[Heather Hackman]: So, hello and good morning or afternoon — I don't know what — what time zone are we in?
So hey, what's going on?
So hi everyone, thank you for being here.
Hopefully we can get some of the echo or the feedback taken care of or that's going to be hard for the folks in this room.
I'm delighted that you're here.
So just a quick show of hands, how many of you are students?
All right, and of those students, how many are here for extra credit, extra credit assignment?
Do you have to write anything up, yes?
Do you have to write it up?
Okay, so I will actually tell you, write this down for your paper, so that way when we get to stuff that's important, that way you'll be like okay, I'm going to get that point down.
I was a faculty member for 19 years and I would send students all kinds of extra credit stuff and they would come back, I'd say, well what was it about in general?
They're like, I have no idea, no idea.
I mean they talked so fast, I had no idea what was going on.
So I will make a point to say get this down, this would be an important piece.
So I just want to thank Georgeann and Beth for creating this space and having this conversation, I want to thank all the folks who helped set this up.
It's a lot of work, it's like kind of herding kittens sometimes getting all of this in place, but I'm delighted to be here, I'm absolutely delighted to be here.
I'm sorry that we're starting just a bit late, it took us an hour and a half to get from the hotel here, I'm downtown Dallas and you have some fascinating traffic situations, that's all I'm going to say is like, that business is — I'm sure I could've walked here faster.
But I'm delighted to be here, and let me just tell you a little bit about how I got here.
I grew up in Las Vegas, not a socially just place by any stretch of the imagination, and 100% not a sustainable space by any stretch of the imagination.
They use resources to excess, you can see the city clearly from space, it's a pretty amazing place in terms of both social justice and sustainability issues which is what we're here to talk about today.
So, I wasn't predisposed to this content, I wasn't predisposed to these issues at all, but what happened for me is over time I did my undergrad in L.A., I was a molecular biology major, I was pre-med, I was going to be a cardiologist and I went to Occidental College because it was a good feeder school for UCLA and UC med school and that was the plan, that was the plan, and then in the process of my undergrad and certainly after I got out, I worked in higher ed for a little bit doing some student affairs work and then got into education and then got a master's and a doctorate in social justice at UMass Amherst, but in the process of doing some of that work it wasn't really an academic study that brought me to social justice issues or to sustainability content, it was a moral issue.
This is a moral issue above all else, this is a moral issue.
It speaks to the conscience of our society, it speaks to the capacity of our nation to be who we say we are.
Social justice is not an academic field, it is a deep and profound moral question for our society, and we were talking on the ride over 'cause we had a lot of time to chat, we were talking on the ride over and we were — you know kind of political paradigms or political binaries came up and I shared, I don't actually see this as a conservative or a liberal or a democrat or republican idea, social justice is about our core humanity, and sustainability on this planet is about our core humanity.
We're all in this together, and I watched a documentary on the Voyager probes if you remember those or know what they are, and there was a moment where Voyager I was heading out of our solar system, it'd taken all the pictures of all the junk it could take and it's heading out, and Carl Sagan, this super cool astronomer dude, he says hey NASA, turn it back and look at Earth and take one last shot.
So under much duress they're like, that's not scientific, he's like trust me, it'll be important.
They turn it around, and just as this probe is heading out of the solar system it takes one last shot, and as you look at the picture, it's just one pixel, one little pixel is Earth, and Carl Sagan used that to say, regardless of whatever differences you might perceive, regardless of the way we construct identities, regardless of who's in or who's out or who believes this or who believes that, everybody you have ever known, everything you have ever done, every bit of history of humanity has all happened on this tiny blue dot and we are all in this moment together.
We construct extraordinary differences and we say I don't like you because of this and that and that and that, but at the base of it, and I don't mean this in some color blind way of I don't see race, there's just one — I don't mean it in that way because that dismisses the racial realities for native people and people of color in the United States.
I mean it on some much deeper level of, at the end of the day, like it or not, we are on this tiny blue dot together.
Our fates are tied to each other, and so how we take care of each other in terms of social justice and equity issues and how we take care of this planet in terms of what we're actually trying to sustain, it is all wrapped in together.
I don't mean this in some Pollyanna kind of, oh, everything's — if we just hug each other everything will be great.
We've got very serious, very serious issues to work through as a nation, as a global community.
But what I'm trying to express is that social justice is a lens and deep deep critical sustainability as an approach actually are vehicles, are bridges to the space where we can actually take good care of each other, we can actually be in this space together in ways that are humane, in ways that are not about exploitation, not about violence, not about dominance, not about oppressions, not about systems of inequity, and so there is a way out of this and the way out of these pisions is a social justice lens and the way out of this current climate moment is a critical lens on sustainability that actually matches the science of this moment and matches the need of this moment.
So, I came to this work not out of an academic field, I came to this work out of a moral tug, and it's really rooted in what I just said, this moral tug of how will we figure out ways to be with each other in this space, how are we going to do that?
And so I'm delighted to be here, and just to give you a sense of what this is about, if you were reading the news over this long weekend the federal government released the national climate assessment, which by law, federal law, they have to release, and basically it's like this is not good.
The cliff note of the cliff note of the summary of the cliff note would be, this is not going well for us, in terms of climate, in terms of environment, in terms of these current issues, it's not going well and it demands an immediacy of response.
If for this — for example if this building caught on fire and someone said, well I have a water bottle, like yep, you are actually putting water on the fire but your solution doesn't match the scale of the problem.
So, the national climate assessment said, "hey friends, the scale of this climate problem is extraordinary and we've got a situation at the southern border that isn't just about economic refugees, it's about climate refugees as well, and you will see not just 2,000 or 7,000, not just 20 or 50 or 100, we will see millions of people moving around this planet because they don't have water and they're not going to care that there's an artificial border there when their children are struggling because there's no food and there's no water."
So, this current climate moment affects immigration issues, affects national security issues globally, affects how we interact with each other, affects our economies and on and on and on, and so this current national moment is calling for us to really wake up and put the cup of water down and get a hose and get buckets and get all kinds of things, get much more substantial sources of water directed to that fire and actually respond in scale, we have to respond to scale.
And and, so this presentation is the tip of the iceberg of a day long workshop I'm doing tomorrow and of multiple day workshops that we tend to do when we go into organizations, so what you're getting is just a snapshot of a snapshot and it's really about bridging ideas of social justice education, social justice theory, social justice lens and sustainability and climate issues.
So, having said all that introductory, let's get started, so let's get started.
So, we're going to start with a ground in, so if you're sitting down that's cool, if you're standing you can do it as well.
