President Junn Establishes Campus Commission on Diversity and Inclusion

Peace Pole Dedication Ceremony
With more than 70 percent of Stan State students identifying as members of minority groups, LGBTQ communities and/or specific political groups, diversity is built-into the University experience.

With more than 70 percent of Stan State students identifying as members of minority groups, LGBTQ communities and/or specific political groups, diversity is built-into the University experience.

With such a diverse student body, many students have expressed that more needs to be done to fulfill the needs of their specific groups and ensure opportunities for them to be heard. And with that in mind, President Ellen Junn has established the President’s Commission on Diversity and Inclusion (PCDI). The commission was announced last fall and membership was put in place early in the spring 2017 semester.

The PCDI has been charged with developing a comprehensive three- to five-year plan with specified timelines for achieving measurable results in making sure all students feel welcome and heard on campus.

One of the first steps is establishing a baseline of how those on campus currently perceive the way in which their University addresses diversity and inclusion, according to PCDI Chairperson Kilolo Brodie, who is the Department of Social Work chair and Master of Social Work program director.

“The commission initially is very interested in looking at conducting a campus climate survey to get a sense of where the students, faculty and staff feel we are in terms of being equitable and inclusive of differing opinions, both religious and political,” said Brodie, who earned her master’s in social work at Stan State. “We need to get an initial sense of our constituent ground.”

During the spring semester, the PCDI took part in several events built around fostering diversity and inclusion on campus, including the unveiling of a Peace Pole and lecture by Arun Gandhi, the Day of Remembrance to mark the 75th anniversary of the Japanese internment camps, Black History Month events in February and the Ethnic Studies Conference in March.

The plan will grow and become more detailed as it is developed, but the commission has been tasked with making certain several key areas are addressed:

  • Affirming the University’s Diversity Statement and aligning the Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan with the University Strategic Plan.
  • Developing a campus-wide implementation plan that includes activities, education, communication, feedback and ongoing involvement including:
    • creating and fostering a diverse and inclusive campus climate supportive of students, faculty, staff and administrators;
    • assessing and ensuring that the campus’ curriculum and programs acknowledge and support diversity and inclusion;
    • assessing, recruiting and retaining a diverse population of students, faculty, staff and administrators; and
    • assessing and supporting diverse external and community advisory boards and other partnerships.
  • Securing campus-wide affirmation for the Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, monitoring its implementation and beginning progress reporting.

“We’ve also talked about making opportunities available for students, staff and faculty who might want to present research projects, showcase stage productions or highlight literary works that deal with diversity, equality and inclusion,” Brodie said.