In April, President Veitch called for the creation of a working group to take on a number of issues related to equity and inclusion at Oxy.
The decision to form the group was inspired by campus conversations this past spring, which resulted in a joint statement by President Veitch and then-ASOC president Jacques Lesure ’19 outlining a shared determination to address important issues that affect the overall experience of Black students and other marginalized groups on campus. Beyond the specific issues that were raised last Spring, the group will address a number of long-standing concerns regarding campus climate and social justice at Oxy, as it relates to identity and the lived experience of members of our community, both past and present.
The Equity and Inclusion Group (EIG) will be comprised of faculty, students, and staff (and possibly alumni) consistent with the charge outlined in a follow-up message sent in May announcing next steps after the departure of CDO Rhonda Brown. Our specific focus will be the following:
Reassess the needs of the College with respect to a Chief Diversity Officer. Determine and prioritize roles and responsibilities, and provide a summary assessment and recommendations to the College’s new president in the summer of 2020.
Follow up on the actions and suggestions proposed in the April 2019 joint statement with ASOC related to equity and inclusion.
Work with assessment and research offices to assess campus climate with respect to equity and inclusion.
Better document the College’s history in relation to equity and inclusion by engaging with the College’s library, archives, and alumni community to gain a shared insight and understanding among community members.
Create opportunities for community-building around issues of equity and inclusion.
As announced last spring, the working group will be chaired by Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Rob Flot, and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College Wendy Sternberg. The decision to have the College’s two deans lead this group is a deliberate effort by President Veitch to elevate the work of the group to the highest institutional level. The group will have representatives from all constituents at the College, and we expect the group to meet biweekly throughout the fall and spring semesters.
If you wish to be a member of the EIG, please contact us by email to let us know of your interest by the end of the day on Wednesday, September 4, so that we may finalize membership and begin this important work. We plan to assemble a group that is manageable in size and broadly representative of different constituencies and identities. While it is important to draw on the expertise on these matters represented within our faculty, staff, and student communities, we also want to be respectful of the existing service and time commitments of those individuals who are deeply committed to and involved in equity work at the College.
We intend to provide regular communication to the College community about the progress of this working group. We also intend to invite feedback and periodic participation from community members who are not part of the working group, but whose input will help ensure its success. Given the range of perspectives on these important issues, the group's focus may evolve as the year unfolds.
We plan to finalize group membership by late next week and begin meetings before the end of September.
Dean of Students
Dean of the College