If you put your feet as flat on the floor as you're able, I'm pretty tiny so I rarely get a chair where my feet hit the floor.
So, if you need to scoot up but if you could put your feet flat on the floor, both feet flat on the floor, sit as upright as you're comfortable and able.
So, just try this, just go with me.
I know you're comfortable the way you're sitting, just try it for 60 seconds really.
As upright as you're comfortable and able, eyes closed or cast your gaze to a neutral site, and this society has countless people trying to manage dynamics of trauma in their life and so you just never ask folks to close their eyes in a public space if that's something they're trying to manage.
So, cast your gaze to the back of the chair in front of you or a neutral site, the goal here is to don't be visually distracted, and then breathe as deeply as you're comfortable and able and focus only just for 60 seconds on the felt sense of air coming in and out of your nose.
Your mind's going to wander almost instantly, that's fine, just notice it and bring your attention back because what we're doing here is something that's incredibly valuable for all the people in this room is building the muscle of attention and the capacity of presence.
It will benefit you academically but it'll benefit us in this conversation about social justice and sustainability.
So, as you ground in just for 60 seconds, focus on the felt sense of air coming in and out of your nose, as your mind wanders just notice it and bring your attention back.
Some people are like, this is stupid, I'm too cool for this, I don't want to do this, blah blah, totally fine, just give me 60 seconds of your time, engage in this process and then we'll move on, so just 60 seconds.
And last inhale and exhale please, inhale and exhale please.
So a few reasons why we do that, number one, I used to — as I said I taught in higher ed for 19 years and I would ask students to do that.
I taught pre-service and in-service teachers, and I could tell by the thought bubbles on above their head, they're like, "oh my god, this is the stupidest lefty liberal crap, I just hate this kinda stuff, I hate this kinda stuff," and I could see it above their head but they would also say, "but you're my professor and you control my grade so I'll do it," and I was like yes, you got that last part right, you got that last part right, you will do this.
But here's what happened, by mid-semester they actually started to do it on their own, and by the end of the semester I'd go to shut the door for class and they were already doing it, and why is that?
Because it helped them in that class, it helped them focus, it helped them be present, it helped them be where they are, learn what they needed to learn in that space and be present to that learning process, and we're a heavily highly extraordinarily distracted society where I know that you reach for your phones for no reason whatsoever.
You don't actually need to, it's just a habit.
You reach for the phone and check Facebook, you reach for the phone and check Instagram, you reach for the phone and check email, you just do it even though you don't need to do it and it's becoming increasingly difficult for people to just be quiet and still, and yet that's where the learning happens, in moments of being quiet and still and really paying attention you will actually take in a lot more information than if you're in class and texting someone else, it's going to be quite difficult for you to pass that class or just do well in it.
But there's a deeper reason about why we take the time to ground in.
If we're interested, if we're interested in creating change around these issues, if we're interested in seeing something else in our society, if we're interested in an end to structural racial oppression, structural gender oppression, if we don't want the me too moment to go on in perpetuity, if we don't want to continue to see black men murdered in our streets, if we don't want that to happen you actually have to be present and in this moment right now in order to make something else happen.
But if all we do is in this dissociated, removed, distanced way, hope for something better, then you will forever, I will forever be hoping for something better.
So, if we're going to create change you have to be in the moment you're in, we have to be here because that's where our power comes from.
When we're not present we make a lot of mistakes, a lot of mistakes.
The literature's going to call that "microaggressions," and I have it in quotes because I never use that term.
If I'm talking about race as a white person to talk about racism and call it a microaggression, like listen to that, right, it comes out of my mouth as a microaggression but it almost diminishes the impact, right?
It makes it seem like it's not that bad, racism, like Diet Coke racism, it's not really that bad but you can die from 10,000 little cuts and I'm imagining the students of color and native students on this campus and the entire DCCCD — I missed a C in there — system, die from 10,000 little cuts of being disrespected, being ignored in a classroom, having a professor assume that English is not your first language, on and on and on and on and on, and so maybe it's not blatant racism but it is that daily degradation that says, god, I just can't stand coming to this place anymore.
That's called in the literature "microaggression," but in our firm, our consulting group just calls it everyday racism.
It doesn't meet the threshold of a big explosive campus moment but it does meet the threshold of wearing people down and the same is true for gender and the same is true for class, the same is true for ways that poor working class students who are trying to make ends meet here are constantly forgotten and left out of the conversation because — because education is for middle class people, and so what we're trying to do is get rid of not just the big dynamics of systems of oppression but those daily microaggressions as well, we're trying to make this space free of that kind of daily violence so that we can engage with each other in more holistic ways and we can bring our best thinking kind of collectively together and have a different conversation about these campuses and about sustainability.
It also speaks to our connection, and we were talking a little bit about the idea of rugged inpidualism, and in Minnesota we have a thing called Minnesota nice and we're like, "oh gosh, hi, how are you today?"
You know and so we do all of our kind of Minnesota accent, Minnesota nice stuff, but my understanding — and someone shared with me — that Texas has a little bit more rugged inpidualism which is totally fine, that's your jam, I'm not going to be like no, you're wrong, but I am going to question that just a little bit because I often hear about rugged inpidualism from people for whom I'm paying the property taxes to send their kids to public schools, right?
Like if you're going to be a rugged inpidual then pay for just yourself, pay for your children to go to school, why should I pay for that?
They're not my kids, I don't actually have kids and I still pay property taxes into the public school system to educate other people's children and so it's always interesting to me that we've got these social contracts with each other — public education, public infrastructure, public utilities, public public things, that if we had to ruggedly inpidually pay for them ourselves almost none of us could afford them, but we collectively share the burden of that, we collectively share that because we know, I know that even though I don't have kids I'm going to benefit from a society that's well educated so I'm happy to contribute to that, I'm happy to contribute to it.
And so we are profoundly connected even if we don't want to believe that, we're profoundly connected to each other and so I appreciate the idea of inpidual innovation and inpidual thinking and everybody coming up with such fantastic ideas and I really want to support that, and I also believe that those levels of inpidualism happen within the context of our interdependence with each other, we're connected to each other like it or not, we're connected, and so we ground in because that allows us to then begin to construct a lens and so the lens I'm going to talk about, and you'll be chatting about in pairs here and there throughout this quick chit chat is really a deeper solidarity, kind of understanding campus sustainability issues through a social justice lens, and there's three really basic parts to that, before you can even get into the details there's three basic parts.
One is having more authentic relationships where we can have dialogues around hard issues on our campuses and be able to hang in there with each other instead of exploding and kind of running away, etc.
