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Presidential Diversity Council holds first meeting

December 20, 2016

University President and CEO Joel Seligman convened the first meeting of the Presidential Diversity Council (PDC) on Tuesday, December 20. The PDC consists of senior University leaders who are tasked with promoting and encouraging the University’s race and diversity activities and establishing methods of accountability for continued progress on the recommendations of the final report of the Presidential Commission on Race and Diversity, released in October.

At this initial meeting, Seligman laid out ambitious plans for the council, including assessments and ongoing programming anticipated for faculty, students, and staff. “This is a process,” stressed Seligman. “We have much to do to continue to realize our aspirations of a campus community that is welcoming to all; one that recognizes difference and celebrates diversity in all of its many manifestations.”

As its initial act, the PDC voted unanimously to have Martin Luther King, Jr. Day recognized as a University holiday, commencing in 2018. “This is a fitting and important step to signify our commitment to diversity,” said Seligman.

In addition, the council reviewed plans to take part in a session on cultural competency and unconscious bias. This session will be conducted by the internationally known diversity and leadership consulting firm, Cook Ross, which is a firm already engaged in similar activities with the University of Rochester Medical Center leadership. Following the initial round of training, the council will explore ways to expand this training across campus.

Early in the new year, the PDC Implementation Committee will convene its first meeting and will also participate in the session led by Cook Ross. The Implementation Committee will be chaired by Morgan Levy, Director of Equal Opportunity and Title IX Coordinator.

The council will meet again in January and focus on issues of climate and survey results. In the spring semester, the focus will be on the Commission on Race and Diversity’s recommendations on faculty, students, and staff. The PDC will consider a broad definition of diversity, with the aspiration of creating a more inclusive climate for all members of the community.

The PDC anticipates an initial annual report to be provided before the October 2017 University of Rochester Board of Trustees meeting.


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