The Minnesota Equity in Higher Education Compact
MnEEP’s Minnesota Equity in Higher Education Compact is grounded in a shared responsibility across higher education systems and institutions in Minnesota to build a racially equitable higher education system together.
The Compact uses an equity lens to center our collective efforts and actions for advocating for transformative change through the following core commitments:
1.We publicly acknowledge the substantial inequities facing People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) in higher education access and completion in Minnesota.
We also recognize that Minnesota is not on track to meet the State’s attainment goal of 70% of Minnesotans of all races and ethnicities having a post-secondary degree or certificate by 2025.
Disaggregated data reveals a significant gap in higher education degree attainment for students who are Black, Latinx, and American Indian compared to white students.
Meeting the attainment goal for college completion is a critical step toward driving socioeconomic growth in Minnesota for all citizens and, more importantly, it is a matter of racial justice and equality.
2. We publicly acknowledge inequitable policies, procedures, practices, narratives and mental models in higher education, intentionally and/or unintentionally, have played a key role in driving disparate and racially predictable higher education access and college completion outcomes, just as they shape other statewide institutions and systems.
Furthermore, systemic and structural racism have historically contributed to and continue contributing to inequitable access and degree completion for POCI students in higher education.
Significantly increasing equitable access and degree completion for POCI students in higher education, by removing systemic and structural barriers prohibiting the growth of equity, is a socioeconomic need and, more importantly, a moral imperative for Minnesota.
3. We publicly recognize that as individual institutions and systems our colleges and universities collectively strive to meet the needs of Minnesotans across the state.
Increasingly scarce resource appropriations to support students, institutions, and systems, however, has led to a hyper-competitive environment for student enrollment that pits colleges, universities, and systems against one another.
This hyper-competitive environment leads to inefficiencies and perverse incentives that prevent us from working together in more collaborative and effective ways that would directly benefit historically excluded groups of individuals from accessing and completing higher education with a post-secondary degree or certificate.
We pledge to assertively pursue opportunities that will create more equitable spaces for our systems and institutions to collaborate and work collectively to address the systemic underinvestment in higher education in Minnesota and POCI students in particular.
4. We commit to utilizing an equity lens to:
- Interrogate our policies, procedures, practices, budget allocations, and expenditures to identify and dismantle systemic and structural impediments to equitable student success;
- Improve teaching and learning through the ongoing implementation of anti-racist and culturally responsive teaching practices that honor the dignity, worth, and asset-based knowledge and skills of POCI students, faculty and staff; and
- Attend to the full range of student needs by drawing on national evidence around holistic and integrated student supports across the student learning journey.
5. We pledge to engage in ongoing collaboration across, “institutions, systems, and sectors” to collectively advocate for::
- Increasing financial investments in, and bringing to scale evidence-based, high-impact practices, and models that accelerate college access, retention, and degree attainment for POCI students and close college completion gaps based on race.
6. We strive to eradicate racial disparities in college access and completion in Minnesota by:
- Transforming our systems, institutions, and organizations to be accessible, racially just, culturally relevant, responsive, and safe and brave spaces for POCI students in higher education to learn, grow, and thrive.
Resolution: We, the undersigned, do commit on behalf of each of our systems, institutions, and/or organizations to:
- center race equity in our work;
- maintain an asset-based mindset with respect to POCI students;
- collaborate and share evidence-based, high-impact practices across systems, organizations, and institutions to accelerate college access, retention, and degree or credential attainment; and
- examine and reevaluate our institutional practices so as to achieve race equity in higher education access and completion in Minnesota.