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K-State Today

May 14, 2021

Updates on 11 Action Steps

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

On April 30, a virtual Student Open Forum was held to provide updates on the 11 Action Steps for a More Inclusive K-State and it is available to view on the President's Office Communications webpage. The forum was hosted by President Richard Myers and Provost Charles Taber, along with Tel Wittmer and Ron Lopez, co-chairs of the Intercultural Leadership Council.

Communication about the university's progress on the 11 Action Steps is important to everyone — students, administration, faculty and staff. To date, teams working on these plans have involved 126 K-Staters, including 30 students, plus, faculty and staff. Ongoing updates to the steps can be reviewed on the Action Plan website

A few quick highlights:

Action Step 1 — was completed with the hiring of Kimathi Choma as K-State's first ombudsperson for students.

Action Step 2 — consists of multiple subgroups reviewing six K-State policies. The Student Code of Conduct policy revision is complete; several policy subgroups will be completed in May, others will continue to meet throughout the summer. Check the website for detailed updates.

Action Step 3 — students of color admitted as new freshmen and transfers are up 16% over last year and 54% over the last five years. More details are included in the video.

Action Step 4 — goals have been established for retention and graduation rates by race and ethnicity, international, gender, Pell recipients, and first-generation students. More detail in the video.

Action Step 5 — need-based financial aid was increased by over $1 million, a 90% increase over previous aid. A Bridge Grant program was piloted last fall, and a Completion Grant program will be piloted in the months ahead. More detail on the video.

Action Step 6 — changes to improve the intake process and communications in addressing discrimination complaints have been identified and implemented by the end of May.

Action Step 7 — the student social media usage policy has been updated and modeled off the faculty/staff policy. It's planned for completion in May.

Action Step 8 — plans are underway to seek the Association of American Colleges and Universities designation as A Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Campus Center. Plans are to co-locate the center with the K-State DREAMzone in the Morris Family Multicultural Center.

Action Step 9 — a comprehensive recruitment data dashboard is near completion and will support increased hiring of underrepresented faculty and staff.

Action Step 10 — a proposal requiring students to complete two courses in the U.S. Multicultural Overlay will be presented by the end of the semester, with work on this initiative continuing into the next academic year. 

Action Step 11 — a plan is under development for required employee cultural competency training including multiple options. Details are coming soon.

Also addressed in the forum were topics of hate speech and intolerant ideologies, the federal regulation changes for Title IX and overall campus safety, and answers to other student questions.

The discussion emphasized that safety is a top priority and K-State has safe campuses. A Campus Security Report is published annually for all three campuses and includes information on dozens of safety offerings available to everyone on our campuses.

It also was recognized that hateful speech and ideologies can heighten a sense of concern, and everyone must work together to discuss those ideas safely and calmly to achieve greater social justice. Constructive engagement on polarizing ideas is a critical skill for success in a multicultural world. Everyone's support is needed to make this goal a reality.

Please review the video recording of the open forum to hear the full discussion of these topics.