February 22, 2024
overcast clouds Clouds 30 °F

Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, summer 2023

As the academic year and quarter come to a close, we have continued to experience staffing challenges amid the realization that other universities, including many of our university-center peers, are observing similar trends. However, this realization has created an opportunity to reexamine our work and identify additional ways to collaborate with others.

As we await pending legislation on Affirmative Action and Title IX and prepare for its outcome, we remain committed to promoting an inclusive campus community. With this said, our work to create a welcoming campus environment continues through the implementation of the Pronoun/Preferred Name Policy and the creation of a new LGBTQ+ inclusive housing option. Moreover, our collaboration with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and several HBCUs serves as fertile ground for research opportunities and a pipeline pathway to graduate schools.

Much work remains to be done, but we are hopeful and committed to the cause of being nationally recognized as an inclusive campus community.

DEI Administrative Office

There are currently 86 active search committees for positions on the state payroll and 30 active search committees for Research Foundation positions. On the state payroll, 49 searches were opened this quarter while another 42 searches closed. On the Research Foundation payroll, 14 new searches were opened this quarter and another 16 searches closed. A combined 161 active search committees sought to fill positions at Binghamton University by March 13. A total of 42 employees attended four virtual search orientation training sessions in the second quarter.

This quarter, DEI staff worked with Human Resources and Hirezon to modify our search forms for the paperless process coming this fall. Additionally, DEI worked with Hirezon to automatically route professional searches to Human Resources and faculty search forms to the Office of the Provost, following DEI approval.

In May, the division partnered with the Office of the Provost for the second luncheon for PRODiG faculty and Presidential Diversity Grant-eligible faculty. The luncheon was held Wednesday, May 3, in the Benet Alumni Lounge and featured presentations from Associate Professor Chris Greene in systems science and industrial engineering and Assistant Professor Monica Adams in social work. Both faculty members presented their research projects that received funding support from the Presidential Diversity Research Grant. DEI also encouraged more faculty to create sub-accounts with the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD) which is also funded by DEI and the Office of the Provost. The next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 1, 2023. The Presidential Diversity Research Grant for 2023-2024 has been awarded to two tenure-track faculty this year: Assistant Professor Rene Rojas of human development and Assistant Professor Brandon Wright of the Theatre Department. Congratulations to our new recipients.

The division met with the Alumni of Color Network in June to begin planning for Homecoming 2023 to celebrate the 55th anniversary of the Educational Opportunity Program and Black Student Union. The Alumni of Color Network will also host an event from 6-9 p.m. Thursday, June 22, at the Harlem Tavern Lounge in New York City.

The assistant vice president of diversity attended two meetings with the Diversity Committee of the Graduate School. First, to determine fellowship recipients for the fall 2023 semester and second, to review eligibility requirements for the Clark Fellowship Grant. The goal was to determine if the University’s Graduate School Diversity Fellowships align with federal regulations and state guidelines related to eligibility criteria.

Communication and Operations

This quarter, the associate director of operations (ADO), with the DEI secretary, facilitated the transition of the paper process for the Affirmative Action search forms to an improved digital format in Hirezon Interview Exchange. This transition includes updating to a Single Sign On (SSO) login. The ADO created a new Affirmative Action Process Manual and is assisting with the creation of asynchronous training videos. The DEI communications manager and associate director also launched a pilot Pulse Survey to gauge campus-wide sentiments on belonging, diversity-related knowledge and the impact of current social issues.

The DEI communications manager (CM) wrote several stories highlighting campus diversity, including two feature-length stories. A student profile for the School of Management’s magazine, Reaching Higher, and an alumni profile for the Harpur College magazine, Perspectives. Other stories and blogs focused on heritage and cultural happenings — Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month and Juneteenth or diversity-related initiatives including the new LGBTQ+ Living Community. Additionally, the CM covered off-campus events, including the Q Center’s participation with the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce, and on-campus events including the Progress Pride flag-raising event. The CM also contributed two feature-length Commencement-related stories that highlighted student diversity and success. The CM also maintained the social media calendar for DEI and assisted with posts on behalf of the Multicultural Resource Center (MRC).

The CM finalized a three-series, campus-wide poster campaign and installed new signage in owned areas in the Bartle breezeway. The CM also developed print/digital collateral, including a sticker set for the MRC, invitations, posters and more for various divisional events. A 20-card series featuring women of note was completed for the March divisional faculty-staff mixer.

The CM sat on two search committees: Multicultural Resource Center assistant director (failed) and School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences CM (in progress). The CM also created a test “pulse” survey instrument and presented findings to the vice president’s staff meeting in May.

Affirmative Action Office

Bias incidents/discrimination complaints/ADA accommodation requests

During the quarter, the Affirmative Action Office (AAO) received seven bias incident reports with the nature of the bias allegations including gender, disability, ethnicity and race. The majority of the reports were filed by students against students, and one report was filed by an employee on behalf of the faculty. There were no discrimination complaints.

There was one employee request for ADA workplace accommodations filed with the AAO.

Campus and community engagement

The Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT) met for a final time this academic year on May 8. The team will move to meet twice a semester in the upcoming academic year. And finally, the VP of DEI and AAO attended the first meeting of the Southern Tier Hate and Bias Prevention Regional Council in the city of Binghamton. NYS Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado and Commissioner of the NYS Division of Human Rights Maria Imperial were present and gave the charge for this new state initiative.

Diversity training and presentations

The Affirmative Action Office conducted five trainings and two presentations during this period, including Bias Response for University Police Department and the Art History Department, campus-wide training on Respectful Communication in the Workplace, and a collaborative session with Services for Students with Disabilities on Disability Accommodations in the Workplace and Classroom. A total of 39 participants attended. One of the sessions was in response to a resolution agreement for a complaint filed with the Office of Civil Rights.

In collaboration with other campus departments, the AAO presented for the Department of Social Work for Field Appreciation Day to social work field supervisors on “Campus services that support students.” And lastly, the AAO presented at a symposium for the College of Community and Public Affairs Institute for Justice and Well-Being.

Retention initiatives

During this period, DEI sponsored the second Professional Staff of Color affinity group gathering led by Student Affairs Divisional Diversity Officers in Hinman College. Approximately 20 staff members attended.

Posted in: