UHart releases an ‘Immediate Plan for Action’ following recent alleged hate crime incident

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WEST HARTFORD --  The University of Hartford releases a "Plan for Action" for their campus which revolves around issues of equity, inclusion, and diversity.

This plan of action comes after a student of the University said she was forced out of her room following a series of disturbing actions by her roommate in an incident that has been labeled a "hate crime."

This story has gained national attention and the University has since been under fire.

On Wednesday, University President Greg Woodward said a number of suggestions for action have emerged following the most recent incident.

"What is clear to me is that each person and unit on campus has a part to play in moving forward. Here is a partial list of activities that have risen to the top of what will soon become a complete action plan for our campus around issues of equity, inclusion, and diversity," said Woodward.

The "Immediate Plan for Action" released states:

  • This fall semester, the University will host a community observance to affirm their commitment to confronting issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion directly and openly.
  •  The campus will begin a dialogue about the creation of an educational series that will be the centerpiece of an annual diversity awareness calendar for the University moving forward.
  •  For the remainder of the fall semester, Woodward said he will host regular sessions and workshops for the campus community to share and engage in discussion and learning.
  •   There will be an immediate and full review of their current policies and procedures as they relate to reports of discrimination and harassment, with a goal of systematically identifying areas in need of adjustment or improvement.
  •  The Department of Human Resources, in coordination with the Office of the Provost, will immediately create a campus committee to enhance their diversity efforts in hiring and training of faculty and staff.
  • Expanded training opportunities will be aggressively explored across campus.
  •  The Office of the Provost has begun developing a database of internal and external resources to help faculty facilitate discussion of diversity and inclusion within their departments and classrooms.
  • The Provost will begin a faculty conversation about cultural competence and education as addressed, or not addressed, in their Institutional Learning Goals, with an examination of the possible creation of a University-wide learning component dedicated to these specific diversity learning goals.
  •  Led by a partnership between academic and student affairs, Orientation programming for first-year and transfer students will include a specific series of activities focused on issues of diversity and inclusion.
  •  In August 2017, Woodward said he convened a body of three co-chairs (DeLois Lindsey, Karen Tejada, and Jane Horvath) to form a standing committee on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • UHart will create a President’s Community Advisory Council to further build partnerships with their neighbors and region, and to find more pathways for students and faculty/staff to be engaged in community projects and education.
  • A website will be created to keep the campus community informed on these efforts, future initiatives, and campus event opportunities.

Woodward said this is not an exhaustive list but is an effort in progress to be shaped as they continue to learn from each other and outside experts.

"We must challenge ourselves to engage in respectful and meaningful dialogue and educational initiatives that enhance and better our community. We must strive to be a model for society at large as a place of cultural understanding and sensitivity," said Woodward.

On Wednesday, the Connecticut NAACP called for a hate crime charge to be filed immediately against former white college student Brianna Brochu, who is accused of smearing body fluids on her black roommate’s belongings, Chennel Rowe.

You can read the full Plan for Action here.