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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: June 7, 2021 03:58 PM
From: Senator Art Haywood and Sen. Vincent J. Hughes, Sen. Lindsey M. Williams, Sen. Judith L. Schwank
To: All Senate members
Subject: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at PASSHE
In the near future, we will introduce legislation to respond to student concerns regarding the climate and culture at PA State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) public universities. Students recommended diversity training, hiring and retention of diverse faculty and staff, and new efforts to retain diverse students, among other changes. PASSHE and the 14 state universities responded. On 15 April 2021, PASSHE’s Board of Governors unanimously adopted an historic diversity, equity and inclusion strategy.
PASSHE’s DEI strategy includes evaluations of what universities are doing now, identification of best practices to improve DEI, and evidence-based programming to significantly improve campus culture and inclusion.
Our legislation will support this adopted strategy by appropriating $9 million over five years to PASSHE schools to implement the PASSHE’s DEI Framework. The initiatives funded must be grounded in research and evidence-based practices, have measurable goals and progress, and be managed at the university level with a common PASSHE foundation. Specifically, $9 million will be directed as follows:
  • $2 million to diversify universities’ faculty and staff by developing programs that support recruitment of and provide mentorship and support for underrepresented minority (URM) faculty and for URM staff in key student-facing and leadership roles.
  • $2.5 million to diversify the general education curriculum by redesigning key general education courses.
  • $2.5 million to provide professional development support for faculty, focusing on instructional and other practices that demonstrably improve outcomes for URM students.
  • $2 million to significantly improve campus climates for URM students by supporting and training members of university-based community response teams assembled to deal with reported incidents of bias and discrimination.
The PASSHE Board of Governors recognizes the need for these modest requests of targeted, one-time funding to make public higher education accessible to everyone. Please join me in sponsoring this important legislation for Black students and students of color at our state universities. 

Introduced as SB770