Statement and information from Kansas State University
There is little question racial tension is increasing across our nation and on college campuses. We've seen this mirrored at Kansas State University. The current climate has caused students, parents and families to question their safety. Our university is taking responsive action to support these individuals and ensure a safe environment.
We are taking steps to reduce the tension on our campuses and in our communities. The first step is to make sure we have the facts before responding to incidents. Today's tension is being exacerbated by inaccurate reports as people rush to publish on social media and other outlets. We all need to do better in this regard, or truth becomes the first casualty.
College campuses are places where controversial ideas should be shared and difficult discussions should be held. We want our students to speak up and learn how to bring about social change in a positive manner.
Following is information provided to news organizations in response to frequent questions.
What is the racial balance on the K-State campus?
We have 3,550 multicultural students enrolled in fall 2017: American Indian, 115; Asian, 377; African American, 762; Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, 21; Hispanic/Latino, 1,503. That is 15.6 percent of our student population. This number does not include international student enrollment of 1,820. This is most diverse student body in university history. Sources: 2016 enrollment to 2017 numbers.
How many complaints of racial discrimination or harassment have been made in last couple of years?
K-State has made efforts to increase bystander reporting to help identify potential discrimination. As a result, the overall numbers of reports has gone up, which was our intention.
When looking at the percentage of reports by category compared to the overall number of reports, allegations related to National/Ethnic Origin or Ancestry or Race/Color discrimination have remained almost constant over the past two-year period.
- From Nov. 1, 2015 to Oct.31, 2016, the Office of Institutional Equity processed 175 total reports. Thirty of those cases, or 17.1 percent alleged National/Ethnic Origin or Ancestry or Race/Color discrimination.
- From Nov. 1, 2016 to today, 238 cases were reported. Forty of those cases, or 16.8 percent alleged National/Ethnic Origin or Ancestry or Race/Color discrimination.
During the past year, the Office of Institutional Equity conducted 35 in-person training sessions with more than 1,100 faculty, staff, and students on how to recognize and report discrimination. A simplified, centralized, web-based reporting process is available at www.ksu.edu/report.
Bystander intervention training is a critical component of these educational efforts and an increasing percentage of reports are being made. This is a positive indication that stakeholders are aware of and trust the reporting, review, and resolution process.
Does K-State take any particular approach or program to attract students of color?
- We have targeted programs for underrepresented students throughout the state.
- Our philanthropic foundation has been raising millions of dollars to fund need-based scholarships. Our donors have stepped up to the challenge of increasing opportunities for diverse students on our campus.
- Kansas State University is graduating more students of color. For undergraduates, the graduation rate is up 16 percent from 2010; for master's degrees, it's up 8 percent; and for doctorates, the graduation rate for multicultural students is up 26 percent from 2010.
- We have recruitment staff dedicated to multicultural students, including a native Spanish-speaking full-time professional.
- The university serves as a partner institution for the Kauffman Foundation KC Scholars program, whose mission is to increase postsecondary education attainment in the Greater Kansas City area.
- The university is a partner institution for the First Scholars® Program, which is an affiliate of the First Scholars Network of The Suder Foundation. This program focuses on first-generation students’ college experience at K-State.
- Kansas State College Advising Corps helps low-income and first-generation students find the right path for postsecondary education. The program currently is in five high schools in Wyandotte County and five in Johnson County. It uses recent college graduates as advisors in the high schools.
- We received a five-star rating from Campus Pride.
- We received the HEED Award from INSIGHT into Diversity magazine for 2014, 2015 and 2016 and it's not official yet but we've heard that we will receive it for 2017 as well.
- K-State's Black Student Union is a model organization and has been recognized as the best in the Big 12 Conference for multiple years, nine times in the last 12 years. These student leaders are actively involved in daily dialogue with our administration.
- For the last 18 years, K-State's Developing Scholars Program matches underrepresented undergraduates with faculty mentors to conduct research.
- K-State's Bridges to the Future program, funded by the National Institutes of Health, works to increase the number of historically underrepresented students with baccalaureate degrees in the biomedical and behavioral sciences and sets into motion pathways to increase the number of Ph.D.s, M.D.s, and other professional doctorates in those fields.
- Project IMPACT is a best-practice pipeline of recruiting and retention programs that targets multicultural students. These programs develop student interest in business, engineering and agriculture and help students graduate in these fields.
What is being done to address racial tensions on campus?
- We address every reported incident. We have adopted a policy of making sure statements are based on facts and the outcomes of formal investigations, not tweets, texts or screenshots.
- We are reviewing the need for additional cameras across campus in response to a request from students.
- We have increased the visibility of our police patrols. Our students are reminded to take advantages of services such as the free LiveSafe app and Wildcat Walk.
- During an emergency Black Student Union meeting this week hundreds gathered to discuss the situation and climate. Those present included students from all backgrounds, faculty leaders, top administrators and city officials. The meeting was led by our BSU leaders and speakers were very candid, but at the end, the tone was cooperative, not confrontational as we try to bridge differences. People are being heard.
- Pat Bosco, vice president for student life and dean of students, held a national Facebook Live discussion on Thursday, Nov. 2, for K-State parents and family members.
- At their Nov. 2, 2016, meeting, our Student Governing Association spent the entire meeting addressing this issue and developing plans.
- Bernard Franklin, associate vice president for student life, has been tasked with bringing the community together as we transition to new leadership. Franklin is well known in the Kansas City community for his leadership and brings an immediate resource to our campus.
- We urge our students to take advantage of our university counseling services for support and resources and we have made more appointments available.
- We are moving ahead on a Multicultural Student Center, which will advance student success, diversity, inclusion and social justice. The Multicultural Student Center planning group organized university surveys in the spring to gather recommendations for the project. Read the planning group's final report.
- Over the past two years, nearly 225 K-Staters have engaged in intercultural learning using a tool called the intercultural development inventory. We are currently exploring ways to expand that training across the university and Provost and Senior Vice President April Mason is working with faculty to evaluate existing courses and opportunities for expanding cultural competency learning.
- We are in the process of hiring two new positions: a Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, or CDIO; and an Associate Vice President for Student Life/Diversity and Multicultural Student Affairs. Both positions will serve critical leadership roles promoting a university culture where all individuals are able to thrive and be engaged.
Are you looking at what has been done on other campuses for guidance?
Kansas State University is always looking at other programs and universities as we develop new ways to support student success and a diverse and welcoming campus. Our current One Family initiative to expand intercultural learning and training for faculty, staff, and students is working with Purdue University, the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Michigan. We have also reached out to the University of Nebraska to see how their Husker Dialogue program affected campus climate.