Diversity is a fact of the human experience. Students, faculty, and staff come to Elon from myriad backgrounds and identify themselves—or find themselves identified by others—as members of innumerable different communities. There is therefore no conclusive list of human experiences or cultural identifiers that mark an individual as diverse. Elon University aspires to embrace these differences and to make our community open, accessible, and safe for all of its members. Moreover, we intend to deepen and widen the ways in which our community is diverse, and to cultivate learning around our differences.
We as members of the Inclusive Community Council recognize the challenge that human difference poses to building community and actively seeks to become an institution that welcomes, supports, and respects the human dignity of each member of the community. We recognize that for some members of our community, systemic and institutionalized discrimination, oppression, and prejudice have been and continue to be barriers to thoughtful inclusion. We must do more to uphold the dignity of each person and value, acknowledge, and protect the unique gifts they bring into our community. We acknowledge that the work toward full inclusion may be difficult, tedious, slow, or even painful but we will not allow these challenges to deter us.
Participating in a meaningful discourse regarding diversity will require all members of the community both to be active listeners and to learn to exchange ideas with compassion toward those with whom we disagree. In order for us to create a campus climate that is inclusive and safe, we will need to practice such virtues as respect, honesty, transparency, and civility.
Brooke Barnett (Chair) Interim Associate Provost - Inclusive Community
Charge: To provide institutional oversight for programs and policies to further a campus climate that upholds the dignity of each community member, and to oversee campus-wide response and education to acts of bias and discrimination
• Engage in periodic training on best practices in bias response programs and building a culture of understanding and respect.
• Review campus climate survey data and patterns of bias incidents on and off campus, both domestically and abroad.
• Stay abreast of the various populations that comprise the Elon community and initiate programs based on their needs.
• Review policies and grievance procedures as needed.
• Advise the Bias and Discrimination Response Coordinator on programs and initiatives.
• Advise the President on progress and additional ways to strengthen an inclusive learning environment.
• Monitor diversity and global engagement strategic planning.
Priorities for 2014-2015
1. Communication (listening, assessing and sharing). We plan an ICC on the road in order to ensure that ICC members are out in the community sharing the work we are doing across campus as well as listening to community members, assessing the campus climate and needs and using that information to inform our work.
2. Engagement. We plan to create new ways to brand diversity and inclusion work at Elon and engage members of our community in the diversity and inclusion work on campus including the many ways to gain knowledge, skills and behaviors that lead to more positive and meaningful interactions.
3. Monitor progress across campus. We plan to specifically assess progress on the LGBTQIA Task Force, Task Force for the Faculty, Staff and Student Black Experience, the Hispanic/Latino working group, Title IX, Clery, bias incidents and general campus climate as well as other campus climate related issues that arise.
2013-2014 priorities and accomplishments
1. Create action plans related to specific initiatives, programs and future plans to support Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, LGBTQ, multiracial and emerging demographic groups on campus.
In the summer an Inclusive Community Council committee worked to create plans for multiple groups on campus and met with three grassroots formed groups to talk about the needs of LBGTQIA, Black and Hispanic/Latino students. The Presidential Task Force for the Faculty, Staff and Student Black Experience recently provided recommendations for actions requested to be implementation in the next year. The task force will provide a full report with short and long term recommendations in December 2014. In addition to the task force, the new assistant director for the Multicultural Center is working on intentional development and support for the Black Cultural Society and held several town hall meetings for all black students and faculty/staff.
The Gender & LGBTQIA Center (GLC) has created and partnered with dozens of students groups, academic departments, admissions, and various student life departments on programs and trainings this past year. These programs focused on “allyship”, leading several “A Campus of Difference” workshops, and other trainings and awareness programs. The GLC also hosted six nationally known speakers. The President’s LGBTQIA Task Force finished its report and made recommendations around support, education, communications, and creating a welcoming environment to improve the campus climate. This report was distributed to the campus and an implementation will be appointed this summer to layout a framework and timetable to begin implementing the task force’s recommendations.
