UNI to expand diversity initiatives

Friday, October 30th, 2015

To the University community,

As we continue to strive to create a campus that is more welcoming and supportive of students, faculty and staff of color, we want to update you on progress and plans.  During the course of the summer, we undertook a process to re-examine the role of the Center for Multicultural Education (CME). More than 50 students, faculty and staff participated in one of four discussion sessions that lasted into the fall. The ideas generated in those discussions reached beyond the particulars of the CME and raised broader questions about diversity and inclusion on our campus. These ideas were further considered by the President's Diversity and Inclusion Council at its October meeting and in subsequent meetings with student leaders.

We have responded to the feedback with several initiatives, some of which have already been launched:

The CME will become more student-centered. It will craft its programs and activities to meet the needs of racial and ethnic minority students and will work to support and empower related student organizations and their leaders. CME funds will be directed to support student-led initiatives. Progress has already been made on this front with a new "ambassadors". It features 10 paid students providing outreach and planning programs; the new First Fridays event was produced with their assistance. 

CME's space will be altered to support its new focus. Based on input from students, Facilities Planning is developing options on how the space can be renovated in order to be used differently. These will be reviewed and refined with student input to arrive at final plans. The guiding concepts are that the Center will provide more comfortable space for daily student use, functional space for student organizations and student ambassadors, and program/event space for mission-related activities. We have already made some changes to the furnishings in the reception and conference room areas, responding to feedback from students.

We will add a Chief Diversity Officer. We will provide senior-level leadership to our campus diversity and inclusion efforts. This person will serve on the President's Executive Management Team (EMT) and will guide our efforts to become a place where learning from and about each other is embedded in what we do every day and where success for all is supported.

We look forward to continuing the dialogue to gather further input to our diversity and inclusion efforts, and we hope you will continue to participate in elevating this work.  If you have questions, please let us know.

Bill Ruud                Jim Wohlpart
President               Provost