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Drake works towards $1 million for Crew Scholars endowment, incident response plan

Graphic by Liv Klassen | Photo Editor

Drake University’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts include work on an incident response plan and fundraising for the Crew Scholars program. 


A response plan aims to address incidents of bias and hate

Drake’s latest DEIJ (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice) newsletter discussed an upcoming Incident Response Plan for incidents of bias and/or hate crimes on campus. 

The purpose of the plan is to “ensure greater transparency and expedite communication,” the newsletter says. Associate Provost for Campus Equity and Inclusion Jennifer Harvey said this action plan is partially in response to “huge gaps” in how Drake responded to incidents in February involving vandalism in Crawford Hall and Cowles Library. 

“It’s almost like a phone tree,” Harvey said. “Old school. But [the plan is] like, by this time, this communication will go to all of campus. And then there will be a meeting with all of these different people, so everyone’s working with the same information, getting all the information as transparently as possible. And then [the plan] maps out who they’ll be responsible for communicating with.”

The newsletter also said the Office of Equity and Inclusion will launch a new webpage “to collate resources, engage frequently asked questions and provide community education about incidents of bias.”

Under the drafted plan, Drake will communicate with students about the status of the university’s investigation into an incident, Harvey said. She said “one of the rumors is that once the tension leaves, Drake stops investigating stuff,” and gave examples of what the new communication may look like. 

“So, okay, guess what: We never found the perpetrator who left this graffiti note, but we’re letting you know that we have no new leads, and so for now this is being laid to rest,” Harvey said. “But not because we just quit investigating. We never could find the person.”

Another part of the plan is a standing team of people who meet regularly to “just sort of [check] in about how we’re doing in terms of campus climate when it comes to incidents.” 

Harvey said that “{if] we know that in two months, someone’s coming to campus to protest, and it’s someone that might make LGBTQ students feel particularly threatened,” Drake will have a team of people who know what’s happening and have a plan.

Harvey said TikTok personality Sister Cindy’s speech to campus, which The Times-Delphic reported on in September 2021, is the kind of incident she’s thinking of. Harvey said the Student Senate may have a role in this group, but she doesn’t know yet. 

In a campus-wide email sent in May, Harvey said Drake’s Office of Equity and Inclusion had been convening a leadership table called the JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) Roundtable once a month during the 2021-2022 academic year. 

In an interview, Harvey said the group has representation from Drake admissions, alumni, student affairs, faculty and the different colleges. 

“So that group will also see this plan again too, and say, ‘Okay, how does it look now?’” Harvey said. 

At the end of the month, Harvey is supposed to present the plan to the emergency management team convened by Public Safety Director Scott Law. 

Law would have to advise on whether the plan should be published on the webpage, Harvey said. She said the plan is “not going to be a secret” and that her “office door is wide open.”


Crew Scholars Fundraising

Drake is also raising one million dollars for the Crew Scholars, an academic program and community for students of color. Jazlin Coley-Smith, Drake’s director of equity and inclusion, said the funds will go towards expanding the program, hiring more student assistants to teach classes, and better-compensating faculty mentors. 

Vice President of University Advancement John Smith said the endowment will produce about $50,000 annually after it is fully funded with the one million. The endowment is part of The Ones, the university’s $225 million fundraising campaign. 

“All staff and volunteers representing The Ones consistently celebrate Drake’s inspiration to transform lives and strengthen communities,” Smith said. “The Crew Scholars program is central to that inspiration and a priority we are actively positioned with prospects.”

On Oct. 25, the university announced that the campaign had raised $150 million of its $225 million goal and gave a list of newly-announced major gifts. Smith mentioned the university is also looking at a number of additional financial gifts from donors that they expect to announce before winter break. 

This article is the second in a Times-Delphic series about diversity, equity and inclusion efforts on Drake’s campus. Previously, the Times-Delphic reported on rising racial/ethnic diversity at Drake and a new Equity and Inclusion requirement in the curriculum.

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