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Diversity Action Committee


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Title: Diversity Action Committee

Diversity Action Committee
  • Midyear Report and Recommendations
  • 2004-2005

The Charge
  • Listed below are three general topics related to
    diversity and equity that need to be addressed by
    the committee. Note that the committee itself
    will have the opportunity to develop a detailed
    charge to recommend to me early in fall term.
  • 1. Campus atmosphere and equity
  • 2. Student recruitment and retention
  • 3. Faculty/staff recruitment and retention
  • The focus will be on practical suggestions that
    can be put into action as soon as possible, after
    review by all appropriate bodies. Further, the
    assumption is that some changes will require
    either new or redistributed funding from college

  • Patrick Chang, Associate Dean of Students/ Chair
    x7591, pchang_at_ramapo.edu
  • Professor Lisa Cassidy, , Assistant Professor of
    Philosophy/ AIS x7146, lcassidy_at_ramapo.edu
  • Professor Joseph Dallon, TAS and Acting Director
    of Study Abroad x7730, jdallon_at_ramapo.edu
  • Rosa Diaz Mulryan, Assistant Vice President of
    Marketing and Institutional Relations x7636,
  • Peter Goetz, Vice Provost for Enrollment
    Management x7307, pgoetz_at_ramapo.edu
  • Judith Grieco, Office Assistant/ TAS x7290,
  • Professor Edna Negron, Assistant Professor of
    Journalism/ CA X7186, enegron_at_ramapo.edu
  • Anthony Olarerin-George, Student representative-
    OAU and the Black Student Union President
  • Professor Andre Perry, Associate Professor/ CA
    X7573, aperry_at_ramapo.edu
  • Diana Williams, Assistant Director of the Student
    Assistant Program x7446, dwilliam_at_ramapo.edu
  • Lorraine Edwards, Affirmative Action/Workplace
    Compliance liaison
  • Babette Varano, Institutional Research liasion

  • In general, the faculty, staff and students of
    Ramapo College are happy to be here. They cite a
    very personal, friendly and warm environment as
    being key elements supporting their remaining
    here. People agree that Ramapo is an informal
    environment where everyone knows and refers to
    each other by first name. It is a caring place
    that encourages creativity and experimentation in
    terms of teaching and administrative practice.

  • The ability to personally engage contingencies
    through discussion, collegiality and
    inclusiveness are essential factors in
    institutional decision making at Ramapo College.
  • Many decisions at Ramapo College are based on
    relationships that people have with each other.
    The downside of such an environment is that
    several members of the community feel that they
    are left out of the loop.

The pervasive perception of those disenfranchised
members of the community is that it is who you
know in order to receive funding or permission
to develop programs at Ramapo and that those who
are in power decide who to allow into their realm
of power.
The obvious effects of such a perception are that
discrimination takes place quite frequently and
that some people feel frustrated by their
inability to be promoted or receive the equal
treatment that they see being distributed to
their peers/colleagues.
Another issue identified is the false assumption
that policy decisions are clearly communicated in
a trickle down method from more senior
officials to all that work at the college.
Frequently, this doesnt happen. Messages are
either never communicated or reinterpreted to the
point of losing their focus.
In a 1999 study conducted by the Affirmative
Action Task Force utilizing full time faculty
data according to gender, ethnicity and race from
1997, Ramapo Colleges profile met or exceeded
national breakdowns. At the same time, Ramapo
came in 5th of the 8 New Jersey state colleges.
As quoted in the study
  • The data revealed that while we have
    substantially increased the representation of
    females, most notably White, Non-Hispanic
    females, on the faculty, we have shown only
    slight gains in the number and percentage of
    faculty of color, primarily in the number of
    Black, Non-Hispanic males and females. All other
    categories of faculty of color remained low and
    static over the last ten years. In comparing
    Ramapos results to those of seven other New
    Jersey state colleges and universities for Fall
    1997, we found that with the exception of Black,
    Non-Hispanic male faculty, we had the lowest or
    the second lowest proportion of faculty of color
    in all racial/ethnic categories. In contrast, we
    had the highest percentage of White, Non-Hispanic
    males. Among the four state colleges and
    universities not accessible by mass
    transportation, Ramapo College has the lowest
    proportion of faculty of color.

Significant concerns also exist about our current
student body.
  • The perception by the community is that the
    price we have paid for increased selectivity and
    a better prepared student is a more homogenous
    student body characterized mainly by white,
    middle or upper class full-time students.

10-Year Minority Student Enrollment
The Result
  • Teaching about diversity is becoming
    increasingly challenging given the fact that the
    other is rapidly becoming an abstraction rather
    than a living, breathing being with a wide range
    of life experiences to counter preconceived
    notions of race, ethnicity, culture, sexual
    orientation and identity, socioeconomic status,
    religious background, physical abilities and
    political leanings.

