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Ask President Drake: March 2021

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“Ask President Drake” is a new way for UC staff to connect with President Drake. If you have a question for the president, email it to ucnetwork@universityofcalifornia.edu and it could be featured in an upcoming issue of UCnetwork!

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March question: How are you working to make UC policies and practices actively anti-racist?

President Drake:

It’s important that we as a community understand that combating racism requires systemwide, local and personal work, and reimagining what it means to be anti-racist. This work is in process in different ways throughout the university. UC leaders across the system have pledged to address pernicious racism — anti-Black racism in particular — and UC locations have created anti-racism task forces and initiatives to interrupt biases and dismantle structural racism.

At the UC Office of the President, the UCOP Anti-Racism Task Force delivered its recommendations to me toward the end of last year, and we are now finalizing plans to implement them. The recommendations for UCOP cover a wide range of areas including:

  • increasing senior leadership’s accountability in meeting diversity, equity and inclusion standards;
  • establishing mandatory training and creating professional development programs for all employees related to diversity, equity, bias and anti-racism;
  • including diversity, equity, inclusion and workplace climate contributions as criteria in employee rewards programs;
  • reviewing and updating local human resources procedures with an anti-racist lens;
  • establishing a comprehensive manager evaluation and feedback process, and requiring at least one annual goal regarding equity, diversity, inclusion and workplace climate. 

We’ve also mandated Implicit Bias training for all UCOP leaders and managers, and we’ve established a local ombuds office to provide a confidential, safe place to discuss workplace issues.

We are also looking at how to move forward on three systemwide task force recommendations:

  • strengthen systemwide mechanisms for filing complaints of bias, racism and discrimination
  • explore the creation of systemwide anti-racism policy
  • review existing systemwide policies through an anti-racism lens

Countering racism and promoting equity will require continual work, collaboration and our collective commitment. I am confident that, together, we can make UC a great place to work where everyone feels welcome, safe, and respected and treated fairly.

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