African American Initiative

The History

Under the leadership of the first Vice Chancellor for Equity & Inclusion, Gibor Basiri, the Division was working to address data from the University of California Undergraduate Experience Survey (UCUES) that was released by UCOP March 14, 2014.  According to the survey, African American students at Berkeley said the campus climate was very poor. 

Independent of this work, the Black Student Union (BSU) developed ten demands in response to the survey. These two pieces became the basis for the African American Initiative that was endorsed by then Chancellor Nicholas Dirks in 2015. 


  • Help raise a $20 million endowed and current use undergraduate scholarship fund to support African American undergraduates (first year and transfer students) in partnership with private, non-profit organizations. 

  • Improve the recruitment and yield of undergraduate and graduate African American students and other underrepresented ethnic minorities.

  • Boost the social, personal, and academic support provided to current and future African American students.

  • Target a range of efforts to improve the classroom and campus climate, including training and pedagogical resources for faculty and Graduate Student Instructors.

  • Increase African American representation in Berkeley's senior management. 

  • Improve the recruitment and retention, boost the professional support provided, and target efforts to improve the campus climate for African American staff and faculty. 

Key Stakeholders

  • African American Student Development and the Fannie Lou Hamer Black Resource Center
  • African American Studies
  • Black Student Union (BSU)
  • Black Graduate Student Association (BGSA)
  • Black Recruitment & Retention Center (BRRC)
  • Black Staff & Faculty Organization (BSFO)
  • California Alumni Association (CAA)
  • Office of the Chancellor
  • Division of Equity & Inclusion
  • Division of Student Affairs
  • The San Francisco Foundation
  • University Development & Alumni Affairs (UDAR)


  • Fall Semester 2018 the first scholarships will be awarded to African American students. Forty students were interviewed; 28 will receive $8,000.00 in scholarships. 

  • Work with the University Development and Alumni Relations Office (UDAR) continues to establish an African American Student Scholarship Endowment

  • The Fannie Lou Hamer Black Resource Center opened in February 2017

  • Two Black psychologists who understand the hostile campus climate have been hired.

  • Five work groups have been established: Endowment & Fundraising, Black Health & Wellness, Annual Traditions, Historical Framing, Communications, and Comprehensive Evaluation.

  • Recruitment & Yield: Admissions Equity & Inclusion training

For more information please contact:
Takiyah Jackson
Director, African American Student Development Program