In addition, minority students have anecdotally
cited the following experiences as part of their
day-to-day existence at Ramapo
  • Differential treatment in the classroom by some
    professors ranging from either being completely
    ignored to being singled out as the lone
    spokesperson for their race/ethnicity.
  • Rude, stereotypical treatment by some staff
    members in such student support offices as
    Security, the Registrar and Advisement.
  • Rude, insensitive treatment by some roommates or
    suitemates who may not be the same race or
  • Differential treatment of minority clubs and
    organizations (i.e., required to have more
    Security and Police at social events)
  • Lack of response to formal grievances filed
    through Affirmative Action
  • Stereotypical treatment of being guilty of
    suspicious behavior by the township (i.e.,
    inordinately high rate of pullovers by Police).

The Process
  • Meta analysis of volunteer responses
  • Weekly meetings beginning in October with
    Enrollment Management, Marketing and
    Institutional Relations and Affirmative
    Action/Workplace Compliance
  • 2 day January Retreat with the Minority Faculty
    Staff Association, Institutional Planning, Office
    of Specialized Services, Provosts Office, Ad hoc
    Coalition of Black Faculty and Administrators

  • 1999 Affirmative Action Task Force Report
  • Ad hoc Coalition of Black Faculty and
    Administrators (AHCBFA) Memorandum to President
    and BOT
  • 10-Year Minority Student Enrollment Statistics
  • Fall 2005 Minority Student Recruitment Plan
  • Marketing materials

  • The President, Board of Trustees, faculty, staff
    and students must have a full understanding of
    what the diversity initiative is and support it
    from the top down. This diversity initiative must
    be demonstrated as an integral part of campus
    life, particularly since it is referred to in the
    Mission Statement, Strategic Plan and Middle
    States review. An example of such an initiative
    comes from Oregon
  • State University
  • American colleges and universities are charged
    with creating an environment characterized by
    equal access for all students, faculty, and
    staff regardless of cultural differences, where
    individuals are not just tolerated but valued.
    Institutional missions suggest that higher
    education values multicultural awareness and
    understanding within an environment of mutual
    respect and cooperation. Institutional strategic
    plans advocate creating welcoming and inclusive
    climates that are grounded in respect, nurtured
    by dialogue and evidenced by a pattern of civil

A clear definition of diversity needs to be
communicated to the community. A sample
statement that could be modeled after is that
drafted by the University of Toledo Commission on
Diversity Human diversity is variety and
otherness. It includes, but may not be limited
to age, ethnicity, gender, religion, physical or
mental abilities and disabilities, socio-economic
status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and
national origin. In promoting diversity, the
University pledges to respect and value personal
uniqueness and differences, to seek to attract
diverse faculty, staff and students, to challenge
stereotypes, and to promote sensitivity and
inclusion. It understands that its staff,
faculty and students must reflect the diversity
of the metropolitan area and beyond. It takes
seriously its commitment to diversity as
expressed in the Mission Statement and Strategic
Academic Plan. (Draft-not yet approved by the
Commission on Diversity-June 2, 2003)
  • Develop a Minority Affairs (or, more ideally, a
    Diversity Action) Office that will be fully
    staffed and funded. Such an office would be
    responsible for providing advocacy, counsel and
    guidance for the Ramapo College community. This
    Minority Affairs leader should be a trained and
    experienced person in the area of diversity/race
    relations/human resources from outside of Ramapo
    College appointed to head an appropriately
    staffed Office of Diversity Action who will be
    given a senior level of authority through which
    enforcement can be realized.
  • It has become abundantly clear that the charge of
    the Diversity Action Committee will extend well
    beyond this academic year and that its direction
    and priorities will be defined by our new
    President and Board of Trustees. If the DAC is
    to continue, we recommend setting terms and
    representation (or staggered appointments for
    continuity) of the committee for future years.
  • Update the 1999 Affirmative Action Task Force
    Report for immediate implementation (DAC).

SHORT TERM (By Spring 2005)
  • Begin work on conducting an institutional
    environmental survey in order to more accurately
    gauge campus climate. A recent sample survey
    that was recently distributed can be found at
    Oregon State University,

Short Term (Spring 2005)
  • Establish a Grievance Committee or (ideally) an
    Ombudsperson who will be responsible for
    providing advice and counsel and further
    investigating complaints when individuals feel
    that progress on grievances is unsatisfactory.
    Naturally such an individual(s) will need to be
    trusted and respected the Ramapo community for
    their fair and objective judgment, knowledgeable
    in the internal workings of the college and able
    to work with a diverse population.

