During the years 2015 and 2016, Cal Poly SLO saw 28 percent of its African-American faculty, 20 percent of its African-American staff, and 36 percent of its African-American administrators leave their university posts.
The Cal Poly academic senate wants to know why that occurred. Senate members also want to see Cal Poly start conducting exit interviews for departing employees to glean more insight about workplace culture in light of issues raised by staff and faculty of unrepresented ethnicities.
Both of those desires are reflected in the “Resolution to Establish Exit Interview Protocol and Request for Outside Review,” a resolution that the academic senate wrestled with for nearly two months but finally adopted by unanimous vote at its March 14 meeting.
“Attracting a diverse student body, diverse faculty, and diverse staff has been challenging for Cal Poly,” the resolution begins. “Increasing diversity and improving the [campus] climate depends not only on recruitment, but retention as well.”
The resolution asks Cal Poly President Jeff Armstrong to hire an “outside entity” to review the circumstances of recent African-American, Hispanic, and Native American employee departures as well as departures in white groups for comparison. It also asks for an exit interview policy to apply to all permanent employees and a sample of nonpermanent employees.
Vice President for Student Affairs Keith Humphrey told senate members that Cal Poly has agreed to initiate an exit interview protocol. The administration has not commented on the request for a review of past departures. Per senate policy, President Armstrong has 90 days to respond to the senate’s resolution.
According to 2016 data, African-Americans made up 2 percent of Cal Poly’s staff, 1 percent of its faculty, and 4 percent of its management.