University Website Includes Diversity Initiative

 University Website Includes Diversity Initiative

by Maggie Westerman | Staff Writer

SCRANTON – The University of Scranton has launched a Diversity and Inclusion website in accordance with their continued efforts to raise community awareness.

The website, which can be found under the “About Us” tab on the University’s website, features resources, ways to report, educational efforts and previous announcements made by University President Father Scott Pilarz, S.J..

The site also discusses the meetings of the Council for Diversity and Inclusion.

The University updated its Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment policy this summer. The policy includes examples of what would constitute harassment, including slurs, disparaging remarks, and negative stereotyping. The website provides a link to a form to report these and other types of behaviors to the University.

The Cross Cultural Center, Office of Campus Ministries and Student Government have also developed programs, prayer services, and continued efforts to educate the community on these issues.

José Sanchéz, assistant director of the Cross Cultural Center, said the new website will allow for a better communication with students about diversity and inclusion at the University.

“It’s a way for students to be informed, have resources, and answer their questions,” Sanchéz said.

The Cross Cultural Center has partnered with the Office of Equity and Diversity (OED) to develop workshops for students and faculty about diversity and inclusion. These workshops will work with the University’s hybrid learning model, Sanchéz said.

The OED also held virtual presentations this summer. Recordings of the presentations can be found on their website. The office will also hold information sessions about the NonDiscrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy for students on Sept. 14 at noon and for faculty and staff on Sept. 16 at noon. Registration is required for both.

Student Government has also been making its own efforts to provide resources and advocate for inclusion on campus. Student Government President and senior Jeff Colucci said that Student Government is actively involved and invested in the University’s diversity and inclusion efforts.

“Over the summer, we developed an action plan which included, but wasn’t limited to, educating ourselves on racial justice, advocating for general education requirements to include more cultural competency components, discussing how to incorporate cultural competency events in each school’s professional development program, and most importantly, listened to the experiences of black, indigenous, and people of color on our campus to try to identify what we can do to make our campus community more inclusive,” Colucci said.

Colucci, who also sits on the Council for Diversity and Inclusion, said that Student Government has been in communication with the OED to discuss the Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment policy. Colucci said he is looking forward to the work that Student Government will accomplish this year.

“University leadership and staff members have been very open to our ideas and are always willing to talk about our initiatives with us,” Colucci said. “I was happy to see what the University has made so far, but I recognize we have so much more work to do, together.”

A brochure was created by the OED with assistance from Residence Life and Human Resources and is featured on the website. The brochure provides students with ways to report, why to report, possible outcomes of reporting, and resources and support services. It also provides guidelines on how to be an active bystander and ways to support those who are subject to harassment, bias, hate, or discrimination.

A tab created for faculty and staff includes guidelines for hiring and training and discusses the ways the University will “strategize effective ways to deepen and grow the racial and ethnic diversity of our faculty and staff.”

Additionally, more than 350 members of faculty and staff completed online training on microaggressions and implicit bias.

The website, which was launched on Aug. 28, arrived after the University pledged to take steps toward awareness and inclusion in June. Sanchéz said he hopes the efforts will continue beyond the administration and into the community.

“I hope our community continues to work together to foster an inclusive environment,” Sanchéz said. “It’s on us to continue this work.”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.