Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.40
Liaison Parker Long
Submission Date Aug. 27, 2021

STARS v2.2

Virginia Commonwealth University
PA-7: Support for Underrepresented Groups

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Jake Holweger
Sustainability Intern
Office of 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:

Statement: "Virginia Commonwealth University does not discriminate in admissions, treatment, employment or access to its programs or activities on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin (including ethnicity), age, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions), parenting status, marital status, political affiliation, military status (including veteran status), genetic information (including family medical history), sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or disability, as required by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008; the Virginia Human Rights Act; the Virginia Personnel Act; the Governor’s Executive Order Number One (2018); and other state or federal laws and university policies. VCU prohibits sexual harassment and sex-based misconduct, including sexual assault and other forms of interpersonal violence. VCU also prohibits discrimination against employees or applicants for employment because they have inquired about, discussed or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant.

As an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer, VCU promotes the full realization of employment opportunity for all persons, including minorities, women, individuals with disabilities and veterans. VCU bases all employment decisions only on job requirements. These efforts apply to all employment actions, including but not limited to recruitment, selection, hiring, promotion, and compensation.

VCU promotes equal access to its owned and controlled facilities, and to educational and employment opportunities for qualified individuals with disabilities in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as well as other applicable state and local laws and university policy. Qualified individuals with disabilities are protected from discrimination, including harassment, and are entitled to reasonable accommodations to enable their participation in and enjoyment of all university programs, services, and activities.":

URL: https://policy.vcu.edu/universitywide-policies/policies/notice-of-nondiscrimination-equal-opportunity-and-affirmative-action.html

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:

When there is a report of a bias incident, the Dean of Students (or designee) will convene the Bias Response Team to respond to a bias complaint. The Dean of Students (or designee) will appoint a Bias Response Team member to serve as the primary contact for the reporting party. The Bias Response Team member will interview the reporting party to obtain additional information regarding the complaint and in collaboration with other team members assess the facts for possible violation(s) of University policy, including the Student Code of Conduct.

The Bias Response Team member will coordinate resources and support for the affected student/group. The assigned Bias Response Team member will continue to follow up with any reporting party until an individual case is concluded.

The purpose of the Bias Response Team is to provide support for those impacted by bias-related incidents. The university will not independently investigate or adjudicate bias incident claims as violations of university policy.

The resources and support offered to victims through the Bias Response Team and the Dean of Students office includes confidentiality, access to University Counseling Services, access to Student Health Services, advocating on behalf of the victim for academic issues arising from the incident, as well as referral to other services as needed or requested by the victim.

URL: https://dos.vcu.edu/resources/bias-response-team/

The Bias Response Team provides support for the victim and can assist with filing official Discrimination or Harassment Reports through the Office of Equity and Access Services.

Equity and Access Services addresses and works to resolve issues of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin (including ethnicity), age, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions), parenting status, marital status, political affiliation, veteran status, genetic information (including family medical history), sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and disability.

URL: https://equity.vcu.edu/discrimination/process.html

Additional information: VCU uses Maxient for secure reporting of discrimination incidents. See the Discrimination Incident Reporting Form form
URL: https://cm.maxient.com/reportingform.php?VirginiaCommonwealthUniv&layout_id=9

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:

Virginia Commonwealth University is committed to building a diverse and inclusive community in which people of all cultural backgrounds and life experiences are supported and valued. The Office of Institutional Equity, Effectiveness and Success - VCU Inclusive Excellence is responsible for actualizing diversity initiatives that foster a welcoming community and support all individuals regardless of race, color, national origin, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, veterans’ status and disability. This includes:
- Promoting and fostering a climate of equity, diversity and inclusiveness
- Leading efforts to strengthen VCU’s core mission and culture of inclusion and diversity
- Engaging in promoting awareness and advocacy for the LGBTQIA+ community
- Providing diversity education and consultation to increase awareness, knowledge and skills
- Serving as a campus and community resource on issues of access, diversity, excellence and inclusion

VCU Office of Equity and Access Services -
The VCU Office of Equity and Access Services coordinates equal employment opportunity and affirmative action compliance for VCU. They help address employment disparities and create an environment of trust for VCU employees. Their role includes creating an annual affirmative action plan, monitoring VCU’s affirmative action and equal employment opportunity compliance, and training employees about employment equity rights and responsibilities.
URL: https://equity.vcu.edu/

