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2006 AdHoc Committee Report

Ad Hoc Committee Addressing the Campus Climate
Specific to Hate and Sexual Orientation
April 27, 2006

During the past several weeks, the Office of Social Equity and members of the university community serving as an Ad Hoc committee worked together to identify actions for consideration by the university administration to improve campus climate. The Ad Hoc committee met several times and invited the campus community to attend an Open Forum on April 19. The members of the Ad Hoc committee are provided below along with the list of action items that were identified by the committee and university members. Next steps include identifying actions that can be implemented in the short term and developing a plan of action for the future.

Primary Contacts:

  • Michelle Fryling, Director, Media Relations
  • Helen Kennedy, Interim Associate Vice President for Human Resources/Assistant to the President for Social Equity
  • Whitney Hampson, Co-President, Pride Alliance
  • Terry Appolonia, Senior Associate to the Vice President for Student Affairs

Additional Members of the Ad Hoc Committee:

  • Dr. Robert Camp, Dean, Eberly College of Business and Information Technology
  • Dr. Rita Drapkin, Psychologist, Center for Counseling and Psychological Services
  • Giffy Giffoniello, Student Advocate
  • Rachael Goss, Graduate Student Advocate
  • Cole Hood, Student Advocate
  • Dr. Rhonda Luckey, Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Lisa Moyer, Co-President, Pride Alliance
  • Dr. Cheryl Samuels, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Dr. Carleen Zoni, Dean, College of Health and Human Services

Primary Considerations for Action

Policy

  • Streamline and publicize clear procedures for attending to behaviors in violation of existing discrimination, harassment and other behavioral code policies, including those addressing “perception of sexual orientation”
  • Review and appropriately upgrade existing harassment and discrimination policies
  • Apply first amendment privileges to the university chalking policy and other forms of solicitation

Education/Awareness/Prevention

  • Explore strengthening the new and transfer student fall orientation efforts and the summer parent orientation efforts regarding diversity and the campus climate
  • Explore the development of curriculum-based diversity education and global awareness into existing courses, the re-engineered Liberal Studies curriculum and a “first year experience seminar,” including the development and use of student learning outcomes
  • Market diversity education and sensitivity experiences for departmental chairs, faculty members and other university employees and students
  • Increase the marketing of university employee Safe Zone Training as a means of increasing knowledge, sensitivity and advocacy identification
  • Explore the application of the Safe Zone model to students, including visible identification of participants as advocates
  • Incorporate diversity education and sensitivity training within the education of all peer mentors
  • Advance the “Building Bridges” diversity peer training and educators program
  • Use future April “professional development” days as a focal point for diversity education and sensitivity training
  • Serve as a community resource by inviting community officials, safety and service providers, business owners and community members to awareness education opportunities
  • Build systems of recognition to celebrate and recognize groups and persons who make significant contributions to diversity initiatives

Campus Climate and Safety

  • Issue announcements each semester regarding the value of diversity and civility to the campus climate from the President, Provost and College Deans
  • Continue to advance the multicultural/intercultural center concept that recognizes the full range of campus diversity and explore the expansion of office space available to advocacy student groups
  • Develop a Diversity Coalition comprised of a diverse group of student representatives, faculty mentors and appropriate administrators
  • Continue to actively work to address the issue of the nickname and mascot issue

Intervention

  • Develop and market a “speak out” campaign that encourages the reporting of policy violations
  • Add a “students in distress” hyperlink to the university main page that ensures ready access to relevant policies and procedures
  • Ensure and publicize support services available to affected students and student groups
  • Explore the development of a student assistance program designed to provide immediate peer support to affected students and student groups

Assessment

  • Maintain regular open forums exploring and addressing campus climate
  • Issue periodic climate assessment surveys
  • Maintain regular contact with and seek feedback from student advocacy groups and student leaders
  • Social Equity Office
  • B17 Susan S. Delaney Hall
    920 Grant Street
    Indiana, PA 15705
  • Phone: 724-357-3402
  • Fax: 724-357-3404
  • Office Hours
  • Monday through Friday
  • 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.