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A Committment

In my June 2020 Dean’s Message to our graduate student community, I promised that the Graduate Division would announce a set of concrete efforts to change the status quo and move us toward becoming the anti-racist, truly inclusive institution we need to be.

Toward this goal, I and a group of Grad Division staff convened a working group to meet with Black graduate students to hear their concerns and their suggestions. We know from past climate surveys and reports that these are not new issues and that they have been raised at many levels for many years.

Using what we heard in that forum, together with what other students and departments have shared with us in the past, and the recommendations of the Graduate Diversity Task Force, we worked to co-create a set of concrete initiatives, focused on areas within our purview, that would begin to address Black students’ needs.

These four initiatives are not an endpoint, but rather what we hope is the beginning of an iterative, co-constructed effort to change the climate on our campus for the better.

Lisa García Bedolla
Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Dean of the Graduate Division

Graduate Division Anti-Racism Initiatives

Our Broader and Ongoing Efforts

These initiatives and programs are an initial step. We appreciate that these efforts do not address the whole of Black students’ experiences and what we are hearing. Black and minoritized graduate students have numerous other concerns around bias, anti-Blackness, injustice, and inequity — and so our work to combat systemic racism will continue to evolve and grow.>/p>

A key leader in our efforts will be Denzil Streete, whom we welcomed to the Graduate Division on July 27th. Taking on the combined role of Chief of Staff and Assistant Dean for Graduate Diversity, Denzil will ensure that we use an equity lens in decision making and in our work throughout the Graduate Division.

In addition to overseeing the Office for Graduate Diversity and helping manage the development and implementation of our anti-racism initiatives above, he will be rolling out training for Graduate Division staff and our graduate programs to increase our anti-racism efforts and cultural competencies. He also will work with our partners across campus who facilitate vital support for our Black graduate students and will be co-leading the implementation of the Graduate Diversity Task Force Recommendations.

Our overarching vision in the Graduate Division is to not only expand the diversity of the graduate student body at Berkeley, but also to ensure that our Black and other underrepresented graduate students have the tools, resources, and community of support they need to thrive in their graduate studies.

There are issues beyond what is mentioned here, such as concerns around policing. Know that we are continually working to elevate these and other critical concerns, advocate on behalf of our Black graduate student community, and make change where we are able.

These initiatives, and others we will seek to roll out in the semesters ahead, are meant to complement the anti-racist work that is being done every day on this campus and which, too often, has been led by our BlPOC students. Our efforts have been informed by their brilliance, innovation, and commitment. But we know we have far to go and are committed to using your feedback to inform and transform our efforts. It is with humility and respect that we take on this work; we therefore ask for your engagement and partnership. Without them, we cannot be successful.

We have also created a  Twitter account to share updates and hear your thoughts. Follow us @grad_diversity!