Student Demands

All members of the community have a right and a responsibility to make their voices heard in shaping an environment that meets the needs of all who learn, live and work at Puget Sound. Over time, Puget Sound students have generated demands and held protests to amplify their concerns and accelerate action to advance an institutional commitment to becoming a fully welcoming and inclusive community.

Our collective efforts are a work in progress, and reflect the contributions of many across the university. Below are links to three sets of demands, followed by themes that have emerged and examples of actions that have been taken to date. This webpage is a work in progress.

Multi-Identity Based Union (2021)  Advocates for Institutional Change (2015)  Coalition Against Injustice and Racism (2008)

THEMES EMERGING FROM DEMANDS OVER TIME

Curriculum
Calling for a decolonized curriculum that reflects the histories and lived experiences of a broad range of cultures and communities.

  • The Knowledge, Identity and  Power graduation requirement was implemented to help students develop their understanding of the dynamics and consequences of power differentials, inequalities and divisions among social groups, and the relationship of these issues to the representation and production of knowledge (2015).
  • New majors: African American Studies (fall 2016) and Gender and Queer Studies (2019-20). Current areas of study also include Asian Languages and Cultures, Asian Studies, Global Development Studies, Hispanic Studies, Latin American Studies, and Latina/o Studies. There are courses and course content related to Indigenous Studies, but there is not a formal department or program of study at this time.
  • Freedom Education Project Puget Sound (FEPPS) became a signature initiative of the university; the first Associate of Arts degrees were awarded to women at Washington Corrections Center (2016) and the university launched a bachelor’s degree program for incarcerated women (2020-21).

Facilities
Creating a physical campus that supports the goal of being a fully inclusive, welcoming and accessible community.

  • Periodic accessibility studies are conducted to help inform prioritization of enhancements to Puget Sound’s 97-acre campus and 1.5 million square feet of building space.

  • The university consulted with students and invested $500,000 in renovations to the Student Diversity Center and Social Justice Center, connected by an accessible outdoor pavilion and located across the street from the Center for Intercultural and Civic Engagement (now the Center for Student Support), which opened in fall 2016.

  • 32 all-gender restrooms have been added in public spaces in 19 campus buildings since 2007, in addition to options within residential spaces. Existing restrooms were upgraded for accessibility in six buildings (ongoing).
  • Elevators have been installed or upgraded over the past decade in Kittredge Hall, Collins Memorial Library, Wheelock Student Center, Thomas Hall, Weyerhaeuser Hall, Memorial Fieldhouse, and the Welcome Center, in addition to previously installed elevators in Harned Hall, Howarth Hall, Jones Hall, Kilworth Chapel, McIntyre Hall, the Music Building, Phibbs Hall, Thompson Hall, Trimble Hall, and Wyatt Hall. Accessibility lifts have been installed in Harned Hall, the Norton Clapp Theatre stage in Jones Hall, and the Kilworth Chapel stage.
  • Accessibility ramps have been added or improved for the Social Justice Center, Student Diversity Center, Student Activities office, Residence Life office, Communications office, and Human Resources office (ongoing).
  • President Crawford appointed the Committee to Recommend Principles on the Renaming of University Buildings and Spaces (2020).

Student Recruitment
Broadening outreach to underrepresented students, improving affordability, and removing barriers to access.

  • The Tacoma Public Schools Commitment was created to meet the full demonstrated financial need of up to 30 eligible first-year students per year who are graduates from Tacoma Public Schools (2014).
  • The Access Scholars Program and Access Scholars Cohort (2015) were developed to prepare middle and high school students for college and create a supportive cohort for entering first-year students who are alumni of the program.
  • The Posse Scholars partnership was announced to bring to campus and provide full tuition, room and board scholarships to "posses" of 10 outstanding young leaders from diverse backgrounds in the San Francisco Bay area each year (2015).
  • Puget Sound became test-optional effective with classes entering in fall 2016 to remove barriers associated with standardized testing and strengthen a holistic admission process (2015).
  • The Strategic Enrollment Planning Task Force was formed to create comprehensive and integrated undergraduate and graduate enrollment plans (2020-21).
  • Virtual tours are available in English, Spanish and Mandarin.
  • From fall 2010 to fall 2020, the percentage of students who identified as undergraduate minoritized students increased from 20.7% to 30.3%, and the percentage of underrepresented students increased from 10.9% to 17.6%.

  • The one-year retention rate for students entering in fall 2010 was 88% (89% for students identifying as white; 86% for students identifying as minoritized; and 87% for students identifying as underrepresented). For students entering in fall 2019, the one-year retention rate was 76% (74% white, 79% minoritized and 78% underrepresented).

  • The four-year graduation rate for undergraduates entering in fall 2007 was 68% (68% for students identifying as white; 69% for students identifying as minoritized; and 62% for students identifying as underrepresented). For undergraduates entering in fall 2016, 70% graduated in spring 2020 (73% white, 63% minoritized and 60% underrepresented).

Student Support
Supporting students of all backgrounds and abilities in finding success at Puget Sound.

