Quarterly forum talks class of 2021, new faculty hires
The Santa Clara
May 18, 2017
The last Unity 4 event of the school year included a presentation on the Task Force and Blue Ribbon Commission, class of 2021 undergraduate acceptance updates, faculty searches and training updates and support for undocumented students.
The May 9 forum started out event- fully, delayed by 20 minutes due to a re alarm sounding in the De Saisset Museum.
There were six administrative panelists who took turns presenting segments of the evening’s event focused on diversity and inclusion.
Afterwards, they participated in open discussion with students.
The forum, hosted by the Office for Multicultural Learning (OML), is a quarterly event held as an opportunity for the administration to update the community regarding the university’s progress in specific areas.
The panelists included University President Father Michael Engh, S.J.; Interim Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Associate Elsa Chen; Interim Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion Brett Solomon; Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dennis Jacobs; Director of LEAD Scholars Program Erin Kimura-Walsh and Dean of Undergraduate Admission Eva Blanco.
According to Blanco, the expected number for the incoming class of 2021 is 1,380 students. Of this number, 5.6 percent of students identify as black or multiethnic.
“We expect our underrepresented students—if history serves us well—to actually hold steady,” Blanco said. “So this will actually turn into a very solid six percent. We’re very happy with the diversity we’re achieving.”
One of Unity 4’s original tactics was to increase the black population on campus to six percent by 2020.
Sophomore Kayla Williams said that she was not impressed with the 5.6 percentage for the class of 2021.
“I already knew that black people (at Santa Clara make up) approximately 3 percent (of the student body) and multiethnic almost doubles those numbers,” she said. “I do recognize, however, that these numbers seem smaller when not everyone with my ethnic background actively engages and seeks out our black community for support, friendship and resources.”
According to Blanco, there are increased efforts and initiatives to engage the interest of minority applicants, such as an engineering call campaign, enhancements to diversity overnights, waived application fees, more visits to targeted areas and covering the cost of air travel.
Williams said she is not an active member of Unity 4, but is a supporter and advocate for minority students at Santa Clara. “I decided to attend [the forum] to hold (the) administration accountable for their duty to serve the best interest of their students and being a number in the crowd to show students care about diversity and inclusion on campus,” Williams said.
In the spring of 2016, the Once for Diversity and Inclusion began working with departments planning to employ new tenure-stream faculty in order to promote inclusive recruitment and hiring, according to Solomon.
“The inclusive search activity…has helped us across 20 academic searches in the past year to recruit a great crop of new faculty,” Jacobs said.
He said that for the 2017-18 academic year, 45 percent of new hires are women, 15 percent are Latinx and five percent are black.
The final portion of the forum focused around support for undocumented students.
“After summer, we went into the craziness of fall, and of course, the election happened,” Kimura-Walsh said. “We had a new president and issues around serving our immigrant students, our undocumented students, became more pressing.”
Since January, initiatives to address the needs of undocumented students have been explored, such as protocol if Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents come onto campus.
Kimura-Walsh said there are several on-campus resources available to undocumented students, such as the Undocumented Student Support Working Group, LEAD Scholars Program staff and website, undocumented student resource day and a CAPS waiver.
Contact Erin Fox at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.