Carnegie Mellon University

The President’s Charge to the Task Force on Campus Climate

Issued September 2018

At Carnegie Mellon University, we are guided by the values that serve as our foundation, including diversity, inclusion, integrity, empathy and respect for the dignity of others. Our vigilance in upholding these principles has recently been called into question by recent events and so we are eager to take advantage of this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to our values and identify ways for us to do better in living up to them. 

Accordingly, I am appointing the President’s Task Force on Campus Climate. My charge to this Task Force is to make specific recommendations on steps Carnegie Mellon can take to further support a climate that is more inclusive, equitable, respectful and understanding for faculty, students and staff, across all our campuses and locations. I am also charging the Task Force with evaluating whether we have the right mechanisms to respond to incidents that do not comport with our community’s values and standards. 

I am specifically charging the Task Force to address the following issues:

Campus Climate

  1. What are we currently doing to promote a university-wide environment and culture that is inclusive, equitable, respectful and understanding for all members of our community? How well are we accomplishing this goal?  How can we improve the reach and effectiveness of programs and resources currently in place?
  2. What can be done to empower individuals and campus groups to join senior leadership in promoting and supporting such a university-wide environment and culture?
  3. What new programs and resources should be considered, including ongoing mechanisms that will address issues of inclusion, equity and respect?

Campus Response

  1. What does CMU currently do to respond to incidents that are alleged to infringe upon these values, whether they be isolated or broader in scope? How quickly, and well, do we handle these situations? How can we improve our effectiveness in this effort?
  2. What can be done to empower individuals and campus groups to counter unacceptable actions and act as advocates for a better climate on campus?
  3. Do we have the right mechanisms of support, communication and response in place, and how could these be improved?

In addition, I am further charging the Task Force with considering how we should measure our success in these areas in the future.

Carnegie Mellon has tremendous expertise in many of these areas and I encourage the Task Force to engage subject matter experts from across campus who can bring their knowledge and experience to bear on these issues. The Task Force should also review current efforts that are already underway across the campus, including those by the Faculty Committee on Diversity, Inclusion and Development, The Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, as well as reports prepared by the Faculty Senate, the Staff Council and the Task Force on the CMU Experience, among others, to understand how they might inform campus-wide practices. The Task Force is also empowered to engage an external adviser should it deem such assistance necessary to conducting its work.

We encourage the Task Force to establish subcommittees to expedite its proceedings. The Task Force and its subcommittees should engage in broad outreach to the CMU community to ensure that all who wish to have their voices heard are given a chance to engage. The Task Force should also create opportunities for all of  CMU’s campuses and locations to meaningfully participate. A dedicated website will assist with keeping the community informed of the Task Force’s work and will also include a mechanism for receiving feedback and input.

We expect a report on the Task Force’s proceedings by May 1, 2019. We expect the Task Force to make recommendations which are actionable in the short term, as well as to develop recommendations which are more aspirational in nature for the longer term. We recognize that the Task Force’s recommendations may require additional time and resources to realize. 

The issues to be addressed by the Task Force are complex, profound in their scope, and influenced by the world in which our community exists. We will endeavor to be as inclusive and thorough as possible during its proceedings, and to make transparent efforts to improve Carnegie Mellon’s campus climate. With our collective tenacity, compassion and wisdom, we can continue to build and sustain a community of which we are all proud.