Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Charter

Comprised of faculty, support staff, and administrators, the IVCC Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee (DEIC) fosters, coordinates, facilitates, expands, and supports diversity, equity, and inclusion by creating, championing, and assessing campus initiatives in diversity, equity, and inclusion with an eye toward creating a safe, open, and inclusive campus climate for all of our students, faculty, and staff by working on improving IVCC within the following arenas: Campus Climate, Multicultural Programming, Faculty and Staff Recruitment and Retention, Student Recruitment and Retention, Curriculum Development, and Alumni and Community Outreach.  


DEI is responsible for assisting in the development and sponsorship of policies, programs, and projects designed to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion with an emphasis on issues related to—but not limited to—ethnicity, sex and gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, race, religious affiliation, and disability at IVCC. DEI will serve as a centralized group in support of the College’s diversity, equity, and inclusion aspirations and goals. These aspirations and goals are further emphasized through the College’s Strategic Plan, Diversity Plan, and Diversity Statement—and their importance is supported through outside research findings, as well. This is extremely important, as America’s college systems’ mission was, at its foundation, “elitist and exclusive” (Cornwell and Walsh Stoddard, 2006), because, in part, of the belief that “there was something called education, the transmission of knowledge and skills, that was race-neutral and apolitical, and that could be made equally available to all America.” That has turned out to be far from true, they explain, because as “the world looks different from different vantage points, the students and faculty who comprise a campus... have different life experiences and different social locations that they can bring to the table in a collaborative or dialogic process of knowledge creation.” Students and faculty, therefore, need to be taught to “seek out understandings from these multiple perspectives and not to rest content with the self-serving views presented in the mainstream culture. Power and interests intervene in the act of seeing, such that differently situated observers actually see different realities.” 

To accomplish these goals, the DEIC focuses on the following six (6) key components tied to our Strategic Plan, Core Values, Goals, and Objectives:

1. Campus Climate. The charge of this committee seeks to assess IVCC’s campus environment in terms of the attitudes, perceptions, symbols, institutional practices as they relate to diversity, equity and inclusion, and to report how they impact the College’s intention to develop an inclusive culture. That this is important has been evident at least since a 2014 study that found that campuses with a student group for LGBTQ students “were less likely to be discriminated against, had lower odds of suicidal thoughts and had fewer suicide attempts—regardless of whether they were gay or straight [emphasis added] (Saewyc, Konishi, Rose, & Homma, 2014). The importance of the climate cannot be understated, as current events, especially, such as the call for a “40-foot border wall, travel bans from majority-Muslim countries, and state violence against descendants of enslaved black people... only scratch the surface of why we need safe spaces for marginalized students’ mental and emotional health” (Oglesby 48)—and this does not include the sexual violence perpetuated against women, generally by men, and non-consensual sexual acts seemingly committed and condoned by high-ranking politicians. People in traditional areas of held power do not always recognize the situation that the less powerful are in: “The white American experience certainly is not synonymous or interchangeable with the black American experience. The same goes for heterosexual colleagues not recognizing perceptions of LGBTQ colleagues and students. Middle class vs. low-income... the list of privileged groups misunderstanding less privileged groups goes on and on” (Oglesby 48). Creating a campus where all students can be treated equitably goes beyond encouraging predominantly white students to talk to Latinxs or African-Americans, because this, while encouraging the interaction, does not provide a non-risk environment for the less represented students. Oglesby notes that in her research on safe spaces in academia, a student considering a college with fewer white people told her “It would be hard for me to connect with them because I would always have to wonder if they really want to be my friend or it I’m their token Latina friend or if they are working out their... issues on me. It’s weird. I just don’t want to have to worry about that AND study” (49). It is because the “majority often takes safety for granted,” Oglesby explains, that “these efforts must be intentional, systemic, and honest” (49).

That cultivating a campus climate is important has been recently made clear in two recent university situations. At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a recent survey, the 2019 AAU Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct, revealed that “45% of women in their fourth year or higher” indicated that they endured “non-consensual sexual touching or penetration” (p. 10) during college. Although it is unlikely that IVCC has to worry about a situation of this magnitude, as we are not a residential institution, we do need to be aware of what leads to such a culture to make certain that we do not have aspects in common with UNC. Likewise, a recent other closer-to-home example of a broken climate comes from Illinois State University, where in October, Black students protested following the cancellation of one of their homecoming events because of a scheduling error: “Black Homecoming Committee president Ashley Dumas told the crowd, “This is about more than homecoming. This is about more than having fun... This is about attending an institution we feel comfortable with, where we feel safe... We want equity. We want to be seen as valued” (Sobata, 2019) [emphasis retained]. It is important to the whole community that we educate everyone to create a welcoming environment that makes students comfortable enough to learn in, especially when the subjects are difficult academically, emotionally, or culturally. We also want to forestall mistakes that could make someone feel threatened, insulted, disrespected, or diminished, like Michigan State University’s recent Black History Month faux pas, where their bookstore, in trying to promote equality, hung ornaments of famous black Americans from a holiday-type tree, which was seen by many as being insensitive and/or hostile to the history of lynching that black Americans have disproportionately experienced.

IVCC already has Core Values that support this, as our Reach Far (Responsibility, Caring, Honesty, Fairness, and Respect) pneumonic suggests; however, as these values promise a commitment to social justice it follows that if we are not considering all of our population, then we are being blind to injustices that result from differences in perspectives and experiences. Cornell and Walsh Stoddard make clear that not addressing these diverse perspectives makes the mission of a liberal education impossible. There are, as they state two justifications for advocating for more diverse campuses: “One is social justice,” and... the other involves” both “demographics and the intercultural skills required by an increasingly heterogeneous society” and the “liberal arts notion that good knowledge and thinking results from exposure to many different perspectives” (2006). 

