Social Justice Action Plan

Established 6/5/2020


Black Lives Matter.

The Student Programs & Engagement team will put that statement into action through this Social Justice Action Plan.

Why is SP&E doing this?

We have created this plan in the wake of the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade and overarching racial injustice. This page is one way to hold Student Programs & Engagement accountable to our mission of creating a sense of belonging and affirming Black identities. Here, we will outline our commitments, advertise educational programs, share resources, and document what we have done – not just what we have said. Our statements must, and will, become our actions.

Who is this for?

Make no mistake: our primary goal is in the wake of these events is to more equitably serve and support the experiences of Black students at Bentley. That includes both support to Black students – elevating Black voices, sharing resources for support, and putting into action our commitment of solidarity. It also includes better educating ourselves and students who do not identify as Black on ways we can engage in allyship and anti-racist work. Elevating, supporting, and standing with Black students is our number one priority within this plan. As we move forward, we will also explore ways to enhance this plan to also better serve the needs of other underrepresented student communities. We can and must do both.

What can I expect?

This page is meant to be regularly updated and will evolve over time. We will add content and remove content in a way that balances student needs, current events, and upcoming opportunities, while keeping this page easy to navigate and digest. We invite members of the community to share feedback on what is included here, and to share any resources, programs, or relevant information you would like others to see. But to be clear, we see providing this information to students as our responsibility (it is not a marginalized student’s job to educate us or others), and we commit to updating content at least monthly (but certainly sooner as current events and upcoming opportunities dictate).

This plan contains a number of resources, opportunities, and other information. We want you to know in addition to these items that we – the SP&E staff – are also a resource. As you browse this page for things that might offer you some support and/or topics you are interested in learning about, please know that we are here to guide you and process your experiences. For those seeking support: don’t hesitate to reach out. For those looking to learn: we are on this learning journey with you. This content is just a start. We welcome feedback, community contributions, and opportunities to collaborate.

A Note About Language

We use the term “Black” throughout this page with the intention of being inclusive of various African, African American, Multiracial, and Black identities. How each student self-identifies is an individual decision. If you are a non-Black individual working to be a better ally, we suggest you ask folks how they individually identify.

Events, Resources, or Feedback to Share?

Please use this form to share upcoming educational programs you'd like us to advertise on our page, resources for student support or education that you would like us to include, and/or any feedback on SP&E's social justice action plan and/or web page.

Resources for Black Students

We acknowledge the real and human frustration, exhaustion, and heartbreak you may be experiencing. Your trauma as a part of the Black community matters. Please feel free to explore any of these resources for support. Above all, know that we are here for you. Do not hesitate to reach out.

Online Reading:

This is What Black Burnout Feels Like

"I Am So Tired" by Robert M. Sellers

Surviving & Resisting Hate: A Toolkit for People of Color

The emotional impact of watching white people wake up to racism in real-time​

Self-Care Tips

Mental Health Podcasts and Resources:

Melanin & Mental Health

Community Healing Network

National Alliance on Mental Illness

Meditation App:

Liberate by and for People of Color

SP&E's Anti-Racist and Social Justice Commitment

For the 2020-2021 academic year, Student Programs & Engagement will achieve the following goals related to our anti-racist and social justice commitment. In the coming days we will assign specific responsibility for each goal among our staff to ensure these goals are met. As we advance and achieve components of these goals, we will document that progress here. We may also add new goals as needed. It is important to note these goals, including programming commitments, will be achieved regardless of learning environment (i.e. in-person, virtual, or other format). At the end of the year, we will document our efforts in a social justice initiatives annual report, which will be posted to this page. We will use that report, as well as student feedback and needs, to determine goals for future years.

Goal #1: Support Black-affirming student organizations and cultivate more inclusive student spaces

  1. By August, the department will collaborate with other interested departments to convene an Identity and Advocacy Organizations presidents council made up of the presidents of each of the Identity and Advocacy (formerly cultural) student organizations. This council will meet regularly, pursue opportunities to collaborate, and will provide voice to Student Programs & Engagement staff on important issues. This council will also be responsible for allocating a new specific set of supplemental funds to social justice based programming on campus.
  2. The department will establish a new, dedicated budget to be allocated to campus programs that focus on social justice topics and goals. This budget will be administered by the department; however, funding decisions and how to allocate the budget will be decided by the Identity and Advocacy Organizations presidents council (see above).
  3. The department will develop and implement training sessions for faculty/staff advisors to student organizations that focus on themes of multicultural competency and inclusive advising. We will communicate this expectation to all advisors, and our goal is for 100% advisor compliance by the end of the academic year.
  4. The department will partner with key campus departments to support the success of Black students and organizations through a variety of collaborative initiatives. For example, this may include working with the MCC to support and enhance programming or dialogue opportunities in the Cultural Lounge.
  5. By December, the department will audit the various spaces it oversees (physical spaces, such as the Student Center; digital spaces, such as HYPE marketing efforts, etc.) to identify existing barriers as well as how to enhance sense of belonging and inclusion for Black students in those spaces.