The second is having a social justice frame and really understanding what a social justice lens is, and the third is a commitment to action, and again rather than just feeling bad about something we have to pe in deeply, we have to really commit ourselves to doing something more profound.
So one of the elements of this, as I said, is authentic relationships, and in many ways that's not just about talking about sustainability.
The places where people get stuck in being able to have authentic relationships is in these really tense conversations about social justice issues, like race or gender or class, etc.
So, quickly with your neighbor, just a couple minutes each, honestly with your neighbor, where do you get stuck in conversations about social justice issues?
Where do you get caught up, where do you get stuck in talking about race or gender or class?
Is it because you don't have enough information, is it because you're feeling a lot of frustration or anger, is it because you feel overwhelmed, it's 'cause you have information but you don't know what to do with it?
Where do you find yourselves getting stuck in these really important and difficult conversations?
So you're doing okay and then boom, you hit a wall.
So quickly with your neighbor, and if it'd be — if you came with someone you know it'd be much better to talk to somebody you don't know, so just say what's up, hey, my name's blah, and introduce yourselves and get busy.
So just a couple minutes each, where do you get stuck?
And be as honest and authentic as you can, and nobody sit there by yourself, so don't just sit there and be like, I'm not going to talk to anybody 'cause I don't — I'm not going to — you have to do it, you have to.
We will put the camera on you if you're not doing it so you have to do it, so couple minutes each, couple minutes each.
All right, so always thank the person you're chatting with, 'cause you know, they took the time to chat with you, so say hey, thank you for that, good job good job.
So let's hear a couple of examples from the floor, just two, maybe three quickly and I — just go ahead and shout them out, I'll repeat them back so that everybody everywhere who's watching this can hear it.
So just a couple examples, where do you get stuck?
[Speaker A]: I get stuck in knowing which places to trust for news.
[Heather Hackman]: Right, get stuck in knowing what places to trust for news, and if we broaden that from news to just information in general, which textbooks are telling us the truth, what teachers actually are having a framework that's critical and well supported.
I have an uncle Al that I love a lot, he's wise, 83 years old, he's shrinking as he gets older so we're now eyeball to eyeball and I love him.
He's the most racist, sexist, homophobic democrat you're ever going to meet in your life.
He also has no filter so it's all slip and slide, every thought comes flying right out of that dude's mouth and he has no inside voice which is super fun when you go out to dinner with uncle Al 'cause it's like, racist sexist homophobic slip and slide outside voice moment, every time, and so when I challenge him sometimes, I say," dude, where'd you get that info, like what are you even saying right now?"
He's like, "my friend Jim said it, right?"
And I'm like, "well who's Jim?"
He's like, "my friend."
I was like, "yeah yeah, give me something more substantial, Jim knows this because?"
And so to your point, like we're in this moment where everybody's opinion goes, like Jim is somehow more or equally valid as an entire book on the subject, so you're right to wonder like where, what information is accurate and where can I get it?
That's real, that's absolutely real and it will bring us up short because I'm not sure if I can trust and therefore repeat what I'm learning.
That's great, thank you thank you.
Where do you get stuck?
Yeah, in the back.
[Speaker B]: My colleague and I, we wonder how we can take students from information to action.
[Heather Hackman]: Yeah, how do you take students from information to action, and one of the best things faculty can do is model that themselves.
One of the challenges that faculty have is we talk a lot about what other people should do and we rarely do it ourselves, right?
Like hey, you should blah blah, but we're not out there getting busy, getting all actiony either, and so one of the most important things that faculty can do is to is to do, actually model, engage in what we're asking students to do, and I would have a lot of colleagues who are like, I don't have time for that, I don't have time for that, I was like, well what makes you think students have time for it, right?
Like students have super busy live, supes busy lives, like all kinds of stuff going on and so it's really about instead of instruction it's about a shared relationship where faculty and instructors and people in student affairs on this campus, we actually model what we want to see and help students understand this is what I'm doing, you can hop on board if you're interested but this is the thing that seems important to me and this is the direction that seems most useful to me, and so in that way you don't have a top down relationship with students, you have a more collective arrangement, like no, I'm in this with you, I'm in this with you and I'm coming to the quad or the part of the campus where we're having this thing, I'm going to do that jam too, I'm going to engage in that as well.
And so for those of you that are writing extra credit papers, get these three bits down.
Authentic relationships, a social justice frame, have a really basic one, and commit to action, and then the two pieces under authentic relationships are start to have more honest conversations about where you're stuck and then collectively begin to address that, but you've gotta get real with each other.
You can't posture and pretend, you have to have much more honest conversations of I don't know this, I'm stuck here, I don't know what to do, I don't know what to say, I don't know which information is real, and from there you'll start to slowly but surely — and there's other pieces as well, I'm just giving you one of many — but from there at least you can start to have what feel like at least more honest conversations with each other.
The second thing — this is still under authentic relationships for the paper writers — the second thing to realize is the temptation to fall in to guilt, shame and blame and be like, "oh I feel so bad, I feel so guilty, blah blah," that whole jam, not useful at all, not useful at all, there's no chapter in teacher ed that says chapter seven, teaching through shame, like that's not what we do, it's not our jam, hopefully it's not the jam of the faculty members that you're with, and instead we need to do something else because you can't say oh, just don't feel guilty, don't feel ashamed.
That's like me saying, "don't think about the Eiffel Tower," and then you're like, "I haven't thought about the Eiffel Tower in years, what an amazing building," like I tell you not to do it and you actually start to do it.
So what do we do?
We have to replace it with something and replace it with three things.
Number one, replace it with curiosity.
Like I don't know, where did that come from?
I don't know, what is that about?
I don't know, like it would be very difficult to have informed conversations about these issues from a place of guilt and shame, but from a place of curiosity you can.
I do work all over the country, I love that you said world renowned, I was like wow, really?
I didn't know that but I'm excited about it, but I do work all over the country and on the west coast it's not new information but you'd be surprised how many students in the upper midwest — I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota — how many students, not all of them but a shockingly percentage of students have never heard of Japanese incarceration or Japanese internment, never heard of it.
So, I'd start talking about it and they're like, wait a minute, what are you talking about?
I'm like, "hey, this thing happened, this really intense thing happened," and they're like — and sometimes they would say, "did you make that up?"
Roll the film Bob, you know, so then we watch the movie about it and they're like, how did this even — how did I not know this?
What's happening here?
I can't even believe this, and they would start to feel ashamed that they didn't know it, like do you think I'm stupid?
