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TOMORROW – Forum on FSU Response to Faculty of Color Report


Dear FSU Members,

Following up from the below email from last week, the FSU writes to remind members of the meeting tomorrow to discuss the attached report, the steps taken so far, and those that still need to be taken, in order for the FSU to address issues of racial justice for faculty on our campus.  This meeting will take place on: Wednesday September 23, from 9:30 to 11:00. 

Contact the FSU or Steve Striffler for Zoom info.

See below as well.

Steve Striffler

FSU President

From: Faculty Staff Union <>

Sent: Monday, September 14, 2020 1:35 PM

Subject: Faculty of Color Report – FSU Response/Update

Dear Colleague:

We write to update you on the progress made by the Faculty Staff Union in response to the requests made by 40 UMB faculty of color in April 2019 for more FSU engagement and intervention on issues of racial justice affecting faculty of color. The attached report is our second and more detailed update, following the email sent out on May 29, 2020 by outgoing FSU President Marlene Kim.

The April 2019 Faculty of Color report identified several key issues on which the FSU needed to take vigorous action. We view these recommendations as a call to action and a constructive critique of the FSU for failing to act and engage with faculty of color previously. The attached document describes our follow-up on the Faculty of Color report in detail. We can report progress on several issues:

1.) We obtained data from the university and conducted a detailed statistical analysis of tenure track faculty careers at UMB. Although the university’s tenure track hiring cohorts are relatively diverse, we detail in the attached report significant racial disparities in tenure and promotion disadvantaging Black, Hispanic/Latinx, and Asian faculty relative to white faculty. We also find differences in faculty retention rates, with Black faculty being the most likely to leave UMass Boston before applying for tenure.  We are seeking information on NTT faculty promotion practices and will conduct a quantitative analysis of these data. 

2.) We have begun to plan interviews of exiting pre-tenure faculty to determine the reasons for their departure and the resulting racial disparity in retention. 

3.) We have worked with the Faculty Council to reconvene the PROGRESS committee, which previously identified disparities in service burdens as obstacles impeding tenure track faculty of color’s progress toward tenure and promotion. We now have FSU representation on the committee so that we can support it more directly. 

4.) We have diversified our contract bargaining team and increased faculty input in the bargaining process.

5.) In response to the faculty of color report we have advocated with the administration for the establishment of a paid ombudsperson to work with faculty on discrimination and other problems. 

6.) We are actively advocating for racial justice training for senior faculty, chairs, and administrators, as well as FSU leadership. 

7.) We are meeting with the administration to review, update, and finalize campus policy and complaint procedures regarding sexual harassment, and wider forms of discrimination against protected classes of faculty employees.   

On several issues, we have not yet made progress. We intend to prioritize these issues in the coming months:

1.) Conducting a gender/race equity analysis of faculty contracts (TT and NTT) regarding salary, course load, and service expectations

2.) Reviewing gender/race equity in hiring practices (TT and NTT) including salary, startup, and course load

3.) Examining and publicizing ODEI’s 2012 campus diversity climate survey, completed under Director Juan Nunez, by Rankin & Associates Consulting, of State College, Pennsylvania, involving 2193 respondents  

4.) Advocating for the administration to create an individual or office to support for faculty of color 

5.) Advocating for the appointment of a faculty member (compensated) to provide mentoring, information on contract rights, and other resources to faculty of color  

6.) Supporting the Faculty Council’s committee now re-examining the relevance, utility, and inherent biases of teaching evaluations in faculty tenure and promotion reviews 

7.) Addressing inequities in salary and responsibilities related to NTT status, particularly for faculty of color 

8.) Advocating for the release of information regarding the number of legal cases settled by the university related to diversity and inequity, in outside courts, MCAD and the EEOC

9.) Diversifying the FSU leadership through greater outreach to faculty of color and the demonstration that the climate within the FSU leadership has improved since the release of the 2019 faculty of color letter

We invite feedback, critique, and involvement from our members, particularly faculty of color, concerning our progress and our agenda for future action. The FSU strives to become a forceful advocate for faculty of color at UMass Boston. We will prioritize faculty of color's concerns, listen to their voices, and provide further updates in the coming months.

We would like to call a meeting open to all to discuss the attached report, the steps taken so far, and those that still need to be taken, in order for the FSU to address issues of racial justice for faculty on our campus.  This meeting will take place on:

Wednesday September 23, from 9:30 to 11:00. 

Contact the FSU or Steve Striffler for Zoom info.


Steve Striffler, Professor of Anthropology, FSU President

Tim Sieber, Professor of Anthropology, FSU Executive Committee representative

Joseph Brown, Assistant Professor of Political Science

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