Anti-racism and equity work have been a focus within Cosumnes River College and the Los Rios Community College District as the spring semester continues.
Last semester, CRC introduced the “We Won’t Fall” campaign and brought anti-racism to the forefront of their discussions. In one of the first implementations of anti-racial policies, faculty members will reflect on their equity teaching in their self-reviews.
“We have negotiated an equity statement,” said history Professor Jason Newman, who’s also campus president of Los Rios College Federation of Teachers, the faculty union. “When faculty is reviewed, every three years, they will arrive at an equity reflection statement about how they’re addressing equity issues in their classrooms.”
This is brand new as of this semester, and is the first time an equity reflection has been a part of faculty’s self-review, said CRC Academic Senate President Gregory Beyrer.
“I’m looking forward to those reflections both for myself and for the faculty that I am on peer review teams for,” said LRCCD Academic Senate President and CRC biology Professor Julie Oliver. “This is a step forward, and we have to keep stepping in that direction.”
After the announcement of the “We Won’t Fall” campaign, there have been discussions about anti-racism and equity in every meeting, said Beyrer.
“I asked all of the faculty chairs to look at how their meetings were being conducted and asked, ‘how can we infuse anti-racism and equity into the conduct of their meetings and their business?’” Beyrer said.
The equity reflection is not the only expected change of these discussions, as more changes are coming.
“We are also in the process of negotiating mandatory, compensated, equity training, which will be a new mandate,” Newman said.
In addition, Beyrer has teamed with @ONE, a collaborative network of faculty, staff and administrators from California community colleges, to provide training and professional developments to schools.
“I took a class through @ONE called ‘Equity and Culturally Responsive Teaching,’ and brought it to CRC,” said Beyrer. “Last semester, I co-taught it with Professor Amanda Paskey and we’re doing it again this semester.”
These efforts from Los Rios and CRC are paving the roads that lead to institutional change in community colleges, Beyrer, Newman and Oliver said.
“Los Rios was the first community college district in California to embrace equity in its collective bargaining agreement,” Newman said. “We’re on the leading edge of this pioneering movement in the state to add more equity to our labor-management practices.”
Beyrer, Newman and Oliver all credit Sacramento City College President Michael Gutierrez and CRC President Ed Bush for spearheading the district’s anti-racist efforts.
“Our college President Ed Bush is a champion for this kind of work,” Oliver said. “As I like to tell him, he’s our college’s moral compass.”
CRC leadership has vowed to continue these discussions all semester and into the fall term.
“The way the equity movement is being approached by Los Rios is really a collective effort with the faculty union, the senate, the administration and students coming together to find solutions that remove barriers and opportunity gaps for students,” Newman said.