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Northwestern University

Undergraduate School

Mailing Address
633 Clark St
Evanston, Illinois 60208
Phone
(847) 491-3741
School Information
"Northwestern is a comprehensive research university that is deeply interdisciplinary across multiple schools and units. Our rigorous yet empathetic academic environment provides a robust mixture of theory and practice, with an emphasis on top-tier research, new knowledge, creative expression and practical application. If you are at Northwestern, you are part of an innovative, collaborative, and multidimensional community delivering an impact that is rare in higher education." The university enrolls over 21,000 students across its 12 schools, as well as having a 6:1 student to faculty ratio, (Source: https://www.northwestern.edu/about/) (Source: https://www.northwestern.edu/about/facts.html)
General Information
University-wide, Northwestern has announced mandatory anti-racism training for its students. Although it has promised development of its curricular requirements, no specific changes to the curriculum have been articulated. Some schools have redirected students and web visitors to various Bond/bail funds for protestors and Black Lives Matter chapters. See developments below:

Actions Taken

Admissions Policies
  • During the 2021 admissions cycle, the university, "instituted a test-optional policy that will extend into next year."
Anti-Racism, Bias, and Diversity Training
  • Anti-Racism Training, Development of Requirements
  • The university has "expanded social justice and anti-racism learning to 250 leaders across the University. The three-part series, called the Next 250, is underway with the first session already completed." The series "includes discussions on race, racism, anti-racism, intersectionality and how to practice anti-racism at the individual, organizational and societal level. Sessions will challenge each leader to examine their role in perpetuating racism and to identify specific steps to create demonstrable improvements in Northwestern’s culture and climate. Leaders will leave with clear actions to advance equity and inclusivity in their spheres of influence."
  • The university is "developing digital anti-racism training for all students, faculty and staff, which will be customized to the experience of each group and will highlight the expertise of Northwestern faculty and staff. The anticipated launch date for the first module is September 2021."
  • Northwestern University has created an ARDEI-Context Question Writing Workshop which will serve as “worship for incorporating anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion (ARDEI) and social justice context into engineering class questions and example problems.” This workshop in particular will serve to “introduce the concept of positionality, bias, and harm, specifically how we can prevent harm upfront and address it should it occur.”
  • Northwestern University offered an ARDEI-Context Question workshop in which “introduce[d] some definitions in order to bring everyone to the same level of understanding on the concepts of Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.” In addition, this workshop will equip attendees how to “create a set of community guidelines to use your class to guide discussions [and how to] leave room for discomfort and reflection on these topics in the classroom setting.”
Curriculum Changes and Requirements
  • Medical School will make “How to be an Anti-Racist” mandatory reading for the Summer of 2020.
  • The chemical and biological engineering department's Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee is "actively working to introduce ARDEI topics into our undergraduate courses. We envision multiple routes to achieving this goal, including having topical discussions in courses and developing course content that draws explicit connections between students’ technical work as engineers and social responsibility as advocates of anti-racism. Our current effort focuses on developing problem sets that allow students to explore, for example, how certain chemical engineering processes impact the communities in which they are deployed."
  • The chemical and biological engineering department's Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee said, "Graduate students in our department begin their studies with a Professional Development topic series. Our goal with this initiative is to encourage conversation, reflection, and action in ARDEI as it relates to STEM. Students will learn basic definitions, explain how concepts manifest in technology, careers, and funding, and ultimately develop an action plan to guide their degree and career."
Disciplinary Measures
  • Viral video depicting one’s reaction to Disney announcing the new face of Aerial. In the clip, “a young Asian man sits next to a television screen watching Halle Bailey stat as The Little Mermaid… puts a black mask over his face and adds a red wig.” In the video, the man was wearing a sweatshirt with a Northwestern University. As backlash towards the disrespect shown in the video continued, viewers wondered if “Northwestern [had] addressed the racist Indonesian man who made that disgusting Little Mermaid mockery, yet?” After much request and evaluation, Northwestern University Law School released a statement that said, “Based on [their] investigation, we have confirmed that the person who made this video is not a current student, but someone with a similar name appears to be a former student at the law school.” The school continued by denouncing the video and acknowledging their continued their unwavering commitment to DEI.
Political Actions and Support for Anti-Racism
  • Re-directs students to fundraisers for Bond/Bail funds and Black Lives Matter chapters.
  • The Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion "announced two new job positions searching for paid student interns" who "will carry out various initiatives associated with spreading racial justice and equity goals at a rate of $13.55 - $15.25 per hour," according to media reports.