What's — ba ba ba, before you even go into that space, don't go in there you know, before you even go — that was from Poltergeist, anybody see that movie?
Never mind, so somebody did and you're like oh yeah, I know who you're talking about, otherwise skip that reference, and so I would say, "before you fall into the — you know, the cesspool of guilt or shame or blame, why don't you get curious about why you don't know it?"
And I don't mean like, how come you don't know this, I mean like wait a minute, why don't I know it?
And what do you think they said?
"Nobody told me, my teacher never taught me."
I was like, "that's fantastic," and why is that?
Well maybe they didn't know it, maybe it wasn't in the book, maybe it's not on the curriculum, maybe it's — and then they would all realize, it's not on the Minnesota state standards, I'm like that's fantastic, who sets those standards?
And then of course with smartphones they start googling it and they're like, oh my gosh, it's this group of people, blah blah blah, and then they — then thankfully, they start emailing.
How do you get people to action?
Give them a minute to do it, so they're like, I can't believe you don't have — I'm like, we're taking a five minute email break, everybody do it, two points extra credit.
So they're emailing like mad about how furious they are, and I said, you should ask for a property tax rebate because you didn't get — you know, a little bit of check, little check action coming back because you didn't get all the information you should've gotten, and so instead of feeling bad, shake it off a little bit by getting curious.
Get curious about it, because here's what happened.
Every time students did that is they — the shame immobilized them, but as they got curious they shook that off and they got really — they became — they took charge of their own education and said, wait a minute, how come I don't know this?
What's going on here, what's happening here?
And that is always the right way to go, get curious about it.
The second piece is come from a place of empathy.
If you want authentic relationships you've gotta bring your heart into this jam, and it is very difficult to do this with social justice issues because they're so fraught.
It's very difficult to do this with climate and sustainability issues because it's so overwhelming.
You just want to shut down, you just want to say, la la la, I don't — it doesn't feel warmer to me, and then kind of go on your merry way even as it's all happening around us, and so for slightly different reasons, the pain and fraught nature of it or the overwhelmed, we leave our hearts and our whole selves out of this conversation.
But you have to bring your whole self to it, you have to have a sense of empathy and care around this, we really do.
We have to care for our environment and through that care create far more approaches — or powerful approaches to sustainability and we have to care for each other and through that care we'll be able to have much harder conversations across race and class and gender and come to a place where we can be together, work together.
And so — and it's our jam, we're mammals, we're not turtles.
I remember watching the Planet Earth series and there's a segment on sea turtles and they crawl up and leave their eggs and then the adults crawl back and they're like yep, check you later, gator, good luck you know, like I hope you make it.
And so then the camera, the BBC camera is showing the turtles hatching out of the eggs, you're like, "oh my gosh, that is adorable," like they're like, "I'm a baby sea turtle," it's super cute, right?
And they slowly head down the sand and you're like, "oh my gosh, this is so adorable," and a tiny bit of water laps up and you're like, "oh, this is a great moment," and then a larger wave, and then thunderous waves are crashing on the shore and the sea turtles are getting washed back and tossed around, they've got underwater cameras and they're showing the sea turltes, and then David Attenborough comes over in his British voice and he says, certainly most of the turtles will die, and I was like, "what?!"
You know I mean I was absolutely freaking out, I'm like, "you're there with a camera, grab the damn turtle," you know what I mean?
I was so upset about it, I couldn't believe it, like 'cause I'm a mammal, I'm not a turtle and so I'm going to care about the turtle.
Because there's something about tend and befriend, we're wired for it, and so it is part of our jam to be empathetic, it is part of who we are to care about each other.
Systems of oppression cut us off from each other and make it really hard to do that but social justice reconnects us in really profound ways, so it is part of what we do.
And then the last piece is humility, and that's simply saying, I don't know.
So my uncle has all kinds of thoughts about immigration, I'm like dude, tell me your experience with immigration history, what have you studied, what have you read, what do you know?
What is that?
It's the history of immigration.
Like I don't know, and he'll kind of tell me he knows nothing about it and I said, well let's just talk a little bit.
When when could you become a citizen if you weren't white?
When did that happen?
And he's like I don't know.
I said, law '52, in action in '54.
Did you know that?
Because we have this narrative of, this country's always been open to people — that's actually not true along lines of race, that's actually not true.
So tell me a little bit.
What kind of Supreme Court decisions were passed about immigration, how has immigration law been levied in the United States?
How about, like I ask him concrete questions and he has zero knowledge, like none, and I don't get all shamey blamey, I'm like yeah man, I didn't know it either so I'm happy to send you a book, and so I doubt they've ever come out of the wrapping frankly, I don't think — they're probably still in their plastic, but but the point is is that I'm willing to understand, like yeah, of course you don't know it.
But you shouldn't be talking about it if you don't know it.
So what we need to build the capacity to do, particularly faculty, is to say I don't know, 'cause if you've got doctorate letters around your name, look out, 'cause we will expound on stuff we know nothing about but we'll put on our professor eyebrow situation and we'll even take a professorial stance about it and we will pontificate about things we have zero training or knowledge in, which I love.
It's an occupational hazard but we do it so well.
Do you see what I'm doing right now?
Like it makes you think, like wow, she's really — she knows a lot about this.
I don't know what I'm talking about but I will look like I do, and so what we need to do particularly as faculty, as student affairs folks, is say you know what, I don't know a thing about this, it wasn't my field, it's not my training, but I'm interested in learning so let's do it together.
So how do we create authentic relationships that will allow us to work across lines that are connected to social justice issues and allow us to have a much deeper and more profound conversation about sustainability?
We have to replace guilt, shame and blame with curiosity, empathy and humility.
So that's segment number one.
Segment number two is we have to at least have a social justice frame if we're going to understand social justice issues, but also if we're going to understand sustainability in any meaningful way, in any meaningful way, and so I'm going to go over this concept, this next concept.
It's a big — if you're writing a paper this is an important one so you should probably get a snap of this or write it down or do something, and then I'm going to ask you to chat in groups of three or four about work this campus or your campus has done.
And so persity, cultural competency, equity and social justice.
These terms get confused, used interchangeably all the time.
They are 100% not the same thing.
So, persity work, you hear it all the time, it's persity work on our campus, persity program, persity this and that, I love persity.
Anybody can say I love persity because it doesn't require me to do anything, I just say I love persity, like I don't have to change anything, I just get to get — yeah, and so persity work, persity programs, persity events, if you really look at them and particularly if you look at the literature, they are merely designed to develop an awareness and an appreciation of difference, but that's it.