Short Term (Spring 2005)
  • Restore Schomburg funding to its original
    allocation of 30,000. This group has been
    subject to the whims of the institution and has
    experienced a significant cut in funds during the
    past few years. Creating an established
    management and reporting structure for the future
    disbursement of funds would also ensure continued
    provision of funds.
  • Conduct a feasibility study on establishing a
    Diversity Action Office comparatively researching
    format, budget and structure.
  • Establish a campaign clearly demonstrating our
    commitment toward diversity that will be
    prominently displayed on bulletin boards, the
    world wide web and publications.
  • Expand the currently existing Experts Guide to
    include multicultural expertise and experience of
    our faculty and staff. Consider placing this
    valuable resource on the Intranet in some
    searchable manner for utilization by our in-house

Short Term (Spring 2005)
  • Continue creating opportunities to make the
    enrollment management recruitment processes as
    transparent as possible (and within legal
    guidelines). Recent efforts by the Vice Provost
    of Enrollment Management to meet with concerned
    faculty and students should continue and be
    recognized as a valuable part of improving
    communications and misperceptions of such
    processes. The process of exploring increasing
    our minority populations within legal guidelines
    needs to be changed from of a you cant do this
    because to a more proactive if you wish to do
    this, you need to model.
  • Create a more formal system for soliciting
    resumes within convening groups for more wide
    reaching searches (i.e., are search committee
    chairs aware of minority based publications and
    databases within their fields? Should one office
    be responsible for distributing such
  • Create a general searchable directory of
    community services for use by the entire Ramapo
    community listing ethnic restaurants, salons,
    houses of worship and businesses.
  • Meet with recognized clubs and organizations to
    determine what their perceptions of diversity are
    and what they feel the college should be doing to
    continue creating such an environment (DAC).
  • Develop an End of Year Report summarizing major
    findings and recommendations of previously
    written reports such as the Affirmative Action
    Task Force Report of 1999 (DAC).

MIDTERM (By Summer 2006)
  • Have the unit councils commit time toward
    discussions on diversity during the Spring and
    Fall 2005 semesters. Frank and honest dialogue
    on the role of diversity in hiring, its impact on
    classroom environment and recruitment and
    retention of faculty and students is an important
    first step to ensure that a common dialogue is
    being broached across the campus. Deans should
    provide a summary of their unit meeting
    discussions to the Provost.
  • Create a formal funding structure for diversity
    programs that is well communicated campus wide.
    The current perception is that funding is a
    highly informal process based on knowing where
    potential sources might be.
  • Work with the Faculty Resource Center in
    developing a Faculty In Service to discuss
    integrating diversity into the curriculum with an
    opportunity to cull best practices.

MIDTERM (By Summer 2006)
  • Continue creating opportunities to make the
    Affirmative Action processes as transparent as
    possible (and within legal guidelines). For
    example, more clearly communicating time frames
    for responding to grievances has been expressed
    by the community as a source of clarification
    still needed.
  • Develop formal mechanisms to encourage faculty,
    staff and students to become more actively
    involved in the Enrollment Management and
    Affirmative Action processes. The recent
    assistance of Assistant Professor of History Karl
    Johnson in connecting Enrollment Management to
    local church communities is a good example
  • Develop formal mechanisms to encourage faculty,
    staff and students to become more actively
    involved in the Affirmative Action process.

  • Restructure the formal exit interview process for
    the Office of Affirmative Action/Workplace
    Compliance to conduct with all college employees
    to determine reasons for leaving. The same
    should be conducted for departing students by
    either Enrollment Management or the respective
    schools. Data should be gathered and trends
    should be identified on an annual basis and
    findings should be shared in an open forum
  • .

  • Develop a campus wide training day for the entire
    campus to participate in the result of which can
    be measured. The topics, presenters (external or
    internal) and format (mandatory or non-mandatory)
    need serious consideration

  • The Diversity Action Committee feels that they
    have just begun to scrape the top of the
    proverbial iceberg. Utilizing the research and
    recommendations from such esteemed colleagues as
    the Affirmative Action Task Force of 1999, the Ad
    Hoc Coalition of Black Faculty and Administrators
    and the Minority Faculty Staff Association, we
    plan on conducting a thorough analysis, summary
    and offering of recommendations on the following
    areas by the end of calendar year 2005

  • Search procedures, networking and recruitment
    including the interviewing and selection process
  • Updating faculty data according to gender,
    race/ethnicity and comparing it to our other
    state college colleagues and national statistics.
  • Updating student data according to gender,
    race/ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation,
    socioeconomic status, physical abilities and
    comparing it to our other state college
    colleagues and national statistics
  • Retention of faculty and professional staff
  • Recruitment and retention of students
  • Reappointment/Tenure and promotion
  • Issues of religious tolerance in a public
    institution and the role of an on-campus
    meditational space
  • Making the DACs processes more transparent to
    the Ramapo College community through

  • Luminis / My.Ramapo.edu
  • The World Wide Web
  • Open interest meetings (every
  • Tuesday at 11 AM in SC-217)
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