SJSU’s Actions on Systemic Racism

SJSU aspires to be a fully-inclusive, anti-racist, multi-cultural organization. To that end, we are taking immediate steps toward tangible change while, at the same time, implementing longer-term strategies to change those policies and practices that currently form the foundation for institutional and systemic racism.


Task force on safety and policing

A new Task Force on Campus Safety and Policing to study safety and policing at SJSU has now been established. The task force is charged with assessing the concerns about safety and policing on campus, how we might address those concerns and what opportunities we have for moving forward as the safest and most effective urban-based campus in the United States. 

Among other responsibilities, the task force will select an external reviewer to support and guide the work and offer recommendations for reform, such as new models of safety and policing, new training protocols, policy revisions or redistribution of resources. Co-chairing the task force is Patrick Day, our vice president of student affairs, and Edith Kinney, associate professor in the department of justice studies. A nomination process for constituting the remainder of the task force was established and resulted in the following appointments by President Papazian:

  • Frank Belcastro, Captain, San José State University Police Department 
  • Alexandra Froelich, Director of Student Conduct and Ethical Development
  • Dalila Gomez, SJSU student, Associated Students, Inc.  Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities
  • Henderson Hill, Director of Student Involvement
  • Nicole Morris, Director of Clery Compliance
  • Ana Navarette, Director of UndocuSpartan Student Resource Center
  • Raul Peralez, Member of San José City Council, District 3
  • Garrick Percival, Associate Professor in Political Science
  • Edwin Tan, Director of Advocacy and Community Relations
  • Aurion Wiley-Green, SJSU student, Double major, Justice Studies & African American Studies
  • Gil Zamora, Lecturer in Justice Studies and Forensic Sciences

The full committee report will be available Fall 2021.

Responsible Community Members:
Patrick Day, Vice President of Student Affairs, Edith Kinney, Associate Professor of Justice Studies


Our use of the “Spartan Up” hand gesture—often mistaken for a white power symbol— has now been retired

Though the gesture had become part of the fabric of the Spartan community, its similarity to a gesture promoting white supremacy and its use as gang identification when used improperly led to conflict and divisions. The gesture, we also learned, can also convey cultural and gender insensitivity in some countries outside of the United States.  

An audit of all official SJSU-affiliated web pages and digital assets is also now taking place to identify, remove and replace all visual depictions of the gesture. As part of the audit, we are examining physical locations and materials around our campus—including facilities and buildings, windows, banners, printed items, marketing videos and SJSU Bookstore merchandise—that will require replacement. This will be an ongoing effort due to the sheer number of assets currently in circulation. A “New Traditions” committee will explore ideas for new ways to strengthen the Spartan spirit and history. 

Responsible Community Members:
Patrick Day, Vice President of Student Affairs; Marie Tuite, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics; Blake Sasaki, Senior Associate Athletics Director


Management training on racial justice and workplace inclusion

More in-depth training requirements for faculty, management and staff - training that includes identifying and addressing racist micro-aggressions and anti-bias training specific to campus roles and responsibilities - are now being developed in phases. These requirements complement the training that has been a part of our SJSU Teach Online Summer Certificate Program 2020 for 1,000 faculty members. Required two-hour training for MPPs (administrators) has been ongoing since Fall 2020. Training for all staff began Spring 2021 and will continue through Summer 2021. 

We also are committed to designing and offering new workshops on white privilege and systemic racial oppression and dialogistic facilitation skills within an equity framework . Organized  by the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI). In addition, ODEI will continue its work on consultation and training with campus units.

Responsible Community Members:
Kathy Wong(Lau), Joanne Wright, Senior Associate Vice President, University Personnel


Capacity-building

Two roles in the Office of the President are now supporting racial equity efforts at SJSU—with an immediate and near-term focus on anti-Black racism. Jahmal Williams now serves as SJSU’s first Director of Advocacy for Racial Justice and resides in Community and Government Relations. Patience Bryant is the inaugural Director of Black/African American Equity and resides in the ODEI.

These positions complement and enhance the work already taking place in ODEI. Within Academic Affairs, Magdalena Barrera was named Interim Vice Provost for Faculty Success, and the Dean of the College of Social Science, Walt Jacobs, was appointed as the Special Assistant to the Provost on Racial Justice Initiatives. Tamela Sullivan’s role in University Personnel now includes a focus on anti-racism programming and is reflected in her title as Coordinator for Events, Training, and Anti-Racism Programming.

Additionally, the Division of Student Affairs will also be hiring a Director of Co-Curricular Learning, Educational Equity, and Assessment. All of these individuals and their offices collaborate and coordinate to share expertise and support work in each of these areas on campus wide initiatives.

Responsible Community Members:
Lisa Millora, Vice President for Strategy and Chief of Staff and Kathy Wong(Lau), Chief Diversity Officer


Revitalizing our Employee Affinity Groups (EAGs)

EAG’s at SJSU, which began years ago as self-formed “faculty staff associations,” have been an important grassroots resource for historically underrepresented groups. Current and past associations include the African-American Faculty and Staff Association, Asian-Pacific Islander Faculty Staff Association, Chicano/Latino Faculty and Staff Association, Jewish Faculty and Staff Association, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Faculty and Staff Association. They each have worked to identify and address issues of concern.

Formalizing our support and rededicating ourselves to our EAGs helps to ensure that those groups have the resources, funds and structure they need to be successful and help guide our equity and anti-racism issues. We have now set aside annual funding to help sustain the EAGs’ activities and are working with EAG leadership to develop bylaws, examine leadership structures, develop communication vehicles and create more opportunities for collaboration amongst groups.

We also plan on expanding our EAGs to include additional underrepresented and underserved groups who may wish to form an EAG. ODEI is leading this effort.

Responsible Community Members:
Kathy Wong(Lau); Felicia McKee-Fegans, Executive Assistant and Diversity Program Specialist, ODEI