In December 2020, the CIO Council (CIOC) and the People of Color in Technology (POC-IT) affinity group published a Statement of Solidarity and Commitment to Action to stand in solidarity with the Black community at large and, specifically, at Stanford. The statement outlined immediate, transformative actions to increase representation and opportunities across the Stanford IT community for Blacks and other people of color.
Since that time, these groups have worked to address anti-Black racism (and many of the issues that other marginalized communities experience) in the IT community through the following measures:
Harmful Language in Technology
The Elimination of Harmful Language Initiative (EHLI) is a multi-year effort that identifies and aims to address language on all technology web pages and in the code written across the CIOC organizations. As part of this initiative, the phrase “racist terminology in technology” was clarified from the original commitment and expanded to “harmful language in technology.”
This change allows our community to also address language that is:
- ethnically offensive
- contains disability, gender, age, sex or implicit biases
- represents institutional racism
- is violent.
Stanford’s University Communications has created a content style guide for diversity, equity, and inclusion that helps promote fair, accurate and inclusive coverage of all people in the Stanford community.
As part of this effort, we are in the process of creating a website containing various potentially harmful terms individuals may use in their everyday language, an explanation of why the terms are harmful, and suggested alternatives.
Hiring Practices and Career Growth
In an effort to engage a diverse array of talent in IT and promote more inclusive hiring practices, managers now have access to job posting sites on the POC-IT website; more broadly, Stanford also works to share postings on platforms that seek to engage diverse communities. The CIOC has expanded the Stanford IT Experiential Development Program pilot to offer more opportunities to Stanford IT-wide affinity groups (POC-IT, Stanford Women in Technology) and encourage Blacks and other people of color campus-wide to take advantage of this program through POC-IT channels, mailing lists and community of color staff groups and events.
For hiring committees, CIOC units will require the representation of Blacks and other people of color on interview panels or search committees for technology positions of salary grade K/L or higher within their organizations. In particular, a mechanism is now in place for CIOC members (or their delegates) to report on diverse representation on interview panels for all open positions. These efforts will also align with those of University HR for job postings and searches.
In addition, Blacks and other people of color will have the opportunity to be sponsored by CIOC members to ensure they are more competitive when seeking career advancement opportunities. CIOC members will help them strengthen their resume/CV and build skills needed to advance in their careers. A pilot program ran through January 2022. Lessons learned will be incorporated and a full program will be launched in Spring 2022.
A new focus for improving hiring practices centers around evaluating roadblocks that underrepresented minority groups face in applying to Stanford. Removing degree requirements and questions about felony and misdemeanor convictions are prime examples; more subtle roadblocks include how job descriptions are written and the impact of bias in the first-round screening of applicants (e.g., resume review).
Ongoing goals include mandating a minimum number of underrepresented applicants that make it through the first round of the interview process and comparing Stanford data with Equal Employment Opportunity data with respect to the number of underrepresented applicants who are interviewed versus hired.
CIOC members have agreed to share combined demographic/representational data across all CIOC organizations on the IT Community website. The IDEAL Committee at Stanford has agreed to provide access to information specific to the technology community based on existing data on the IDEAL Dashboard. A sub-team within POC-IT is working with Institutional Research & Decision Support (IRDS) on how best to gather and release data relevant to staff within CIOC organizations.
The action to design and deliver a quarterly technology career event was realized through the first Explore Careers In Technology Event (ExCITE) on Nov. 4, 2021. ExCITE is focused on career advancement for those already employed at Stanford. This event enables current employees an opportunity to learn about job openings, chat with hiring managers, explore and find support for career development opportunities, and network with one another. Planning for the second ExCITE event on March 17, 2022 is underway.
Silicon Valley Archives Project
The Silicon Valley Archives Project (SVA) in Green Library has created a new wing of the library that focuses on the history of Silicon Valley. POC-IT and the Stanford Women in Technology (Stanford WIT) groups will partner with SVA on the grand opening of the exhibit in early 2022 with the goal of highlighting the contributions of people of color and women.
In the next few months, we will implement a series of activities that continue to “move the needle” and impact lasting change within Stanford’s IT community, including the hospitals, clinics, and SLAC:
- Commit to an extended relationship with Year Up. POC-IT will partner with the IDEAL IT Year Up Internship Program to increase the participation rate of CIOC organizations in the program. POC-IT has also joined with Stanford WIT to become mentors for the Year Up cohort that began Jan. 31, 2022.
- Update Stanford Profiles. To be more inclusive, we will advocate for Stanford Profiles to include optional fields to declare gender pronouns, ethnicity, and preferred name, in alignment with the Gender Data Enablement Project.