choose their representatives and submit a list to Hale Tufan by September 1, 2020.
  • The SIPS Graduate School Council will decide how often graduate students will meet with the SIPS Executive Committee and Directors of Graduate Studies and what topics will be discussed.
  • Discussion will take place on the future of SIPS-ABC in regards to the newly established SIPS D&I Council.
  • Survey will be conducted to evaluate this meeting.
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