That's why you can have an amazing persity week where all kinds of events happen and programs and people come to speak and they do all these amazing things and food from around the world and everyone's really full and really excited, but come Monday of the next week not a single policy, practice or procedure on your campus has changed.
Nothing has changed.
Do you — are you picking up what I'm saying?
Nothing has changed but you've just had a week that made it look like your campus is committed to persity.
So equity and social justice are about change, changing business as usual so that it grows and becomes more inclusive and better.
So persity work is good.
My undergrad, we lived in residence halls, and my RA when I first got there, she the first day or two had us do this persity bingo thing where one block was like out of state, science major, lactose intolerant, you know all kinds of stuff, and you just walked up and down the hall and you're like, are you out of state?
Oh, will you sign my box?
Are you an only child, will you sign my box?
Da da da, and you knew who is from you know Oregon, who is also a science major, who is an only child, who not to go to ice cream with, like you knew all of that stuff but nowhere in a box did it say, have a detailed conversation about the history of structural racism in the United States because it would be so tiny and it's not really what that event is for.
The event is to team build, to build some connections, but it's not designed to change systems and it's not having a conversation about resources, and the differences on this campus and all your campuses, the differences that are make or break are not about awareness and appreciation, it's about who has access to resources and who doesn't.
Who gets faculty time and who doesn't, who gets research opportunities and who doesn't, who gets tenure and who doesn't.
Like the challenges in any one of your lives are not about whether you're liked or not, it's about who gets access and who doesn't, and so if that's really what's at the heart of this, persity's clearly the wrong tool for the job.
Cultural competency is about skill development across cultural lines, very important, we need that, and yet it's also not about resources and it's not about systems so the only one that will actually change dynamics of race or gender or class in any meaningful way is an equity and social justice approach, and what does that mean?
Two main points:
Number one, it means you're looking at systems and history, so you're talking about systems of immigration and the history of immigration, you're talking about systems of gender, kind of access or not and the history of that, you're talking about class and how that has affected so many people's lives systemically, structurally, throughout U.S.
So, it's conversations about systems and history, and embedded in that you start to then understand and connect it to issues of sustainability, climate and environment, because they will begin to present themselves.
The second reason that we do this is because when you look at systems in history, that is the conversation where you can talk about access to resources, power and privilege.
It is the place where you can say, well this policy makes it really difficult for students who are in this economic background to have access.
Like, do we always have to drop you from all your classes if you haven't paid this particular amount of money in a certain time?
Because it's not professional middle class students who are having trouble paying their tuition, it's working class students who often have the challenge of that and if they don't get it in on time, they get dropped from all the classes they registered for.
By the time they pay it and try to re-register, many of them are full, and if the requirements for any kind of degree requirements in any way, then you might have to spend a whole extra semester here just trying to make ends meet.
That's not true for professional middle class students but it is often true in our colleges and universities of working class students.
They have to spend more time at the institution, pay more money to be there, because they can't meet the rigid requirements of did you get this check in on time, and what's the big deal anyway?
We make our budgets three years out, little secret, and so we're spending money that we picked up from you three years ago, and so what is the big deal?
Why do we have to do that?
Because it's the rule.
Said differently, that's how the system works.
That's the policy.
How many times have you gone to student services, the students in this room, and been told, I'm sorry, that's the policy?
How many times has that happened to you and you're like, come on, I just need a week.
I'm sorry, that's the policy, that's the policy, right?
And now you're like oh, you think we don't need any rules?
No, I think we need some structural kind of guidelines but I know as a faculty member that every time I held to, that's the policy, was always at the detriment of students.
It never really helped students, like that's the policy, too bad, sink or swim, because they had a need, they had a need that was real.
So equity and social justice is in this column not to be all cranky and like bleh, the world stinks, that's not the point of it.
The point of it is that it's the hard diagnosis that allows us to have to have a pathway out of this.
There has to be a way out, and the way out of the racial tensions in this country is not awareness and appreciation of difference and it's not about culture 'cause it's not about culture.
You can have people, five different people from vastly different cultures in this room, but if you walk through TSA in Minneapolis, if you're dark skinned you will all get read in race as black.
That's not culture, they're like oh, you're Somali, that's not what's happening there.
It's how you get read and treated, and so cultural competency is important but it's not going to help us deal with race or gender or class because that's not what race or gender or class are.
So, this column is the key column, conversations about systems, social justice systems in history, conversations about our relationship to the environment, dynamics of sustainability, and the history behind that.
How have we done that up to this point?
And all of it is about resources, who has access to resources?
And it can feel bad and depressing but it's very much like getting a very hard and terrifying health diagnosis, and the physician says, I'm sorry, I'm deeply sorry but you have stage two stomach cancer, and I know it's terrifying, but there is a way out, but you have to follow the treatment protocols and you'll likely survive this.
If that's my situation I actually want the hard diagnosis 'cause it's the only way I'm going to survive it.
I do not want that to be my situation and have a physician say, well you can do this or you could do Pepto for a month, I mean you know either way, let us know, come back in a month.
The Pepto, meaning the tepid approach, is going to kill me in the end 'cause I'm not treating my illness.
So, the way to address dynamics of race and gender and class is to take a social justice and equity lens to it, and what does that mean?
Again it's having conversations about the systems on our campuses, the history of these dynamics, having conversations about access to resources but doing so in a way that's about, this is how we get out of this, this is how we create change, not where we reverse dynamics but where everybody benefits, everybody benefits, and so in groups of three or four people you're sitting around, when you think about the work on your campuses to address gender or class or race, which of these three columns has most of that work fallen into?
So, has your campus's work around racial issues been in the persity column, has your campus's work around gender been in the persity column, have you tried to talk about cultural differences along class lines, etc?
Which of these three columns has the bulk of your campus's work been in, that's part one, and what has the impact of that been, how effective has that been?
So, of your campuses, which of the three columns has most of your work around race, class and gender fallen into, and then how effective has that been for those issues?
So, groups of three or four, just a handful of minutes so you can chat with each other real quick and then we'll come back and wrap up.
All right, pause if you will, pause if you will.
So, quickly by show of hands, for how many of you was the bulk of your campus's work around race, class or gender in the persity column?
Just a show of hands, the bulk of it, not all of it but the bulk of it.
How about the middle column, cultural competency?
Couple, how about the far right, equity and social justice, systems, history?
Okay, I got two — three, sorry, three.
Just a few.
And so, if your desire as a campus is to do really deep and profound work around gender or class or race and you're in this column, you'll never ever get there, and why is that?
