Voices Of Indigenous Concerns in Education
The Office of Diversity & Inclusion has begun to investigate the status of the listed demands. We will post updates to this site regularly as information is received.
As Indigenous people on this campus, we are accustomed to facing macroaggressions and dealing with stereotypes. Oftentimes, we react to the encounter, process it, and move on, hoping it will not happen again. This time, we want to break the cycle by starting with the following solutions:
Native SOAR Demand Letter
1. President Robbins must follow through with his commitment to formally apologize in-person to the students of Native SOAR, and if possible, the larger Native American community.
President Robbins released the following statement on November 3, 2019
"I want to extend my sincerest apology for my comments and their impact. Today, I met with two Native student leaders and was grateful to hear their perspectives and concerns. I learned a great deal and want to learn more. I will be meeting with more of the students who were in the class tomorrow to convey my deep regrets over my comments. I value your presence on our campus and the contribution you make to our academic community and I want you all to feel included and supported. I look forward to learning from and partnering with you on these important issues."
2. The President and this university need to develop a sustainable structure for ongoing meetings with interests and voices of tribal communities.
Update Coming Soon
3. The President and his Senior Leadership Team (SLT) need to create a new position within SLT to reflect the interests and voices of tribal communities.
Two positions on the President’s Senior Leadership Team (SLT) have been created with a concerted focus on the interests and voices of tribal communities. The position of Senior Vice President for Native American Advancement & Tribal Engagement, filled by Levi Esquerra, former Chairman of the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe, will oversee university-wide efforts to improve the success of Native American students, identify and promote tribal interests, and build programs and research capacity in ways that honor and respect tribal sovereignty and the needs of Native nations and tribal communities in Arizona and beyond. Additionally, the position of Assistant Vice Provost for Native American Initiatives, filled by Karen Francis-Begay, will focus on Native American student recruitment, Native American student success and retention, and Native American faculty promotion and tenure.
4. The President needs to lead by example to include more people of color, and individuals from the LGBTQIA+, undocumented, refugee, and disabled communities in his SLT.
The President’s Senior Leadership Team (SLT) has been significantly expanded to include 27 leaders from across campus who hold many nondominant identities. The diverse backgrounds and perspectives represented on SLT are an asset to the University as we continue to lead into the future.
5. The President must support the institutionalization of the few Indigenous-focused programs on campus to sustain and grow them.
As of November 16, 2020, institutional funding from the Executive Office of the President and the Office of the Provost was committed in order to create a full-time Director position for the Native SOAR program. The full-time Director role is now filled by Amanda Cheromiah.