UC Irvine announces plan to expand recruitment of Black students, staff

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In 2010, UC Irvine students and faculty rallied to celebrate the life and legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

In 2010, UC Irvine students and faculty rallied to celebrate the life and legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Calling anti-Blackness an “existential threat” to its mission, UC Irvine unveiled an ambitious plan Monday to intensify recruitment of Black students, faculty members and senior leaders and create a campus climate that supports their success.

A new Black Thriving Institute, inspired by the surging demands for racial justice after the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, will expand research and teaching about the Black experience with 10 new faculty hires and a new program offering $30,000 research grants. The campus aims to increase its Black undergraduate student population, which at 3.3% last year was among the lowest in the 10-campus UC system, and also boost the number of those seeking graduate degrees.

UC Irvine is also launching an extensive review of its policing practices and classes about anti-Blackness. To hold itself accountable, the university will issue a biannual “scorecard” analyzing survey responses about the campus climate, progress in increasing Black representation and completion of anti-bias training. A new website offers resources to combat anti-Blackness and a robust new community engagement effort is planned.

“Anti-Blackness is an existential threat to our mission to be a place where all people can teach and learn and thrive,” said Douglas M. Haynes, vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion. “We are committed to creating a national model for institutional transformation.”

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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