Because many people think it's a developmental sequence and a way to disrupt that is to say, well this is oranges, grapes and apples, and if our desire is an apple pie it's just illogical to put oranges in the recipe, and more importantly, you could have all the oranges in Florida in your kitchen, they'll never develop into apples, they'll just get old and funky and weird, right?
And so they are three separate things, all fruit.
I'm not going to argue the fruit factor, they're all fruit for sure but they're distinctly different and if the desire of your campus is to have apple pies and fritters and — I don't cook or bake, so all the things you do with apples, if that's your desire is to have an honest conversation about gender or class or race, you have to be in this column because that's where that conversation resides, and if you're in the wrong column you are in the wrong tool for the job, wrong tool for the job, and why does this matter?
So, let's make the connections between a social justice frame, equity frame, and sustainability work.
Sustainability work meaning, how does your campus use energy, how does your campus use and relate to water, what's your food production, what's your transportation?
On and on and on, in what ways is your campus trying to engage in environmental justice or sustainability work?
And the title of this was kind of a deeper solidarity between these two fields and doing sustainability work through a social justice lens, and so if I'm looking at systems in history, if I'm starting to understand race, class and gender more deeply, what does that do for my sustainability work?
It does three things: It helps me understand causal factors of how we got in this climate change moment, it helps me understand the current impacts of the climate more clearly and it helps me understand what leadership vision and action looks like around sustainability that's truly sustainable.
So let me touch on number one, causal factors, and this is a — we'll go into this in much more detail tomorrow in the workshop, but the causal factors are if we look at gender, race and class, and so I would often ask students, why do you think we're in this climate moment?
And they're like, consumption, blah blah, kind of kind of a set of not superficial but kind of midrange responses.
But a social justice lens allows us to get much deeper into the taproots of this.
So let me take you back about six centuries looking at European colonization and expansion globally, and in that in that historic period as Europe was about to do what it did, the relationship that it had in terms of gender was quite profound and deeply oppressive, and so gender the lens of gender at the time was that women were not full citizens, not fully human, they were objects to be possessed and they could be dealt with in any way that they wanted, and what's important for us to notice is that nature is also framed in the feminine form, so if that's the gender lens that was put on women by the body of people that was then going to expand globally in really profound ways, then that's the lens of gender we also got and when you frame nature in the feminine form, whatever you do to women, objects, control, enact violence, own, etc, you will do to nature, treating it as an object, treating it as something to be controlled, not having a relationship with it, certainly not equitable relationship with the natural world but a domineering relationship to the natural world.
When you add on top of that the economic structure of those colonized, imperial kind of lenses, the economic structure was one of linear extraction, take take take take take.
The Spanish and the Portuguese didn't head to the Americas and say hey, recycle, reduce, reuse everybody, you know.
Like that is not their jam.
It was, take take take take take people, places and things, so people, land, and material possessions, any resources that would've benefited them, and then you lay on top of that four centuries of the social construction of race particularly in the United States where a dominant group racially would say, you can't question our stewardship of the planet because we're the superior race.
I mean you can't question the European vision of development, you can't question how Europeans frame kind of growth in a society, you can't question our economic structures, you can't question anything that we're doing because we're the superior race of people.
So we relate to nature in a violent way, we will extract in linear ways and we will tell you to be quiet and stop questioning us because of racial superiority.
And so that's a — you might be like, where is she going, how does she come up with this?
You'll have to come to the workshop tomorrow to figure that out, but you're going to in a very general way, when you dig into the social justice connections to climate change, environmental justice and sustainability, there's quite a bit of information that helps us understand those causal relationships, and why do I call them causal?
Because if our relationship to the natural world is that this is disposable, then how on earth are you going to preserve it?
Do you see what I'm saying?
If you just think that the world is here for you to dominate, why would you care to the extent that we need to in order to dramatically shift our relationship to the natural world?
Do you see what I'm saying?
So, if you just see this as an object of your possession and control, why would you treat it with the kind of care necessary to allow it to flourish?
And if all we do is have at our base the kind of economic mindset of consume, you feel bad?
You feel good, celebrate by shopping.
You wanna tell somebody you love them?
Buy them something.
That's the — like we don't even say I love you anymore, it's just like here's some stuff, here's some junk, yay, look how much I love you, I bought you a 90-million-inch television.
It covers the entire wall of this building.
Sorry your apartment's too small for it, but look how much I love you, right?
Like notice, notice, you are totally outmatched on this campus if you're trying to get students to consume less with a mindset in our society that says consume at breakneck paces, and what's underneath that is a deeply held belief about class, right?
A deeply held belief.
Michael Eric Dyson in his book, "Tears We Cannot Stop," was talking about the fact that the per capita the largest owners of BMWs in the United States are black folks, whether you can afford it or not.
And what's important as he was talking about this is that that is not something that actually deeply and profoundly serves the black community in the United States but it is an attempt at equalizing along lines of class in hopes of kind of displacing the effects of race, and of course it doesn't work, right?
It doesn't work 'cause that's not how these three systems operate, and so if we understand the power of the mindsets, the oppressive mindsets of gender, race and class, we will understand how important it is to disrupt them if we're going to change our ways of being on this planet and create truly sustainable spaces, really sustainable spaces.
The second way that a social justice lens connects to sustainability work is it really helps us pay more attention to vulnerable communities and understand the United Nations' sustainable development goals and really start to recognize that —I think there's 17 of them, right?
Not one of them can be achieved without a social justice lens, not one, not one.
Number one or two says, end poverty.
They don't just say reduce poverty, they're like, just end it, period.
I was like oh, I can get on board with that.
But notice what has to happen in terms of our economic lens to end poverty.
Like we have to shift the way we are economically if we're going to end poverty.
So, it helps us understand current impacts and doing sustainability work through a social justice lens finally helps us understand leadership, vision and action, and we can build deeper coalitions and have more collective action.
At too many campuses the sustainability office is completely separate and out of touch from the multicultural student affairs office or the persity, equity and inclusion office, whatever you want to call it.
These two groups rarely talk to each other, but if sustainability work is done through a social justice lens then the sustainability office will make much better connections and coalitions with these offices and these offices will see their issues as part of a sustainability objective for a campus, so you start to build coalitions, more collective action on a campus, and really start to see shifts.
Like you can recycle all you want, that actually doesn't stop you from buying the plastic soda bottles.
You can recycle like mad, what we need you to do is stop buying the plastic soda bottles, that's what we need you to do if we're going to make it, and so you can have all kinds of back end procedures that help capture, but what we want to do is get to the front end, get to deeper causal factors about why are our campuses not sustainable in the first place, and that requires a deeper lens and much more powerful coalitions across the campus to really make this push.
