History of the RDPP
Since its student-initiated inception in 1997, the Racial Discrimination Prevention Policy (RDPP) has been the work of students, staff, faculty and administrators at Antioch College. The College’s Sexual Offense Prevention Policy inspired the idea for a policy designed to support an anti-racist College environment. There have been incidents on the Antioch College campus that demonstrated the need for this type of policy. Procedural components to address prevention are also included in the policy as part of the mediation and resolution process. The College’s Administrative Council approved this policy on April 25, 2006.
Antioch College is committed to being an inclusive community in which all persons have an equal opportunity to pursue academic excellence and participate in governance and community life. The educational mission of the College includes a proactive commitment to increase our knowledge, to develop our ability to question, and to develop intellectual consciousness regarding ourselves and the society in which we live.
Antioch College – students, faculty, staff, and administrators – has as its goal to create and sustain an anti-discriminatory environment, as articulated in existing anti-discrimination statements and legal obligations. Moreover, through this Racial Discrimination Prevention Policy (RDPP), the College actively commits to being an anti-racist, multicultural institution. The College will achieve this through:
A) Education, orientation, and training for all community members with the purpose of creating awareness of individual and collective accountability.
B) Ongoing workshops and administrative, curricular and co-curricular policy strategies aimed at preventing racial discrimination. Faculty will incorporate educational strategies in their curricula and classes as fully as possible in accordance with the existing faculty personnel policy relative to academic freedom.
C) Establishing procedures for dealing with offenses and violations of community standards having to do specifically with racial discrimination.
III. Glossary of Terms
For a clear understanding of this policy, terms below are defined as follows:
Race: A social construct that artificially divides people into distinct groups based on characteristics such as physical appearance (particularly color), ancestral heritage, cultural affiliation, cultural history, ethnic classification, and the social, economic and political needs of a society. Racial classifications subsume ethnic classifications. (source: Teaching For Diversity and Social Justice: A Source. NY. Routledge: 1997.)
Racism: Racism is a global system of material and symbolic resource management that subordinates members of targeted racial groups. According to the United Nations International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, racial discrimination is defined as, “Any distinction, exclusion, restriction, or preference based on race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment, or exercise, on equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, or any other field of public life.” (source: U.N. The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.) Moreover, in the United States, “these racial groups (i.e., African Americans, Latinos/as, Native Americans, Asians, Asian Pacific Islanders), have relatively little social power, as opposed to members of the agent racial group who have relatively more social power (whites).” (source: Teaching For Diversity and Social Justice: A Source. NY. Routledge: 1997.) An additional targeted group that Antioch College recognizes in the policy is people of Middle Eastern descent.
Discrimination: A decision making process that results in differential allocation of goods, resources and services, and access to full participation in society based on perceived identification with a particular social group. (source: Teaching For Diversity and Social Justice: A Source. NY. Routledge: 1997.)
Institutional Racism: The network of institutional structures and practices that create advantages and benefits for those who the power structure favors, and discrimination and disadvantage for people from targeted social groups. (source: Teaching For Diversity and Social Justice: A Source. NY. Routledge: 1997.)
IV. Policy Guidelines
It is expected that the institution, as a whole, and each community member, will strive individually and collectively to achieve the following:
A) Communication Guidelines
All community members should have equal voice. It should be acknowledged that conversations and confrontations (personal, group and institutional) surrounding race and racism are often uncomfortable, and discomfort in these exchanges often leads to growth. The following communication tools may help in fostering and enhancing respectful dialogue, discussion and conversation:
1) Acknowledging the likelihood that one may not completely understand another person’s perspective.
2) Acknowledging the difference between the discomfort of confronting racism verses the danger of being a target of racism.
3) Asking questions to enhance one’s understanding of another person’s perspective, while acknowledging that it is not the sole responsibility of people of color to educate about racism or to be singled out as representative of their ethnic group.
4) Acknowledging that community life requires appreciation of difference (not simply tolerance), as a positive value in personal, work and community interactions.
B) Community Guidelines
The intention of this policy is to bring about concrete actions. Community guidelines under this policy are:
1) Taking personal responsibility for active involvement in creating and maintaining an anti-racist environment.
