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Mooney creates council

Katie Kohler | Thursday, October 4, 2007

College President Carol Ann Mooney announced last week the formation of the President’s Council on Multicultural Affairs after the recommendation of both the 2005 Diversity Task Force and last year’s Chairs’ Diversity Action Committee. The Council, which is expected to be fully operational by the spring, will meet monthly and report to Mooney twice a year.

“We have a long way to go with fulfilling our diversity goals, but this council will help us work on the overall diversity of the College and reevaluate how we approach certain issues,” Mooney said.

The Council will consist of both appointed and elected faculty members, as well as administrators and students appointed by Mooney. In total, there will be either 15 or 16 people on the Council, Mooney said.

The membership has not been finalized.

Student leaders – including the head of the Student Diversity Board, president of the Residence Hall Association and other members of student government – will represent the student body, Mooney said.

Patricia Fleming, vice president and dean of faculty, who was appointed last spring, was named chair of the Council and is charged with forming the Council over the next few weeks.

“Dr. Fleming’s experience as an administrator and faculty member makes her a good candidate for this position,” Mooney said. “She was chosen both on her experience on these issues and the fact that she is the second ranking officer at the College.”

The duties of the Council are many, Mooney said.

“The first charge is to monitor the racial and ethnic diversification of students, faculty, staff and administrators, receive annual reports from Human Resources and Admission regarding the College’s efforts to create a more racially and ethnically diverse student body and workforce,” Mooney said in her announcement of the Council.

The Council will also oversee the ongoing education and development of the College’s cultural diversity and receive assessment reports on these efforts, she said.

Other charges of the Council are to recommend policies and procedures on harassment, propose initiatives to improve the campus climate and racial and ethnic diversification of the College community.

While Mooney will only be meeting with the Council biannually, she is responsible for implementing policy changes.

“My job is to form the Council and give it general direction,” she said. “I expect the Council to set its own goals once it gets underway. It is their job to prioritize their work.”

But the Council will be allowed – and expected, Mooney said – to be the catalyst behind those changes.

“Their recommendations are what will be the basis for the changes we make,” Mooney said.

Increasing College diversity among students and faculty was one of the main pillars of Mooney’s inaugural platform in 2005.

The platform focused on increasing diversity to raise academic standards and be competitive with nationally known schools, adapting to the more diversified demographics of the United States and developing a new hiring policy to have a more diverse staff.

“This will be a body with ongoing goals for the College,” Mooney said. “Goals that will ultimately help us achieve the levels [of diversity] we set for ourselves a few years ago.”