So, the last piece then is a commitment to action, a commitment to action, and so last conversation, last conversation.
But I just hate talking for an hour, it bores me and I know it bores you.
So, last conversation, with your neighbor, we're talking about sustainability, like campus sustainability, environmental sustainability.
With your neighbor, discuss what exactly we're trying to sustain when you talk about sustainability, and here's what I mean.
What kind of lifestyle, what kind of transportation, what kind of food production?
I've got a contract with a college in New England and they have a massive dining commons and you can just eat all you want, you could eat all you want, and when I was a biology major, with earthworms, if you snipped the fourth neuron in their neural net they would eat until they exploded because they would lose the capacity to tell that they're full, and I feel like that's what happens there.
It's like somehow the neural net gets switched off and jaws get unhinged and whole trays of food just get dumped in, it's extraordinary, it's extraordinary, and yet they're trying to do some sustainability work, and I'm like, I'm not saying you shouldn't eat, don't get me wrong, and if some of you are like you know have hearty appetites I'm not saying that either, I'm saying, what does it mean that it's just a free for all?
What's the psychology of that space, and the psychology is just eat as much as you want, consume as much food as you would like with no conversation about the impact of that.
Don't worry about that, don't worry about it.
And so if I were to ask them, what are they trying to sustain without a critical lens, they would try to sustain that, but do you see how that's like that fundamentally is unsustainable?
Eat all you want constantly, that's not a sustainable paradigm.
So, that's what I'm asking you to discuss with your neighbor, is when your campuses say sustainability, are you trying to just sustain business as usual or do you have a different vision in mind?
So, what do you actually mean when you say that?
So, handful of minutes in pairs and we'll do one more bit and wrap up and then we're done, so five minutes in pairs please.
So, pause if you will and let's just hear two examples from the floor.
When your campuses talk about sustainability, what is is that you're trying to sustain exactly?
[Speaker C]: The college itself.
[Heather Hackman]: The — what do you mean by that?
[Speaker C]: [speaking off mic, unintelligible]
[Heather Hackman]: Okay, so does that look like this or can it look different?
What does — help get a little more specific around what that looks like.
[Speaker C]: [speaking off mic, unintelligible] — talking about social issues, it keeps ongoing.
[Heather Hackman]: Okay, all right.
[Speaker D]: Students' health.
[Heather Hackman]: Students' health, students' health and well-being.
I added wellbeing, is that okay?
[Speaker D]: Yeah.
[Heather Hackman]: Okay all right, students' health and well-being.
And so I think what's important about this is I find myself getting seduced by the status quo and then thinking that micro-changes I make are to scale, and what I'm inviting you all to think about as a campus community is, given the data — and this is where not having access to climate change data, not having access to the statistics, not really knowing what's about to happen and what is happening right now — it can be profoundly misleading where we think that things are cool, but look, we put two solar panels on our thing, like we are we're killing it with our solar action, but if you know the data you might then realize that's nowhere to scale to the the degree of the problem, and so if we're going — if the goal is to sustain a place where students can achieve an education then you have to radically reimagine what these campuses look like, not just tweak, radically reimagine what these spaces look like.
And so why do you have empty green space out here, why is that?
You can grow extraordinary amounts of stuff there, why are you doing that with your water, is it necessary, is it useful, is it conducive to sustainability or does it just look a certain way?
And so you have to radically reimagine what educational spaces look like, and what we talk about and what AASHE talks about is any campus that doesn't isn't actively, aggressively using solar for example, particularly in a place where you seem to have a titch of sun, you are decades behind what really needs to be going on right now.
Not it's not a choice actually, it's not a choice, you actually have to do it, we have to engage in renewable energy and it's okay if you — you can not like what I'm saying now, it actually doesn't mean I'm wrong.
So really hear that.
You can be irritated by that point I just made, it doesn't actually mean I'm wrong.
And so Colorado State, Fort Collins is in a purely extraction state, the primary source of income in the state of Colorado is extraction, all extraction industries, and yet they have done incredible work around sustainability.
They have miles to go, but my point is even in an extraction state they were able to make substantial gains in terms of their sustainable sustainability efforts.
University of Colorado, Colorado Springs kicked Aramark off their campus and started finding local producers for their food because the corporatocracy of Aramark was deeply problematic economically, socially, politically and in terms of their food production, and they knew that they could get all of that service locally.
And so you have to radically reimagine what transportation looks like, what energy looks like, what your physical spaces look like, and we have to move well beyond a tweak, we have to do something profoundly different, profoundly different, and that's where combining a social justice lens and deep sustainability, critical sustainability, allows us to imagine those types of spaces.
So, what do we do, what do we do?
Number one, find your edge and lean in, and if you ever think what I'm doing is good enough, then you probably are wrong and so you need to lean in.
I know that's true for me, like I think I'm doing well, and I realize oh no, six months later when I learn more I'm like oh, that was an overestimation of myself.
And so any time you're like little chuffed up, like we're good, you probably need to look at what some gaps in knowledge or awareness are and lean harder into your commitment to both equity and social justice and sustainability.
The second piece of shared commitments means shared risk.
So, if you're a campus that says we're committed to equity, you have to have a shared level of commitment to risk.
But what typically happens is campus power structures will say, we care about persity and equity, and it's almost always the students who take the most profound risks around that, challenging the administration, demanding for changes, etc etc.
So, if you're going to have a shared commitment to equity and social justice you actually have to have a shared risk level of that as well, and the same is true, that that ideology holds well in terms of sustainability, in terms of sustainability, because most of the U.S.
Is living an utterly unsustainable lifestyle, and Annie Leonard — it's dated, but her video, the story of stuff, helps us understand the United States consumes well beyond our percentage of population globally, and it's not sustainable.
There's no way we can continue to do it.
And last point I'll make is that this isn't about being an ally to anybody, it's about being a co-conspirator, a really deep advocate, a true partner.
Ally allows me to stay one bubble removed from you and your experience, but a co-conspirator means I'm in the boat with you.
An ally says, "I'm cheering, you're rowing," but a true partner gets in the boat and rows with you, and so in order to connect this sustainability work and social justice work, to have a much deeper solidarity that's not about being allies or kind of connected but to have a deep connection and a deep solidarity, actually it's critically important to develop a social justice lens and to do sustainability work through that lens and for the equity and social justice folks on this campus to realize that sustainability is an equity and social justice issue.
