We organize reparative justice around Three Pillars: (I) Transformation, (II) Restoration, and (III) Nourish and Uplift. Each pillar addresses specific areas of historical and ongoing harm to BIPOC faculty created by their intentional and systemic exclusion from higher education.
These Three Pillars should not be treated as multiple choice options; rather, institutions should address all these areas in their plan. Only focusing on one or two will bring us back to this point where racial inequities abound.
It is also important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all solution that will “fix” white supremacy across the region; states and institutions will have to do the work of operationalizing these pillars in ways that best suit the needs of BIPOC faculty in their states and on their specific campuses.
The information in each Pillar highlights different ways to work toward and achieve the Three Pillars of reparative justice and provides examples from various institutions. The variety of the activities and the institutions highlighted indicates that reparative justice can be pursued in a number ways (that suit the specific context of each institution), and can be pursued in different types of organizations – public and private, resource-constrained and resource rich environments.
Contrary to popular belief, institutions of higher education are not broken; they are doing what they were designed to do – exclude BIPOC people from their halls. Institutions of higher education are not designed to accommodate BIPOC people. Therefore, it isn’t BIPOC faculty who need to be “fixed” in order to thrive in the academy. Rather, institutions need to transform how they operate so as to not harm BIPOC faculty. Transformation involves leveraging power, influence, and resources to ensure cessation and non-repetition of harmful practices that uphold white supremacy. Examples of Transformation include:
- Changing hiring and advancement procedures that marginalize BIPOC faculty
- Investing in cluster hires of BIPOC faculty
- Establishing pay equity by banning the use of salary history as a component of the interview process and for pay-setting
- Creating on-boarding and professional development for all faculty, staff and administrators with the purpose of decolonizing the institution
There have been constant and ongoing assaults on the intellectual capacity of BIPOC faculty. BIPOC faculty have seen their bodies, work, and their time disrespected, devalued, and dismissed. Institutions must take steps to repair the cultural and epistemic damages done to BIPOC faculty in the academy. Restoration involves taking steps to repair these cultural and epistemic damages done to BIPOC faculty in the institution. Examples of Restoration include:
- Funding BIPOC faculty participation in writing retreats
- Offering small awards, course releases, or moratoria for BIPOC faculty to focus on research
- Establishing library displays of the work of faculty of color
- Initiating monthly features of the work of BIPOC faculty on websites and publications for the institution
- Hosting webinars for BIPOC scholars to share their research with the campus and wider community
III. NOURISH AND UPLIFT
Institutions neglect the emotional, psychological, and physiological toll of being BIPOC faculty on a university campus and living in the surrounding environment where they are not supported. Institutions need tailored, targeted investments in services and programs that specifically support BIPOC, nourishing them holistically and creating spaces for their healing, imagination, and innovation. Examples of Nourish and Uplift include:
- Supporting BIPOC faculty participation in NEBHE initiatives around uplift
- Fostering affinity groups of BIFOC faculty
- Supporting constellation mentoring that allows BIPOC faculty to develop their own network of mentor partnerships that reflect their different needs
- Providing grants to allow BIPOC faculty to build their network of mentors off campus (having meetings with mentor partners, participating in communities to develop mentor partner relationships, etc.)