HECUA’s origin story focuses on how students and faculty in predominantly white institutions demanded that higher education pay attention to and connect with the lived experience of people of color. During HECUA’s more than four decades of operation, staff and faculty have also looked inward to recognize and change behavior and structures in the organization and the classroom that replicate structures of racial inequity. You’ll find a brief summary of our work below.
Addressing Institutional Racism
In 2006, HECUA engaged the consulting group MCARI (the Minnesota Collaborative Anti-Racism Initiative) to assess and guide its journey toward becoming an intentionally anti-racist organization.
From 2006-2012, HECUA staff had multiple trainings with MCARI in understanding and dismantling institutional racism. HECUA set a series of anti-racism goals for the organization, which were endorsed by the board of directors.
- Increase access for students of color, assessing and addressing financial and other factors, and target recruitment of students of color for all HECUA programs.
- Make administrative changes in policy and procedures regarding hiring and vendors.
- Assess and strengthen all HECUA programs’ ability to serve students of color; make critical issues of race and power central to all Twin Cities HECUA programs and to all other programs as appropriate.
- Dedicate professional development funds for ongoing staff training around anti-racism.
Working groups within the organization developed for each of these goals, and HECUA staff create and engage practices that address them. A coordinating committee keeps track of the working groups’ progress and maintains energy at three half-day anti-racism retreats for staff each year.
HECUA staff have also designed an internal granting process, where staff members can apply for grants of up to $6,000 to advance the organization’s anti-racism work.
Read more about our anti-racism work on the HECUA blog.