Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.30
Liaison Stephen Ellis
Submission Date May 31, 2024

STARS v2.2

Boston University
PA-7: Support for Underrepresented Groups

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Gabrielle Brewer
Sustainability Analyst
BU Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a publicly posted non-discrimination statement? :

The non-discrimination statement, including the website URL where the policy is publicly accessible:

Since its founding in 1869, Boston University has been dedicated to equal opportunity and has opened its doors to students without regard to race, sex, creed, or other irrelevant criteria. Consistent with this tradition, it is the policy of Boston University to promote equal opportunity in educational programs and employment through practices designed to extend opportunities to all individuals on the basis of individual merit and qualifications, and to help ensure the full realization of equal opportunity for students, employees, and applicants for admission and employment. The University is committed to maintaining an environment that is welcoming and respectful to all. URL: https://www.bu.edu/policies/non-handbook-version-equal-opp-affirm-action/

Does the institution have a discrimination response protocol or committee (sometimes called a bias response team)?:

A brief description of the institution’s discrimination response protocol or team:

The Sexual Assault Response & Prevention Center (SARP) at Boston University provides "professional, rapid, confidential, and free-of-charge advocacy and assistance to BU students who have experienced a traumatic incident." Although SARP's particular focus is on sexual trauma and rape, they "also assist survivors of physical assault, interpersonal violence, and other crimes." Because a "Bias Response Team" does not exist at Boston University, historically, SARP has been the go-to office for those who have experienced or witnessed a bias incident, act of discrimination, or hate crime. SARP's team includes Crisis Intervention Counselors and staff with a background in social work. In cases of those who have experienced discrimination, SARP works with the individual by giving them information and support to make decisions. An example of this includes how SARP works with the University Police Department to address the needs of the Clery Act (the University is required to compile and publish crime statistics in an Annual Security Report), SARP only reports an incident if the victim/witness feels comfortable. According to the director of SARP, in the future, the Office of Diversity & Inclusion may be the office dedicated to discrimination response. URL: http://www.bu.edu/shs/sarp/ .

Another office worth highlighting is the Office of the Ombuds. Established in Fall 2009 at the recommendation of the Council on Faculty Diversity and Inclusion, the office's mission is to provide a confidential place for people to voice concerns, develop options, and problem-solve. The Ombuds also provides summary data to senior university officials on trends and patterns so that problems may be prevented from escalating or recurring without breaching the confidentiality of communications with individuals. URL: https://www.bu.edu/ombuds/

Does the institution have programs specifically designed to recruit students from underrepresented groups?:

Does the institution have programs specifically designed to recruit academic staff from underrepresented groups?:

Does the institution have programs designed specifically to recruit non-academic staff from underrepresented groups?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs to recruit students, academic staff, and/or non-academic staff from underrepresented groups:

  • Students:

    • Boston University is committed to ensuring that students from underrepresented backgrounds have access to and are knowledgeable about BU. The University has strategically hosted, visited, and partnered with organizations that serve students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. BU has hosted nearly 200 community-based organizations (CBOs) and schools with predominantly low-income and underrepresented students and visited over 500 CBOs over the past five years. In addition, BU has partnered with the Strive for College (formerly known as Center for Student Opportunities) which gives the University access to over two thousand CBOs and a growing number of first-generation students through the campaign “I am first”.  BU also maintains strong partnerships with the Posse Foundation, Chicago Scholars, Say Yes to Education, A Better Chance, Venture Scholars, The National Hispanic Institute, YES Prep Public Schools in Houston, TX, Prep for Prep, and many other organizations that serve students from underrepresented backgrounds. Additionally, this year, we began working with the Charles Hayden Foundation, and specifically the schools the Foundation supports in New York and New Jersey. Locally, BU has partnered with Boston Public Schools (BPS) and created annual programming that gives students early exposure to college through summer and fall programming. Finally, BU is a partner with the Leadership Scholar Program out of the Marine Corps which helps Marines continue their education. Leadership Scholar Program URL: http://usmc-mccs.org/services/education/leadership-scholar/

    • Every spring, BU Kilachand honors college offers students the opportunity to develop and lead a global public health course for Boston high school students with the BU School of Medicine Education, Advising, & Mentoring in STEM (BEAMS). BEAMS is a youth pathway to health careers program that aims to recruit, develop, and retain underrepresented (racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse) youth from Boston and other areas of Massachusetts in post-secondary STEMM (science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine) education in an ongoing effort to diversify the healthcare workforce. BU Kilachand students explore the relationship between public health issues through experiential and service learning. Students facilitate global health and life skills lessons while working closely with both the high school students and BEAMS staff and mentors. The collaboration is a unique opportunity to engage with the Boston community while allowing students to connect what they are learning in the Kilachand curriculum to a real-world experience. Kilachand students, alongside the BEAMS high school students, explore global health issues and strategies for how people work to solve these problems, along with life skills lessons to expand their practical application of said issues. The experience centers around questions such as, “How do public health officials tackle these problems?” and “How can someone who is not a medical professional impact our global health?”. Lessons for BEAMS begin with an overview of global and public health and an introduction to what the high school students know about global health and what they would like to know. Students explore different fields of study – such as environmental science, business, engineering or communications – and how each could work to provide solutions for issues such as clean water or contagious diseases. Students also explore key life skills areas that Kilachand facilitators will walk them through. From the college application process and selecting a college to learning how to speak with professionals, students will build skills applicable to their next steps in college and beyond. BEAMS URL: https://www.bu.edu/khc/for-current-students/experiential-learning/beams/