A campus committee has also begun to examine the Hispanic/Latino experience on campus. Focus groups were held with students to get feedback from both domestic and international Hispanic/Latino students. Discussions including admissions, student life, El Centro, and alumni programs have been held to begin making plans to enhance the experience for these students and future alumni. Over the summer the Higher Education Advisory Board will be conduct a study of best practices at other universities and data on the Hispanic/Latino/a population at Elon will be assembled to resume work in the fall to enhance services and actions to support this population. The Multicultural Center hosted the grand opening for the Hispanic/Latino Resource room on November 4th. The Hispanic/Latino Resource Room has been used by a variety of students and continues to be a great option for intentional student usage and student programming. We are opening the Asian/Asian American resource room this summer. The Multicultural Center is exploring programs for the fall to better support multiracial and emerging ethnic groups on campus.
2. Implement communications messaging, broad training and dialogue plans to help create a more ideal campus climate that recognizes the challenge that human difference poses to building community and actively seeks to become an institution that welcomes, supports, and respects the human dignity of each member of the community.
Communication continues to be our biggest challenge. Presentations were shared at divisional and department meetings, living learning communities and student organizations across campus as well as faculty meeting, student government association and senior staff. Leigh-Anne Royster hosted fireside chats on the campus climate.
We continue our work to create inclusive classroom spaces as well as events with on-going training and conversation.
Elon provides various strategies and programs for furthering civil discourse and having productive, challenging conversations among persons of different perspectives. The list includes: Anti-Defamation League Campus of Difference programs, Campus Conversation held before Faculty Council meeting, Community Connections, Deliberative Dialogues, Crucial Conversations facilitated by Chaplain Fuller through the Office of Leadership and Professional Development, Difficult Dialogues facilitated by the Multicultural Center, and the Politics Forum organized by Safia Swimelar. We have just completed a report about beginning Intergroup Relations Dialogue on campus.
Create campus messages that ensure the campus community has a basic understanding of our work around diversity and global engagement and how it relates to Elon’s core academic mission.
Leigh-Anne Royster created a new clearing house website to gather our work across campus onto one site:
Academic Diversity Fellow Crystal Anderson created a diversity course database, which is searchable by content and department.
ICC members regularly serve on panels for admissions weekends.
3. Revise protocols and definitions based on external reviewer and community feedback and then implement communications plan for Bias, Harassment and Discrimination policies and protocols.
This report was submitted and we created a number of changes in our processes including a new online reporting tool and clearer communications among those involved in the protocol. These procedures will be evaluated and updated each summer and new communication strategies employed to ensure all new members are aware of our policies and protocols.
2012-2013 Priorities and accomplishments:
1. Collaborate to work on a definition of diversity and/or aspirational statement and develop a program to ensure the campus community has a basic understanding of our work around diversity and global engagement and how it relates to Elon’s core academic mission. (Statement proposed and next year an ICC committee will engage the community in conversation around the statement)
2. Develop a communications plan for new Bias and Discrimination policies in Fall and a communications infrastructure to support the diversity strategic plan in Spring. (A communications plan was created and will be implemented in the fall)
3. Ensure that all people involved in the bias and discrimination process are fully trained, review our policies and protocols and ensure that the community understands them. (Trainings are being scheduled for summer and fall and have taken place throughout the year)
4. Explore diversity and learning. Consider plan in Spring for a task force to examine initiation of diversity content in Elon’s curriculum. Support as needed the winter term diversity theme. Partner as appropriate with Academic Diversity Fellow. (Winter term 2014 planning is already underway. A diversity in the curriculum searchable site spearheaded by Crystal Anderson will be up in the fall. We hired two consultants to work on gender and sexuality in the curriculum and are developing a concept around assessment of student learning around diversity. The third year of diversity infusion grants were funded).
5. Follow up on Anti-Defamation League (ADL) second level type training with education team. Work with existing expertise such as DEEP, Chaplain, International week, heritage and history months and the office of disability services. (Twenty-one colleagues were certified this summer to deliver the Campus of Difference Program ADL program and all its licensed material. We begin offering those workshops in August 2013).
6. Assess campus climate reports and present findings to the council, i.e. student and faculty and staff survey, Title IX report, report from bias and discrimination coordinator, Cleary Act report, etc. (The campus climate results are part of a presentation that Brooke Barnett is now sharing across campus. The council will examine other reports as they are submitted each year).