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Date: August 14, 2007

To: Campus Community

From: Daniel Mark Fogel, President and John M. Hughes, Provost and Senior Vice President

Re: Diversity and Inclusion at UVM: Toward Academic Excellence in an Inclusive, Welcoming, and Safe Campus Community

I.
Preamble
II.
Assessing the Campus Climate
III.
Enhancing Campus Safety
IV.
Joint Recommendations of the Presidential Commissions
V.
Response to the Recommendations of Individual Commissions

A. Response to the Commission on the Status of Women
B. Response to the Commission on Racial Diversity
C. Response to the Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Equity
D. Response to the Commission on Inclusion and Diversity


I. Preamble

We are writing to report on the status of our work to ensure that UVM is a community that supports diversity in an atmosphere that strives to be maximally inclusive, welcoming, and safe, and also to share with the University community our responses to important recommendations submitted to the President over the course of the past twelve months by the President’s Commissions on Racial Diversity (PCRD), on the Status of Women (PCSW), on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Equity (PCLGBTE), and on Diversity and Inclusion (PCDI). We hold, with these Commissions and with the Board of Trustees, that diversity and inclusion are inseparable from academic excellence.

Five sections follow. In Section II, we briefly discuss the Campus Climate Survey and our commitment to attending to its broad implications through renewed efforts to support diversity at UVM and through additional surveys that will, we hope, provide increasingly reliable and useful data to inform the work that lies ahead. Section III concerns campus safety, summarizing measures taken last spring in collaboration with the presidential commissions to enhance public safety, including the recent visit to campus of consultants on safety and the convening of an anti-violence summit. Section IV responds to joint recommendations of the presidential Commissions, and Section V responds to recommendations that have come forward from each of the Commissions individually (in the order of their founding: PCSW, PCRD, PCLGBTE, and PCDI).

We are writing to report on the status of our work to ensure that UVM is a community that supports diversity in an atmosphere that strives to be maximally inclusive, welcoming, and safe, and also to share with the University community our responses to important recommendations submitted to the President over the course of the past twelve months by the President’s Commissions on Racial Diversity (PCRD), on the Status of Women (PCSW), on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Equity (PCLGBTE), and on Diversity and Inclusion (PCDI). We hold, with these Commissions and with the Board of Trustees, that diversity and inclusion are inseparable from academic excellence.

Five sections follow. In Section II, we briefly discuss the Campus Climate Survey and our commitment to attending to its broad implications through renewed efforts to support diversity at UVM and through additional surveys that will, we hope, provide increasingly reliable and useful data to inform the work that lies ahead. Section III concerns campus safety, summarizing measures taken last spring in collaboration with the presidential commissions to enhance public safety, including the recent visit to campus of consultants on safety and the convening of an anti-violence summit. Section IV responds to joint recommendations of the presidential Commissions, and Section V responds to recommendations that have come forward from each of the Commissions individually (in the order of their founding: PCSW, PCRD, PCLGBTE, and PCDI).


II. Assessing the Campus Climate

The 2005-06 Campus Climate Survey provided information about the ways in which UVM is experienced differently by groups within the community, including women, persons of color, and lesbians, gays, and transgendered individuals, with the data suggesting that all of these groups experience a campus climate that is often chillier than the climate experienced by others. Although the steering
committee for the survey noted that the survey findings, because of the limited numbers of respondents in some categories (e.g., students), cannot be generalized to UVM’s total population (see the executive summary of the Campus Climate Survey at http://www.uvm.edu/~aaeo/campusclimatesurvey/), we believe that the broad implication that women, people of color, LGBT individuals, and members of various underrepresented groups—including persons with disabilities, new Americans, and individuals who have felt singled out on the basis of their religious beliefs or backgrounds—have higher levels of concern than other members of the community about a variety of issues ranging from equity to campus safety must be entertained as credible and significant. Those concerns therefore merit our attention and renewal of commitment to an inclusive, welcoming, and safe campus for all community members. In addition, we believe that UVM would benefit from periodic and continuing surveys of the climate on campus, an issue of paramount importance to all members of our community. We hereby commit the University to this kind of follow-up, to be completed no later than the end of the '10 fiscal year, and we charge the Interim Associate Provost for Multicultural Affairs and the Executive Director of Equity and Diversity to work together, in consultation with the presidential commissions and with us, to ensure that this mandate is carried out.


III. Enhancing Campus Safety

A campus that provides a safe and secure environment in which to learn and work is a sine qua non for every member of the community. Relationship violence, primarily directed against women, calls for a commitment to zero-tolerance. Similarly, incidents of bias in our community are unacceptable. Accordingly, the administration worked closely last year with the presidential commissions, with the PCSW in the lead, to issue a University policy on relationship violence and to promulgate a revised policy incorporating new protocols for reporting and investigating bias incidents. The President signed the new policies for immediate implementation in May and June of 2006 and at the same time issued a President’s Anti-Violence Initiative in order to increase campus vigilance and awareness of the many policies and procedures in place designed to promote and protect the security and well-being of all members of the campus community. Please see the UVM policy web site (http://www.policies.uvm.edu) for the complete text of all new, revised, and continuing policies on campus safety and the website of the Office of the President for the President’s Anti-Violence Initiative (http://www.uvm.edu/president/?Page=antiviolence_initiative.html).