  • Faculty: Boston University Diversity & Inclusion has developed several programs to help recruit faculty from diverse, underrepresented backgrounds. One program is the Target Opportunity Program, which seeks to provide flexibility in hiring and allow academic leadership to capitalize on potential hires that represent an opportunity for the university to support diversity goals. Another program is The University Scholars Program, which supports individuals from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups through various means - single or multiple day conferences, visits, or a semester-long residency - to deepen the university search pools for faculty members and positively impact the search outcomes. More information on these programs can be found here: https://www.bu.edu/diversity/initiatives-data/faculty-hiring/

  • Staff: In 2023, BU Human Resources hired an Assistant Vice President for Talent Recruitment who launched the "Inclusive Pathways to Hire" initiative. The objective is to create a workforce that reflects Boston’s community and broaden access to BU's employment application process. Through this initiative, BU has become a University Partner of Boston While Black to expand its recruitment and retainment opportunities to Boston's black community. Boston While Black is the largest membership network designed for Black professionals, entrepreneurs, and students seeking connection and community. More on this network can be found here: https://bostonwhileblack.com/partner/

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support, academic support, or other programs designed specifically to support students from underrepresented groups on campus?:

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support or other programs designed specifically to support academic staff from underrepresented groups on campus?:

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support or other programs to support non-academic staff from underrepresented groups on campus?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs designed specifically to support students, academic staff, and/or non-academic staff from underrepresented groups:

Boston University has many programs to support underrepresented students, staff, and faculty on campus. Details of the programs can be found at the following website: http://www.bu.edu/diversity/ For example, the Howard Thurman Center provides individual and group mentoring, peer support, and community building through specific programs and relationships with the Director, Associate Director, Assistant Directors, graduate interns and student staff and volunteers. The HTC hosts retreats for student groups around topics of identity, campus climate and dialogue every September. The Center also hosts Welcome Receptions for under-represented groups at the beginning of the semester. We also support other schools and departments mentoring and training programs. BU's Newbury Center offers programming and services designed to ensure that first-generation students experience the same sense of well-being, belonging, self-efficacy, and academic accomplishment as their continuing-generation peers. Each semester it holds a Newbury Center Orientation, which introduces students to the resources of the Newbury Center, teaches them the ins and outs of being a first-gen student at BU, and helps them begin building a community on campus. The Newbury Center has initiatives to support students with various aspects of the college experience, such as navigation of the financial aid system and course selection, and provides additional support through mentoring programs to foster a sense of belonging. The Center for Gender, Sexuality, and Activism was established to provide a safe space for students of all genders and sexualities. It provides guidance and resources for gender minorities and advocates for their equality and inclusion. They host many events throughout the year, including the weekly Trans Listening Circle, which offers a safe space for people to share their experiences, troubles, worries, and encouragements surrounding trans, non-binary, non-cis, gender-variant, gender-nonconforming, etc identities in life and on campus.

An example of a counseling/support program for staff & faculty is the Faculty & Staff Assistance Office (FSAO). FSAO can serve as a transitional liaison for between an employee (considering gender transition) and their department/office by protecting the employee’s confidentiality while developing a plan, assisting in the negotiation process and suggesting a timeline.

Does the institution have training and development programs, teaching fellowships and/or other programs that specifically aim to support and prepare students from underrepresented groups for careers as faculty members?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs to support and prepare students from underrepresented groups for careers as faculty members:

Graduate Women in Science and Engineering (GWISE) at Boston University strives to create a community to support and promote women in STEM fields. Through professional development seminars and workshops, social events, mentoring, and outreach, GWISE fosters interaction across disciplines at Boston University and connects graduate students to postdocs, faculty, and broader networks in Boston and beyond.

From pre-college to undergrads, graduate students, postdocs, and faculty, ARROWS (Advance, Recruit, Retain & Organize Women in STEM) aims to facilitate the advancement and success of Boston University’s women in STEM. For example, ARROWS connects women to the resources BU has in place to support and advance women STEM postdocs such as the Professional Development & Postdoctoral Affairs (PDPA) office. PDPA helps postdocs establish individual development plans to help them identify their career goals and professional development needs. They can also be a great conversation tool between postdocs and faculty mentors to ensure that postdocs develop the skills they need to be successful both here at BU and throughout their careers. http://www.bu.edu/arrows/ http://www.bu.edu/gwise/

Does the institution produce a publicly accessible inventory of gender-neutral bathrooms on campus?:

Does the institution offer housing options to accommodate the special needs of transgender and transitioning students?:

Website URL where information about the institution’s support for underrepresented groups is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.