And so that's my invitation to you, not 'cause I know you, but to any and every campus that I speak at, is find your edge and lean in, really make a commitment, really make a commitment to this, and it's not being hyperbolic to say like, we are the first generation to experience really concrete effects of climate change, and we are the last generation that can have any meaningful impact on it.
So this is the moment, this is the moment.
We have to act like the house is on fire because it actually is, it actually is, and I don't say that like oh, we're doomed, I say it because with collective action we can create some substantial change, but if we don't collectively do this, if we're not in it together to win it then we will end up responding too late, and some of the worst consequences of this climate moment will come to pass, and you will kick the can down the road to the next generation and they will suffer badly because of it, they will suffer because of our lack of movement and action.
So let's not do that, let's not do that.
And the last thing I'll say is that there's extraordinary hope, because with this collective action comes incredible innovation, and for faculty you'll get out of your siloed departments and you'll start teaching really cool innovative courses and students will have a much more dynamic experience and your campus will be a healthier place for students to be sure not just physically but emotionally, socially, politically, every way, it'll be a more human, a more collective and a healthier space, and that's really the charge of higher education in the 21st century.
Hasn't always been but it should be in the 21st century, and so it's not doom and gloom, it's an incredible moment of hope and opportunity, so let's seize it, let's seize it.
Okay, thank you for your time and thank you for your work.
[mic cuts out]
[Heather Hackman]: Say it again?
[Speaker E]: It is an important workshop training for employees, so if you're an employee you're welcome to come.
[Heather Hackman]: All right.
[Speaker F]: How do you introduce these human rights type issues earlier in life?
You don't hear about this 'til you're in college, we're adults, introduce this earlier —
[Heather Hackman]: Yeah, the question is how do you introduce this earlier in life, and I was sharing with Georgeann, like I will absolutely die on the hill of education, I will plant my flag there and fight my last fight on the hill of education, and so what's required not just in Texas per se, in the state of Minnesota as well, nationally, is a real shift in our P-12 curriculum, but in our P-12 pedagogy, 'cause it's so fascinating to me that we encourage kindergartners to share and be all fuzzy and take naps, like I could've used a nap my junior year of high school.
Like I know, I was totally maxed out, I needed a nap, and so we do amazing things in early childhood ed and then we kind of squeeze those out of students as they go through middle and secondary, and what an incredible loss because all we're doing is training students to be automatons in an educational system and then we ask them to think critically and engage in intersectional analyses, but we've spent probably eight of those 12 years squeezing that out of them and demanding that they lock step a curriculum, and so the primary way to start that conversation at an earlier age is through education.
The secondary way is to change our relationships in our communities, and so one of the dynamics of the class structure of the United States is that you have made it when you have your own home with your own fence around it and all your own stuff and it's not terribly conducive to collective kind of knowing your neighbors on your block, and even when it's cold, I'm out shoveling, we're all chatting with each other, we're chatting each other up, blibbity blabbity bloo, so it takes forever to shovel our sidewalks in Minnesota.
This thing called snow falls on the ground and you have to have a shovel to get it up and so it takes forever because we're all chatting with each other because we've established a commitment to know what everybody's doing, what's going on for everybody, how are you, and so two, three doors down, Bernice is not feeling so well and so we're going to go chat with her and make sure her yard, her sidewalk is shoveled and she's got groceries and stuff like that.
So, this notion of mine, whether it's physical space, emotional space, economic space, political space, is not conducive to collective action.
So, the second major thing is just change the way we are with each other, and it's such — it's simple things like saying hey, how are you, and actually pausing to listen, to really being in deep and profound relationships as colleagues and students and friends.
And as a faculty member, just FYI, I always start my classes with one minute of ground in and five minutes of check in, just so everybody knew how everybody was.
Just find out how everybody's doing, and it changes the dynamic of the class even in a 300-person lecture class it changes the dynamic, 'cause students expect that they're going to have to talk to each other.
So, it shifts it slowly.
One more question if you have it.
[Speaker G]: We all recently created an equity statement — [unintelligible] — what might be some examples of a next step after you have an equity statement?
[Heather Hackman]: Yeah, so you're going to be like yeah, I don't like her at all and so with this answer, which is real, that's totally real.
What we tend to find as a consulting group is that organizations, whether it's higher ed, for profit, non-profit, they will make equity statements without any training or comprehensive knowledge with which to make that statement, so they tend to do a couple things.
One is they use language that's not equity and social justice.
Two, they set goals and outcomes that are superficial and tepid and cursory, and three, they they set plans that they don't actually know what is required to carry them out and so you'll have a power structure, have it buy into an equity statement but when they're asked to then execute that equity statement they either won't or can't or don't know how.
And so the answer to your question is, before you make an equity statement, you should actually get enough training with your leadership, so president, cabinet, etc, have them understand what this what's actually required to do this work, and then craft a statement that speaks to that.
It's analogous to designing a building and then taking architecture and engineering courses, like yeah, I can design a building, I've seen them, I'm in one right now, I mean I know how to do that, can't be that hard, ee ii oo aah, but then I don't realize where load bearing walls need to go, I actually totally underestimate the number of resources necessary, I don't realize that you know glass has to be supported because weight's on top of it, you know what I mean?
It would be a complete shambles if I tried to build the building just based on the knowledge I had when I drew it up, and so take the architecture and engineering courses first and then design your building.
It doesn't mean there's not going to be flaws in it but it does mean that you will quickly assess what those flaws are or more quickly and be able to tweak and change and move.
But too many campuses, mostly to appease student resistance and student activism, or staff who are like we have to do this, craft an equity statement that has very little teeth, not a lot of capacity to be executed, and leadership will start to balk when you talk about the real resources necessary to get there, and so my recommendation would be to put that on hold for a minute and then train the decision makers and those who have leverage and power to carry that out, such that they really understand, and I'm working with a university in Florida where that's exactly what we did.
They wanted me to come in and help with this statement, I said absolutely not, but here's what I will do.
I'll spend a day with your president and their cabinet and I'll tell you what's required to do this and then you can make an informed decision about whether you're actually going to do it or not, and they decided to wait a year because their campus climate among their faculty is quite challenging and they're not ready for it, it would explode for them, and that's a wise decision and so they're miles away from an equity statement, they're not even into training yet but at least they know what's required to do it and they can make an informed decision around that.
Sorry, I know that's a horrible answer too — 'cause you're like oh, we already designed the building, and so I get it, I get it, and and what you want to do is quickly get to levels of intensive training for leadership and decision makers so that they understand what's at stake here.
Yeah, thank you, thank you.
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