Executive search team -
The executive search team is an internal group comprised of recruiting and search associates dedicated to identifying and attracting exceptional leaders to Virginia Commonwealth University.
The executive search team:
- Ensures diverse search committee representation;
- Trains committee on fair candidate treatment and creating and inclusive search process;
- Develops strategies to attract candidates from underrepresented groups;
- Identifies criteria for consistent evaluation and screening; and
- Ensures that each candidate is set up for the same successful experience.
URL: https://hr.vcu.edu/careers-at-vcu/search/

Recruitment Inclusive Champion (RIC) -
The Recruitment Inclusive Champion (RIC) program was established in 2014 to help strengthen VCU’s faculty and staff recruitment efforts by building cohorts of knowledgeable champions from units across the university who have completed a comprehensive learning experience. RICs serve as consultants, resources, and advisors to the search committee and help to support the search process to ensure that a robust, diverse set of qualified candidates are being considered. In addition, some RICs, specifically appointed by their deans, are responsible for working closely with the hiring manager and the search committee chair to ensure diversity, inclusion and equity throughout the search.
URL: https://provost.vcu.edu/faculty/faculty-resources/ric/

VCU Black Education Association (BEA) -
BEA is a community of scholars at VCU committed to advancing institutional equity and diversity through education, research and administrative efforts. Specifically, the BEA seeks to maximize the scholarly contributions and professional experiences of Black faculty and administrators.

The mission of the Black Education Association (BEA) at Virginia Commonwealth University is to create a community of Black scholars committed to using our collective resources and knowledge to:
- Collaborate with the university to realize its mission and strategic plan in regards to diversity, equity, and inclusive excellence;
- Encourage the equitable utilization of Black faculty throughout the university community;
- Promote the professional development of Black faculty;
- Recognize and celebrate the efforts of those who contribute to the advancement of Black faculty in teaching, research, and service at VCU; and
- Prioritize issues of diversity and equity within policy making at VCU.
URL: https://bea.vcu.edu/

Minority Educator Recruitment, Retention and Equity Center -
The core mission and vision of MERREC is to improve society’s respect for minoritized educators. We are particularly interested in recruiting, supporting, and retaining minoritized educators of color. We acknowledge that inequity exists for educators of color in higher education, K-12 institutions, and communities in part due to systemic and structural racism that has deep roots in our nation’s education system. These inequities are exacerbated by the intersectionality of sociocultural identity markers, working conditions, societal conditions, and other factors that create additional hurdles and disparities that influence educational access and achievement for educators of color. At the MERREC, we believe equity is justice for all minoritized educators, especially our educators of color. We believe that correcting these deep-rooted injustices will improve the recruitment and retention pipeline for educators of color. We are committed through our advocacy and comprehensive supports to enrich the experiences of minoritized educators, particularly educators of color.
URL: https://soe.vcu.edu/centers/merrec/

VCU Division for Health Sciences Diversity: VCU Health Sciences Pipeline -
This division serves as a central resource for the development and implementation of diversity initiatives that support the mission of VCU’s health sciences schools.

This division also oversees the VCU Health Sciences Pipeline program. The mission of VCU's Health Sciences Pipeline is to diversify the health care workforce through pipeline programs and initiatives. This program is committed to assisting underrepresented minority (URM) students (i.e., racial/ethnic minorities, low socioeconomic status, first-generation, rural, medically under-served communities, etc.) in their interest to pursue careers related to the health sciences.
URL: https://dhsd.vcu.edu/

Institute for Inclusion, Inquiry and Innovation (iCubed) -
iCubed strategically invests in academic and research programs that employ transdisciplinary approaches to solve challenging and persistent problems in urban communities. These program approaches draw stakeholders from diverse backgrounds and also set the stage for partnership equity between university and community partners where all perspectives are valued.
URL: https://icubed.vcu.edu/

VCU College of Engineering and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Inclusive Excellence Initiative -
Partnering with John Tyler and J. Sergeant Reynolds community colleges to transform the way that faculty engage with students in science, technology, engineering and math courses and to foster a STEM-nurturing environment that can support and respond to the needs of a diverse student body ­­­— especially those from underrepresented groups, such as minorities, first-generation students, and working adults with families.