Goal #2: Facilitate staff training and development in the areas of racial and social justice

  1. By September, staff members will set individual goals in alignment with our Social Justice & Inclusion professional competencies, specifically focusing on personal learning and development on issues of race. Performance with respect to these goals will be evaluated in alignment with existing HR processes.
  2. Each month, staff members will engage as a team in at least 1.5 hours of focused, guided professional development discussions on race, Black student identity, and multicultural competence. Topics for conversation each month will be informed by current events, industry knowledge and best practices, and experiences on our own campus.
  3. By the end of the year, staff will engage in internal and external professional development opportunities that serve to educate individuals to be better allies and advocates for Black students specifically, and underrepresented students more generally. These opportunities may include webinars, conferences, and program presentations.
  4. By the end of the year, each staff member will also contribute to other professionals’ learning and development on issues of racial justice. This may include facilitating a training session, submitting program proposals, or contributing to industry research and writings.

Goal #3: Adopt anti-racist departmental policies, processes and practices

  1. By December, the department will review and revise or eliminate entirely any departmental policies, processes and practices that may create barriers for Black students, students of color, and/or identity and advocacy (formerly cultural) student organizations. This review, revision, and elimination process will include representatives from these organizations. Policies, processes, and practices to be reviewed include, but are not limited to, the Student Organization Guidebook, Party Policy & CPB Policies, Fraternity & Sorority Life Standards and other policies, event policies and practices, the poster policy, and other procedures.
  2. By March, the department will incorporate University, Division of Student Affairs, and departmental strategic elements related to diversity, equity, belonging, identity awareness, and inclusion into new and more specific strategic plans for our department’s functional areas. These concepts, values, and goals will be included in strategic planning documents for: Student Organizations, Student Employment, Fraternity & Sorority Life, the Student Center, Campus Events & Traditions, Marketing.
  3. By August, the department will create a directory of Black-owned businesses and vendors, working with the Purchasing department, and will incorporate and track use of these vendors in departmental and student organization programs throughout the year.
  4. The department will create an annual report on social justice initiatives, documenting the actions it has taken to implement this Social Justice Action Plan. This report will be publicly available and communicated transparently to key stakeholders, including students, by July 1, 2021.
  5. The department will incorporate anti-racist, socially just, and more inclusive assessment practices related to use of services, student learning, and student engagement with respect to our department’s offerings. This includes more consistent measurement of demographic information for membership statistics, better understanding perceptions of belonging among communities of color, as well as obtaining data on White student learning in the areas of identity awareness and dialogue to make informed decisions on where to improve programs, policies, and practices.

Goal #4: Provide educational social justice programs for students

  1. The department will continue and expand dedicated equity and inclusion trainings for members of student organizations, fraternity & sorority life, and student employees. This will include increasing the number of students to whom these sessions are offered, expanding mandatory training requirements for specific student groups, and developing training content specific to racial justice and Black identities.
  2. The department will provide specialized learning and training opportunities for interested student organizations in order to address their specific diversity, inclusion, and equity needs.
  3. The department will continue its annual community-wide speaker event tradition, and this year’s speaker will be selected based on relevance to topics of Black identity and culture. Additionally, this year, the program will focus on increasing the student role in speaker selection, enhancing how we are documenting student learning as a result of the program, and increasing student attendance at the program.
  4. In addition to student group focused and community-wide educational program opportunities, the department will also introduce more regular small-scale educational opportunities. This may include establishing book/movie clubs related to anti-racist books and films, dialogue-based programs, discussions related to current events, and collaborative new programs.

Educational Opportunities

The department is advertising the upcoming educational and reflection focused programming opportunities.

SP&E's Identity 101 Webinar:

Resources for Aspiring Allies

We encourage students looking to expand their allyship to explore these resources, depending on what you feel you may need. Some of these resources lend themselves well to being reviewed and discussed as a group. A key element of improving your multicultural awareness is that it is a constant, ongoing learning process. Our staff are available to process and debrief any of these resources with you. Feel free to reach out to us!

Resources for American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Hispanic or Latinx, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, and Multiracial Students

Tools for Supporting Oneself:

Tools for Educating Oneself:

Tools for Engaging in Action:

Book List:

  • So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo
  • The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson - Now a major film, available for free on Amazon Video and YouTube for the month of June

Resources for White Students:

Tools for Educating Oneself:

Tools for Engaging in Action:

Book List:

  • So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo
  • White Fragility by Robin Diangelo
  • Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad

Additional Resources for Black Students

Please see above section, "Resources for Black Students" for resources for support.

Book List:

  • I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
  • Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Super Power by Brittney Cooper

Community Message

June 2, 2020

To our Black students,

There is so much to hold and process right now. We acknowledge the real and human frustration, exhaustion, and heartbreak you may be experiencing in the wake of the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and overarching racial injustice.

As Black students at a predominantly White institution, we see you. We see what you do to make Bentley a better and brighter place for faculty, staff, and students alike. Your work matters. Your life matters. Your trauma as a part of the Black community matters. We are committed to examining what role we currently play, and how we can be better, in more equitably serving and supporting the experiences of Black students on our campus.

This Friday, we will begin a regular practice of sharing relevant information and resources related to these efforts on a new, dedicated page of Information posted here will include educational programs, trainings, student organization news, policies, and community messages as one way to hold our department accountable to living out our mission of creating a campus that provides a sense of belonging and affirms Black identities.

We are committing ourselves to you and to this important work.

In solidarity,

The Student Programs & Engagement Team