In October 2006, the campus and the nation were shocked and appalled by the abduction and murder of UVM senior Michelle Gardner-Quinn. This heart-rending and tragic loss, and the recent tragedy on the campus of Virginia Tech, has compelled us to renew our dedication to the safety of all members of the community, not limited to, but certainly including, those who are the targets of violence because of their gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression. Toward this end, this spring we convened an anti-violence summit and brought to UVM external consultants on campus safety. Through these and other means, we commit to intensified attention and enhanced coordination of our efforts to provide a safe environment for all members of the campus community.



IV. Joint Recommendations of the Presidential Commissions

In addition to recommendations from the individual commissions, we have before us several joint recommendations. We respond first below to those joint recommendations.



V. Response to the Recommendations of the Individual Commissions


A. Response to the Commission on the Status of Women

The PCSW’s Task Force on Work and Family Issues has developed substantive and detailed recommendations for greatly increased availability of child care on campus. It is clear from an extensive community survey administered by the Task Force that there is a need for more spaces than are available through the UVM Child Care Center, and also for greater flexibility (short-term drop-ins, for example) than options currently provided. The most pressing area of need is for infant care. Although we believe that the existing UVM Child Care Center should expand in cooperation with the Trinity Child Care Center, we also accept the recommendations of the PCSW Task Force. Accordingly, while we expect the existing Child Care Center to sustain its current program and quality, to expand its capacity, and to relocate in due course to the Trinity Campus, we have directed the Vice President for Finance and Administration to develop, in consultation with the PCSW, the broad community, and the early childhood programs in the College of Education and Social Services, a request for proposals for third-party operation of expanded, flexible infant and toddler care on or adjacent to the campus, to issue that RFP to both local and national providers, and to report to us on the outcome of the RFP process.


B. Response to the Commission on Racial Diversity


C. Response to the Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Equity

The Commission has called on the President and Provost to advocate for development of LGBT courses and curricula beyond the College of Arts & Sciences. We concur, and the Provost commits to doing so both through the Council of Deans and in one-on-one engagements with the deans of the colleges and schools.

The Commission also expressed concerns about the presence and salience of diversity in the Campus Facilities Master Plan. These concerns were represented in the master planning process by Commission chair Annie Stevens and were addressed in the version of the Master Plan approved by the Board of Trustees last year. We pledge continuing, effective attention to diversity issues not only with respect to campus master planning but also at subsidiary levels of facilities design and space allocation, including facilities that support the needs of transgendered members of the community. We have asked Vice President Gower to charge the Office of Capital Planning and Development with primary responsibility for carrying out this charge.

The Commission has recommended that the American Red Cross not be permitted to conduct its blood drives in the Dudley H. Davis Center. We note with appreciation that the Red Cross has recently joined other organizations and scientific authorities in petitioning the federal government to change FDA protocols that categorically exclude gay men from contributing blood. We share the view of those petitioners (and of the Commission) that the protocols should be changed. Unfortunately, the administration in Washington has to date done no more than take the matter under advisement for further study. We expect blood drives on our campus to continue to be conducted solely in the Waterman Building and the Patrick Gymnasium.


D. Response to the Commission on Inclusion and Diversity

While this important Commission made no new recommendations in the past year (other than through its concurrence in the joint recommendations discussed above), we have continued to work on developing a response to an earlier recommendation on the provision of English language training for employees who are new Americans. A full proposal has been developed by Human Resource Services (HR), and I have asked HR to bring that proposal to the Commission for discussion. It provides for University support and facilitation for employee participation in a wide range of available English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) learning experiences as well as expansion of existing UVM programs and referrals to community-based programs.

For the past year, the PCSW has been co-chaired by LuAnn Rolley, Director of the Women’s Center, and by Robyn Warhol, Professor of English and Director of the Humanities Center; the PCRD has been chaired by Clare Ginger, Associate Professor in the Rubenstein School and chair of the Natural Resource Planning Program; the PCLGBTE has been chaired by Annie Stevens, Assistant Vice President for Student and Campus Life; and the PCDI has been chaired by David Nestor, Dean of Students and Associate Vice President for Student and Campus Life. We, and the entire campus, are most grateful to these individuals for leadership of UVM’s important diversity commissions and to all of the commissioners for their ongoing work in pursuit of academic excellence and diversity at the University of Vermont. For the complete membership and additional information about each of these presidential commissions, please follow the left-hand sidebar links at http://www.uvm.edu/president/?Page=commissions/presidentialcommissions.html&SM=submenu5.html

With respect to the initiatives, measures, and positions outlined in this memo, we welcome responses and suggestions from the entire campus community.