2) Challenging racism when we witness it individually and collectively.
3) Intently pursuing the goals of recruiting and retaining qualified students, faculty, staff and administrators of color, at least reflective of the diverse society at large.
4) Support and periodically review the Antioch College affirmative action policy in accordance with the goals of the RDPP.
5) Support activities that affirm, reflect and celebrate anti-racist and inclusive values.
C) Institutional Commitment
Institutional commitment is a cornerstone of this policy. The institution will be responsible for maintaining resources to operationalize the RDPP. This includes but is not limited to:
1) Orientation, training, and ongoing educational experiences for students, staff, faculty and administrators.
2) Promoting the recruitment and retention of faculty, staff and students of color, and assessing annually mechanisms for such retention.
3) Ensuring that the College abides by its existing Affirmative Action Policy.
4) Developing annual operating plans with individual administrative and academic areas to address anti-discriminatory and inclusive objectives.
5) Continual improvement and support for building an anti-discriminatory and inclusive environment.
Offenses of racism and racial discrimination, both individual and institutional, by anyone enrolled at or employed by Antioch College, are those behaviors that contribute to the maintenance of the oppression of targeted racial groups. Within the Antioch community, individual behaviors considered offensive and their consequences are defined as follows:
A. Verbal, physical, written or pictorial communication relating to race, color, and ethnicity which has the purpose or effect of unreasonable interference with an individual’s performance, or which creates a hostile, offensive or intimidating atmosphere for members of the target group is considered an offense subject to disciplinary action. The College will not tolerate any acts of intimidation, or any behaviors that demean, slur or stereotype an individual or group on the basis of race, color or descent, or national or ethnic origin.
B. While some examples of racial and/or ethnic harassment, such as physical and verbal assaults, are easily identified, more frequent and generalized instances, such as blatant and subtle graffiti and insensitive use of language—including epithets and “humor”—often go unacknowledged. All of the above instances are equally demeaning and violate the spirit of this policy, as well as the educational mission of the College. (Source: Kansas State University policy)
VI. Racial Discrimination Complaint Procedure
No community member shall be subjected to discharge, suspension, discipline, harassment, or any form of discrimination having in good faith utilized or assisted others in using the racial discrimination complaint procedures. A complaint may be withdrawn or resolved before the procedure is completed. Every complaint, whether formal or informal, will be treated confidentially, unless disclosure is necessary to protect the legal rights or safety of others or the institution, and will be documented by the appropriate office.
Any community member claiming to be aggrieved by an alleged discriminatory act or practice in violation of the RDPP, the Antioch Honor Code, the Affirmative Action Policy, other policy, federal, state or municipal law with regard to racial discrimination at Antioch College may access resources available through the Dean of Students office. The RDPP is in place to resolve issues that involve discrimination on the basis of race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin.
A) Complaint Procedures
Procedures may include but are not limited to:
1) Directly confront the alleged offender.
2) Participate in appropriate mediation with the alleged offender.
3) Register a grievance to remain on file (no immediate action required).
4) Have the appropriate Office and/or staff address the issue with the alleged offender.
5) Choose to do nothing.
6) File a police report through the Dean of Students office if the alleged offense is a criminal offense.
7) File a formal complaint using the Racial Discrimination Complaint form.
When a formal complaint has been submitted, the Dean of Students office is responsible for deciding the appropriate offices and/or staff to review the complaint. The incident must have already occurred and not be merely anticipatory or speculative. The primary witness must file the complaint within 90 days of the time the alleged discrimination occurred.
The person alleging a violation may use more than one of the above options. The Dean of Students may refer the complaint outside to other College offices as bodies he or she deems appropriate.
If the person charged in the complaint is found to have violated the RDPP, remedies may range from prescribed educational trainings to various levels of disciplinary action by the appropriate person or office, depending on whether the person is a student or employee. Any appeals process will be available through the channel by which the disciplinary action was brought.
VIII. Policy Review
The RDPP will be presented for Community review every three years through an open format. The review is to ensure that the Policy remains a viable document that meets Community needs, based on the ever-changing Community population. The Review process will be facilitated by the Dean of Students office staff. Any and all revisions are subject to approval by faculty and AdCil.