In order to enact transformation in a culture, we must go beyond a focus on the “what” of our work (the tasks, the structure, etc.) to also value and center the “how”. This involves examining questions such as “How can we engage productively, on an ongoing basis, around difficult topics that challenge or conflict with our community values?” or “How can we ask questions of each other around important work in order to share learning and engage in reciprocal coaching?”

This process does not position any one person or entity as an expert with all the answers. It provides space for ideation and “what if” thinking. It is not an enjoyable process for those who want quick answers or a focus on outcomes only vs. process. It aspires to establish a spirit of grace, humility, and vulnerability, along with accountability for all members. This can be a culture shift from diversity, equity, and inclusion work where blaming and shaming can take over. A focus on grace and humility does not preclude a focus on naming and truth-telling. Design thinking and deliberative dialogue focus on developing empathy in order to understand multiple perspectives, develop shared understanding, and move toward common ground.

The following are questions and phases to help guide the committee in its work.

Phase 1: Defining the vision

  • What are the essential elements of a safe and inclusive campus? Consider all the areas and activities of the UI campus (residence halls, outdoor spaces, academic buildings, event venues, activity areas, athletics, etc.)
  • In order to provide the essential elements of a safe and inclusive campus, what policies, practices, and organizational structures are needed?
  • Who should perform the various duties associated with a safe and inclusive campus? Do we need a campus police force? If so, what should their scope be?
  • What evidence supports or challenges our thinking about policies, practices, and structures?
  • What will success look like? How will we handle missteps or course corrections?

Phase 2: Ideate

  • Based on the answers to Phase 1, who are the essential partners? What are the practices in this creation?
  • How might we create a structure that supports our vision of a safe and inclusive campus?
  • What are the elements of safety that will need to be attended to? Who is best positioned to provide the services needed?
  • How will we fund (or redirect funds) for our vision?
  • How do we communicate the values and expectations associated with our new structure?

Phase 3: Implementation

  • What governance structures will provide oversight for our new vision?
  • What practices do we need to put in place in order to facilitate ongoing campus discussions and reflection about anti-racism?
  • How and at what points will we monitor our progress?
  • What do we need to do to ensure that what we do now promotes the well-being of future campus community members?