College of Engineering students send letter addressing climate for minority students

Student groups representing underrepresented minority and women students in the UC Berkeley College of Engineering have written an open letter to the college’s executive committee asking the college to review its standards on the recruitment and retention of women and minority students.

The letter, sent Friday, was written in direct response to a California Watch article in which a UC Berkeley student said she was the victim of sexist comments from some of her male peers and expresses an urgent need to reexamine the college’s climate and support system for women and minority students.

It charges the college’s leadership with failing to follow through on a report published in 2009 that expressed a need to change the “recruiting strategies for both women and underrepresented minorities.”

The letters also charges the college with failing to meet the campus’ Strategic Plan for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity by not recruiting students, staff and faculty who “represent California’s excellence and diversity and provide an environment in which all can thrive academically and professionally.”

Among other recommendations, the signers of the letter ask the college’s executive committee to establish and implement a plan to increase the retention of women and underrepresented students and to secure funding and partner with various foundations to create a college-wide pipeline of minority students.

Additionally, the letter asks the college to establish “Equity, Inclusion and Diversity officer positions” to oversee the recruitment, retention and mentorship of these students. The dean of the college has invited leaders of the student groups who signed the letter to discuss their recommendations at the upcoming College Executive Committee meeting scheduled for Nov. 21 at 9 a.m.

Read the full text of the letter below:


Amruta Trivedi covers academics and administration.