UCI suggests changes for more positive campus environment


The recommendations by a task force designed to create a more positive environment for African American students at UC Irvine were made public Tuesday in an email to the campus community.

UCI Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Thomas Parham outlined the recommendations that were submitted by the task force in June and shared what progress has been made, including development of an African American scholars hall and a Black Resource Center.

The university’s Chancellor Howard Gillman established the Task Force on Ensuring a Positive Climate for the Campus’ African American Community in January.

The group was assembled after several UCI administrators received a letter from the campus’ Black Student Union that same month. The letter’s subject line read “Structural and Institutional Changes” and contained nine demands meant to address “structural deficiencies in institutional support for Black students” in the school.

The task force consisted of UCI professors from various disciplines, undergraduate and graduate students — which included two members from the Black Student Union — and other staff members in the school’s academic planning, counseling services and student housing departments.

The group was responsible for examining UC Irvine’s practices as they related to the climate for the school’s African American population.

Among the recommendations, those that have already been implemented include an African American scholars and excellence hall in the Arroyo Vista student housing community.

A Black Resource Center was also approved, according to the statement. Several sites are being considered for the center’s location and a director will soon be recruited.

An effort to add studies that “demonstrate skills to recognize, critically analyze, and question structural systems of oppression” is also underway.

Parham was asked to assemble a group to oversee the implementation of the recommendations, the statement said.

Vice Provost for Academic Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Douglas Haynes is the task force’s current chair.

“Gillman intended the Task Force to have an ongoing function with a dynamic membership,” Parham said in the statement. “We recognize that there is more work to do, and we will remain vigilant in cultivating a welcoming, positive culture.”