FAIRBORN, Ohio (WDTN) – Wright State University is expanding anti-racism training for the Department of Residence Life and Housing in response to the protests for justice happening around the country.
Every August staff and resident advisors train in identity development, implicit bias, and understanding privilege. This year they’ll add anti-racism training and book discussions, and that work is already underway right now.
Jennifer Attenweiler is the associate director of Residence Life and Housing. She says, “It’s our job to educate our students both inside and outside the classroom.” And the education continues as student housing staff at Wright State will undergo extra anti-racism and social justice training.
The process is in the early stages: a staff retreat in a few weeks will first explore campus housing policies. And the university is reaching out to the African American caucus, and several other groups, for input. Attenweiler says, “We can also talk to our teacher education folks as well, people who work in our health care and are nursing faculty and hopefully engage them in dialogue, as well.”
But Wright State doesn’t want to just talk. The university wants to take measurable action by revising policies and protocol if issues are identified. Attenweiler says, “To make sure we don’t have a brick or a wall or in place for our black students, faculty, staff, or alumni. Taking some of those actual things and saying ‘do we have something in place here that’s causing a barrier for our students?'”
The university also plans to reach out to government leaders and police departments in the area for input, and hopes students will continue the conversation in their communities. They’ll make adjustments as they go, but the hard work is underway before students even arrive on campus.
Attenweiler says, “And then examining those against when students do get back on campus to say ‘here are some changes we made. Did we hit the mark, did we miss the mark?'”
The university’s statement in support of the Black Lives Matter movement also includes a list of resources for students and faculty.