Diversity and Equity Leadership Council
"Diversity initiatives are not simply innocuous extensions of preexisting institutional interests but are instead efforts that challenge and seek to transform traditional institutional practices and arrangements toward making education more equitable, diverse and inclusive, as well as more open to alternative perspectives." ~ Mitchell Chang
In an effort to meet the diversity objectives outlined in the University's Strategic Plan, the director for the Office of Diversity & Equity drafted a proposal for the development of the Diversity & Equity Leadership Council (DELC) and presented it to the president's cabinet and to the Office of Diversity & Equity in August at their respective annual retreats. The proposal was then shared with the University Strategic Plan Review Committee (USPaRC) on September 26, 2008. On October 31, 2008, employees were invited via campus wide email to nominate candidates to serve on the council. Due to an initial low response, the invitation was sent again on November 18, 2008. Several email responses, telephone calls and in-person visits resulted from the subsequent notice. An informational session was held on November 19, 2008, to kick-off the Diversity & Equity Leadership Council (DELC) initiative.
On December 2, 2008, the president and the cabinet identified the candidates who reflected the diverse representation of the campus staff, faculty and student population. All candidates were notified of their standing by an official letter signed by the president.
The first meeting of the new council was held on December 3, 2008. The university hosted the Hate Crimes Speak Up on December 5, 2008, in response to the November vandalism incident. The Speak Up provided support to the victims, and provided a forum for people to proclaim that acts of violence and intolerance are unacceptable on this campus. Members of the council also attended the Speak Up to learn first hand about some of the campus climate concerns. The formation of the DELC was also announced at the December 8, 2008, University Dialogue. An update of the DELC was presented to the USPaRC on December 12, 2008.
President Norton attended the December 17, 2008, DELC meeting to commend individuals for their willingness to serve and to encourage each member to exercise their creative expertise in drafting a Diversity Action Plan. The 21-member council (consisting of two alternates) will review existing publications that address the campus' diversity climate and form subcommittees to identify benchmarks and best practices.