  • Associate professor of history at Northwestern University and author of Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America, joins the Klau Institute for Civil and Human Rights at Notre Dame University, to discuss and explore “how white power activists created a social movement through a common story about betrayal by the government, war, and its weapons, uniforms, and technologies.”
  • Associate professor of political science at Northwestern University and author of Between Homeland and Motherland: Africa, U.S. Foreign Policy and Blac Leadership in America, Alvin Tillery, joins the Klau Institute for Civil and Human Rights at Notre Dame University on a discussion on “efforts to build partnerships between researchers and corporations about the most challenging diversity, equity and inclusion issues.”
Program and Research Funding
  • The chemical and biological engineering department's Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee "recently launched an annual Departmental Seminar Series entitled ‘Contextualizing Engineering’. By sponsoring world class leaders and researchers to speak to our department, we aim to expose STEM researchers to research and efforts focusing on environmental justice, research justice, anti-racism, intersectionality, and a range of other important topics."
  • The university's Neighborhood and Community Relations department launched a "Racial Equity and Community Partnership Grant Program," to "address the root causes of racial inequities and work toward structural changes."
  • The Center for Prevention Implementation and Methodology had a presentation titled "What Does it Take to Center Anti-Racist Research in Policy and Practice?" The description reads, "Presentation will briefly share what the field has learned to date about how research evidence is used in policy and practice. The presentation will then look at this field within a critical race perspective to ask different questions and take new perspectives. How can we create more useful antiracist research and study URE with a critical perspective? What new methods are needed to create more useful antiracist research."
  • Associate professor in the psychology department Northwestern University, Sylvia Perry, has recently been named a fellow by the “Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS). As a fellow at CASBS, Perry will “focus on the extent to which norms around admitting and discussing racism may contribute to anti-racism [and] the role of racial parental socialization in the department of White children’s attitudes towards Black individuals.”
  • Northwestern University’s Leadership Development & Community Engagement is hosting a cohort-based program that will be launching in the Winter of 2023 entitled “The Leadership for Racial Equity Cohort.” The cohort will “provide a tight-knit, social justice-oriented community for college students at Northwestern University with a focus on racial equity and racial justice in Evanston and Chicago, IL.” The goal behind this program is to “provide opportunities for NU undergraduate students to learn about grassroots racial equity efforts and to grow and apply their knowledge and lived experiences through hands-on community engagement initiatives focused on racial justice.”
Re-Imagining Policing
  • The university is "working toward action on Community Safety Advisory Board proposals by June 30. Meanwhile, one immediate change has been that complaints about campus safety services no longer route through the Department of Safety and Security, as recommended, and instead now route through University Compliance. More updates will be shared this summer about progress on the recommendations."
  • The Education Council for an inclusive Northwestern (ECIN) “is a cross functional collaboration committed to being an actively anti-racist organization.” The mission of the ECIN is to “provide [their] members with resources that will assist them as they create safe and welcoming environments where diversity, inclusion, equity, and justice are the rule rather than the rule rather than the exception.”
Resources
  • The McCormick School of Engineering's Chemical and Biological Engineering department has an "Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee."
  • Northwestern University’s Galter Health Sciences Library& Learning Center has compiled a list of resources that will serve as “a starting point for learning about racism, anti-racism, health disparities, and the intersection of health, healthcare, and race.
  • Northwestern University’s libraries have developed a guide of anti-racism resources to help aid in furthering understanding and becoming aware of racism. This list is to be used as a “starting point for those interested in learning more about anti-racism and how they can combat racism and white supremacy.” The resources included in this are books, podcasts, articles, and tools for helping further discussion.
Symbolic Actions
  • Law school faculty introduced themselves as racists before an online townhall.
  • Northwestern University’s Block Museum of Art hosted an exhibit entitled “A Site of Struggle [which] explores how artists have engaged with the reality of anti-Black violence and its accompanying challenges of representation in the United States over a 100+ year period.” This exhibit uses a new approach to “looking at the intersection of race, violence, and art by investigating the varied strategies American artists have used to grapple with anti-Black violence, ranging from representation to abstraction and from literal to metaphorical.”
  • The school's News section quoted Professor Fisher (Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences) regarding the death of Tyre Nichols who stated, "Police violence against Black people creates anger, fear and emotional pain for those who are sympathetic with this historical and ongoing violence."
Last updated February 4th, 2023
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