  • The Black Alumni Union was formed to mentor and support students (June 2015) and held a Homecoming and Family Weekend celebration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Black Student Union (2017).
  • An additional full-time Ph.D. counselor and multicultural support specialist was appointed in Counseling, Health, and Wellness Services (2017).
  • As part of a cycle of academic support unit reviews, an assessment of Student Accessibility and Accommodation (SAA) was conducted in 2015-16. New initiatives of the office include an Emotional Support Animal policy and inclusion of SAA information in the campus visit program and campus tour presentations (2017).
  • The Office of the Registrar implemented a process for students to specify in their academic records the gender by which they wish to be identified; gender identity is included in class rosters (2017).
  • The One More Scholarship developed by the Black Student Union became fully funded (Oct. 2018).
  • The Sexual Misconduct Resource Center launched in 2012 and was most recently updated in 2020 with new policies and procedures.
  • The Student Success Task Force was formed to promote student success, including retention and completion to graduation (2020-21).
  • The university's first diversity strategic plan was created in 2006; the current plan (Threshold 2022: Cultivating a Culture of Inclusive Excellence) will be revised under the leadership of the incoming Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity, who joins Puget Sound in July 2021.

Staffing and Leadership
Ensuring that Puget Sound recruits, retains and supports diverse leaders who are culturally competent and who reflect a broad range of identities.

  • As part of the hiring process, all faculty applicants must submit a diversity statement that addresses their competency and ability to contribute meaningfully to issues of diversity, equity and individual differences. Statements may include lived experiences and identities; infusion of diversity-related issues into research, pedagogy and service; activities involving mentoring underrepresented student populations; and insights on how cultural competency increases one’s effectiveness as an educator and department/university colleague.

  • In the most recent five-year period (2016-17 to 2020-21), the percent of newly hired tenure-line faculty who identify as American Indian or Alaska Native; Asian; Black or African American; Hispanic/Latino; or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander was 58%. In the previous five-year period (2011-12 to 2015-16), it was 37%. Retention of these faculty was 80% in the most recent five-year period compared to 71% in the previous five-year period. Retention of other faculty was 100% (2016-17 to 2020-21) and 83% (2011-12 to 2015-16).
  • Increased representation of diversity on the President’s Cabinet and board of trustees (ongoing).
  • Elevated the Chief Diversity Officer position to a Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity (approved 2019; hired 2021), overseeing Intercultural Engagement and Access Programs.
  • Title IX coordination and reporting was eliminated from the portfolio of the Chief Diversity Officer to create more time for other priorities.  A Title IX Coordinator position was added to Student Affairs (2020).
  • Puget Sound’s diversity statement and definition were added to all staff and faculty position descriptions. Cultural competency and experience requirements were added to all newly posted and updated position descriptions (July 2017).

Training and Education
Making regular anti-racism, inclusion and equity training available to all members of the campus community to improve teaching and learning at Puget Sound.

  • The Race and Pedagogy Initiative became the Race and Pedagogy Institute to more fully deliver on its mission (2016), and classes were cancelled and offices were closed to allow for attendance at the RPI National Conference campus day of learning (2018). Conferences were held on campus in 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018, with planning underway for 2022.
  • A Training Specialist position was created in Human Resources to coordinate and increase training available to faculty and staff members (2020 - ongoing).
  • The Bias-Hate Education Response Team was established 2007 and is co-chaired by the Chief Diversity Officer and Director of Intercultural Engagement; the group's role will be reviewed by the incoming Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity (2021-22).
  • Puget Sound became a member of the Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance to increase training opportunities and obtain comparative data on campus climate at participating institutions (2020 - ongoing).
  • Board of Trustees and President's Cabinet members completed three new training modules in February 2021 (diversity in the work place, microaggressions, and anti-bias), which were made  available to all faculty and staff members in March 2021.

Reporting and Accountability
Publicly naming histories and systems of oppression at work on Puget Sound's campus and reporting on efforts to affect change

  • The Diversity Advisory Council (DAC) is charged with examining diversity, inclusion, and equity issues on campus with respect to policy and practice from multiple perspectives (including access, recruitment and retention, community connections and outreach to diverse constituents, and campus climate and culture). The comprehensive Campus Climate Survey is administered by DAC on a three-year cycle (2012, 2015, 2018, 2021), followed by campus discussion of results and next steps.
  • Commitment to Support Students, Faculty and Staff Regardless of Immigration Status or Religious Affiliation was created (2016), and Puget Sound became a founding member of the Presidents' Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration to advocate for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and related issues (2017).
  • The Statement on Academic Freedom and the Exercise of Free Speech was endorsed by the Faculty Senate, Staff Senate and ASUPS leadership, with an intention of clarifying the university’s support of free speech and the understanding that the statement should be revisited and revised as needed over time (March 2019). The Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities convened three meetings in 2020 to learn more about the statement. A Q&A was added to the  Security Services website addressing support of student protests (2020).
  • Security Services joins the Student Affairs team and reports to the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students (May 2021).
  • The President’s Cabinet Actions to Support Diversity and Anti-Racism were publicly documented on the Statement Against Racism and Discrimination webpage shared with campus; each division is expected to create its own commitments; the provost and vice presidents report progress monthly in Cabinet meetings (2020-ongoing).
  • President’s Advisory Panel on Racism convened to advance key objectives in the Leadership for a Changing World strategic plan, including development of a Legacies Project (2020-21).
  • President Isiaah Crawford, who joined Puget Sound in 2016-17, convened a meeting with the President’s Cabinet and student representatives of Advocates for Institutional Change to discuss progress made since spring 2016, and to work collaboratively on next steps in meeting the group’s goals, September 2016, and convened three campus forums on issues of diversity and inclusion.

This website was published on April 15, 2021.