2012: Equitable Benefits for All Employees
Through a variety of channels including conversations and correspondence with UNC General Administration, Lambda Society Legal Resources, and UNC Asheville Department of Human Resources, the Diversity Action Council examined every avenue to obtain equitable benefits for all UNC Asheville employees until equitable benefits for all employees were achieved.
2012: Campus Climate Survey
The Diversity Action Council conducted the second Campus Climate Survey during the fall 2012 semester. This is a follow-up to the initial survey conducted in 2010. We asked all members of the campus community to complete this anonymous survey regarding UNC Asheville's Campus Climate in a continuing effort to improve our educational environment.
This survey provides data for our Strategic Plan Benchmarks on Diversity and Social Sustainability. Our purpose is to get a sense of where we are and where improvement is necessary. Students, staff and faculty sharing feedback about personal experiences on campus is important and will help us better understand the overall campus climate. We look forward to discussions concerning the substance of the survey and to using the data as an effective tool to strengthen our campus community. Check back soon for the Diversity Action Council's discussion of and response to these results.
2011: Commencement Universal Path
The path to receiving a diploma for many years included a final walk up the steps of the Ramsey Library which was not possible for people with wheelchairs, crutches, or other conditions which effected mobility. We created and recommended adoption of a universal graduation path enabling all to transverse it and receive their diploma with the same dignity.
2011: Microdata Poster
UNC Asheville New Media students worked with Diversity Action Council members to create a poster to be used for recruitment and around campus to present data related to where we stand on diversity and inclusion goals.
2010-11: World Café
In 2010-11, the Diversity Action Council conducted a series of conversation circles using a World Café model to gather additional campus input about diversity, equity, and inclusion and set priorities based on the campus climate survey.
The recommendations that arose from these conversations include:
- Making multiculturalism a campus-wide effort
- Preparing White faculty and staff to work with Black students
- Increasing Black faculty
2010: Campus Climate Survey
In 2010, the Diversity Action Council conducted a Campus Climate Survey and reviewed the results in depth. The 2010 survey revealed four priority issues for our attention:
- Same-Sex Partner benefits
- Welcoming Climate for Transfer students
- Welcoming Climate issues for Students from deeply held faith-based traditions
- Ethnic isolation for students of color
The committee developed action plans in response to each of those issues including efforts for equitable employee benefits, professional development, student focus groups, and programs for transfer students.
2010: Gender Neutral Restrooms
Out of a concern raised by a student, the Diversity Action Council did an evaluation of gender-neutral bathrooms at UNC Asheville to determine how many single stall restrooms were in existence and what bathrooms could be retrofitted to single stall. Once the survey was complete, it was determined that 14 restrooms could be turned into single stalls. These facilities are all now across a number of buildings across campus (though not in all buildings). A request was also made to the Senior Staff that all future plans for buildings include gender neutral/single stall restrooms. The Senior Staff support our request.
Ongoing: Student Focus Groups
Each year an outside evaluator has come to campus to speak with small groups of students of color as a window into their campus experience. The reports underscore the need for more faculty and staff of color and more sensitivity to the issues of students of color in and out of the classroom. Additionally, a focus group for Jewish students was conducted.
Focus Group Feedback from these events:
When asked what the students most enjoyed, they all expressed that uncertainty about coming to the event as they were not told any specifics prior to coming. They explained how honored they felt as so many staff members came by to offer their support along with Provost Fernandes. They explained that they enjoyed letting out their thoughts in a safe place. After 3 hours of gathering data from them, they said that it felt good to release and get it out to someone who was so open to listening. They also loved the fact that that never sat in one place for more than 15 minutes but were completing a series of different, and interesting activities such as sharing their feeling on movie clips about race and dividing themselves around the room based on their opinions. Overall, students really enjoyed the focus group and have requested another.
Ongoing: Sponsorship of Speakers
Through the initiative of students, the Diversity Action Council supported the hosting of journalist Arsalan Iftikhar speaking on pacifism in the Muslim tradition.
Gallaudet University president emeritus I. King Jordan
I. King Jordan came for the Fall 2012 Disability Awareness week. This included outreach to the School for the Deaf in Morganton along with the larger deaf community in Western North Carolina.
James Ferguson, civil rights leader and attorney
James Ferguson served as a scholar-in-residence in the Political Science department.
Ongoing: Professional Development Initiative for All Employees
Based on the 2010 Campus Climate Survey, the Diversity Action Council made a commitment to train 75% of all faculty and staff with a 2-day diversity training. This project is now in its third year with 120 people having gone through the process.
Additional follow-up training, currently in the design stage, will enable employees to use it as a base for further work and receive certification for their continued efforts. This past fall, Frances E. Kendall, organizational developer, presented “Being Clueless is No Longer an Excuse: Infusing'The Work' into Everyday Practices,” focusing on white privilege and institutional racism.
Ongoing: Collaboration with Community Groups
Diversity Action Council members have worked to connect African-American students at UNC Asheville with members of Delta House. We work annually with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Association Youth Leadership Awards and Prayer Breakfast. We work with Building Bridges of Asheville focusing on relationships between Black and White people.
Ongoing: Student Participation
The Student Government Association appoints student representatives to the Diversity Action Council. In addition, students are encouraged to attend the Diversity Action Council meetings, to sit on committees and to bring us issues for discussion and action. Increasingly, students have visited our meetings for engaged discussion and leadership opportunities.