2. Multicultural Programming. The charge of this committee seeks to ensure the offering of a broad base of cultural experiences within the IVCC community. Programs will include but are not limited to: examining cross cultural communication styles as well as those that highlight the spectrum of cultural richness at IVCC and beyond. Natasha K. Warikoo and Sherry L. Deckman study how institutions of higher learning create experiences emphasizing diversity on college campuses, and note that they must carefully manage their programming and culture to support students and suggest that a combination of approaches work best, such as combining a “power analysis and minority support” approach with an “integration and celebration” one. Multicultural programming, they explain, benefits all students, as both “students of color and [emphasis retained] white students need to think deeply and critically about racial inequality, discrimination, social justice, and power. They both also need to develop tools for engagement and dialogue across racial lines in order to fully take advantage of their deliberately racially integrated campuses” (2014, p. 978)—and their opportunities in the ‘real’ world, where this integration exists or does not, deliberately or unconsciously, depending upon the context of the environment.

3. Faculty and Staff Recruitment and Retention. The charge of this committee seeks to support IVCC in its commitment to “increase the diversity of workforce” (HR). This is directly related to IVCC’s goal of “Provid[ing] resources and support systems that cultivate success for our students, employees, and community” (Institutional Goal 2). This is important and very challenging, as Phyllis Braxton-Frierson points out that more than 65% of people are not equipped for even basic Cultural Inclusion training, as they have received “no formal education or training to be more interculturally competent.” Likewise, few people are trained in experience-taking or perspective-sharing. As Daryl G. Smith observes in an article looking at the progress of women in higher education, although many more faculty positions are held by white women and a smaller percentage in administration, some disciplines and higher administrative positions are still very heavily held by white men. Minority men and especially minority women have made the fewest gains. Smith further finds that “Bias, deeply embedded in institutional and societal dynamics, strongly influence the differential ways women and men are evaluated not just by men but by women as well” (p. 819). Likewise, Smith finds much research to support the notion that as women have made these gains, they have “generated some unease about the feminization of higher education” (p. 817). Ann Intili Morey points out that professional development is essential, so that teachers can instruct the students in global perspectives and diversity issues: “A committed and informed faculty is critical to making the types of changes in the curriculum that further the goals of multicultural and global/international education” (p. 33).

4. Student Recruitment and Retention. The charge of this committee seeks to examine recruitment and retention practices and how they impact IVCC’s aspirations for inclusive excellence. Our efforts here will help with our first institutional goal of “rais[ing] community appreciation for post-secondary education and the opportunities it provides” by “Promoting IVCC’s educational opportunities so as to optimize enrollments” and the second by developing programming that takes into account “students’ academic, social, emotional, and financial needs.” To this end, DEI recognizes that diversity, equity, and inclusion go beyond merely speaking to someone of another race or religion, and requires repeated exposure to ideologies that teach about and expose people to diverse people, issues, and situations. The issue of recruitment and retention is especially important as some academics have observed a “long term trend [that] suggests that interest in participating in [Higher Education] is waning among [younger] school students,” (Gale, 2011, p. 6720) who, in some areas, are “now more likely to be out of education or employment.”

5. Curriculum Development. The charge of this committee seeks to educate and assist faculty in their efforts to embed diversity, equity and inclusion in the curriculum and co-curriculum. As Intili Morey observes, “Global and international education can prepare students to have the knowledge, the skills, and the attitudes to function effectively in this interconnected world” because “Concurrent with democratic changes internal to nations is the increasing globalization of economic, cultural, political, and intellectual institutions, along with the increasing interdependence of nations regarding such issues as the environment, world population, and public health. The revolution in technological communications has accelerated this transformation by bringing about a real-time, globally connected world. Thus, nations can no longer afford to be ignorant of other cultures, societies, and political systems” (p. 25). Anthony Walker concurs, stressing that as the American population changes, so does the population of our students, and because “the demography of higher education’s student body continues to diversify,” he notes, “curriculum reform is necessary (2014, p. 78). He sees student success as being dependent upon “winning the battle over how people think. Integrating pedagogies of praxis that emphasize teacher empowerment, culturally proficient curricula, and values of inclusiveness creates possibilities to learn by rethinking, reenacting, and ultimately unlearning the many norms that promote inequitable, unjust practice” (p.77). This diversification is not just in race, gender, or orientation, he mentions, but in academic and cultural preparedness for college, itself.

6. Alumni and Community Outreach. The charge of this committee seeks to engage alumni and community partners in IVCC’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, and when possible, to involve them directly in the planning and implementation of as well as participation in campus events and activities. This must be handled carefully, as Peter Wood (2016) observes that some colleges have seen “a significant drop in financial support... stemming from alumni distaste with how their alma maters have responded to recent student protests” (p. 485). The campus and our community are not situated in a vacuum, and have the ability to influence each other. They do not exist in a neutral territory, either. They exist in a world where people of differences have been silenced, ignored, abused, subordinated, and even executed. They exist in a world where their sexuality has been criminalized, their sanity has been questioned, or their skin color has dictated harsher punishments, longer prison terms, and/or less access to societal resources, like responsive medical care. It is the work of our college—and this committee—to educate people about this, as we educate them academically. 

AAU Campus Climate Survey. (2019). https://www.aau.edu/issues/climate-
Braxton-Frierson, P. (2019, Oct. 8). Creating a Culture of Inclusion on Campus. 
     Webinar delivered by CUPA-HR. Oglesby, IL
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