The VCU HHMI Inclusive Excellence (IE) Program is a five-year grant funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). Now in its third year, the program is positioning VCU, JTCC, and Reynolds to increase the use of inclusive methods of teaching in STEM classes, build the administrative infrastructure for transfer students, and enhance the institutional climate to promote student success.
URL: https://hhmi.vcu.edu/

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:

The VCU Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA) sponsors two mentoring programs designed to support the academic, professional and cultural needs of VCU’s freshmen and first year transfer students of color to increase retention and graduation rates. OMSA also offers students who need counseling, career and academic advising, and financial assistance direction to appropriate university services.
URL: https://omsa.vcu.edu

University Counseling Services provides support for all students, but does have specific support for underrepresented groups. This is a short list of the support groups for underrepresented groups which are all facilitated by University Counseling staff.

Black Voices: A Supportive Space for Black Students is a space for Black students to come together, share their experiences, and connect with peers. Members of the support group will have the opportunity to share their experiences and concerns, while also offering support to one another in a safe environment, facilitated by UCS staff. The focus of this group is on coming together to find new ways of coping while building a community of support.

Rainbow Group is a support group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/gender non-conforming, queer, asexual and intersex students. At Rainbow Group you will find a safe space to seek support with relationships, family and friends, coming out, transitioning, questioning, and identity development, as well as get information and connect with others.

Asian Voices seeks to provide a supportive and safe space for students who identify within the wide spectrum of Asian/Asian American backgrounds (e.g., East Asian, South Asian, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, etc.). Students can connect with other Asian American/Asian diaspora students at VCU over a broad range of topics including, but not limited to, identity, cultural values and expectations, academics, racism, and any other issues that participants find relevant.
URL: https://counseling.vcu.edu/students/services/support-groups/

VCU Career services provides students with professional development opportunities including resume reviewers and interview practice sessions which are critical for student success in the job market after graduation. Additionally, Career Services offers professional headshots and free professional attire for students to overcome financial barriers to accessing corporate spaces in the competitive interview and early-stage career building process.
URL: https://careers.vcu.edu/resources/

The Office of the Provost has resources and programs that cater to minority faculty development by matching new faculty with faculty mentors.
URL: https://provost.vcu.edu/faculty/faculty-resources/mentor/

The VCU Minority Educator Recruitment, Retention and Equity Center provides ongoing culturally-centered mentoring and induction support to improve the success of minoritized educators.
URL: https://soe.vcu.edu/centers/merrec/

The Well at VCU caters to marginalized students, faculty, and staff and provides resources on health and well-being including financial management, addiction recovery, and family planning resources.
URL: https://thewell.vcu.edu/

The VCU Office of Institutional Equity, Effectiveness and Success provides resources, training, mentoring, and support for underrepresented groups.
URL: https://inclusive.vcu.edu/institutes-and-centers/

RAMmalogues is a space for intercultural, multigenerational, and community-wide dialogues around who we are and what matters to us. All students, staff and faculty are invited but these sessions are specifically geared towards underrepresented groups. These dialogue sessions serve as supportive groups to discuss with facilitators issues facing underrepresented groups. There are separate, reoccurring sessions for issues facing underrepresented groups, including race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, and socioeconomic issues.

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:

VCU is a participating university in The PhD project. The PhD Project was founded upon the premise that advancements in workplace diversity could be propelled forward by increasing the diversity of business school faculty. Today, The PhD project's expansive network of supporters, sponsors and universities helps Black/African Americans, Latinx/Hispanic American and Native Americans attain their business PhD and become the business professors who will mentor the next generation of leaders.
URL: https://www.phdproject.org/

Doctoral Scholars Program -
The VCU Graduate School has partnered with the SREB Doctoral Scholars Program to provide support services to underrepresented minority students seeking their Ph.D. and plan to become college or university professors. Preference will be given to STEM disciplines. The Institutional Award is for scholars who are within the first year of their Ph.D. program or are expecting admission before the fall semester begins. The Institutional Award offers three years of program support. In addition, the award provides professional development support and covers expenses associated with attending the Compact for Faculty Diversity Annual Institute on Teaching and Mentoring.
URL: https://graduate.vcu.edu/life/awards-and-competitions/doctoralscholars

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.