In late August, we announced the promotion of Danielle Stone to Assistant Dean of Diversity & Inclusion and Coordinator of Title IX and Restorative Justice. This new role that Danielle is undertaking intertwines three of the most essential functions for a safe and healthy community: Diversity and Inclusion, Restorative Justice, and Title IX and will ensure the implementation of equitable practices among diverse populations. Danielle excels in bringing people together and building strong communities, and she will apply her passion to take our Diversity Strategic Plan from paper to action and to bring these important initiatives to life with consistent, active input from the student body, faculty, and staff.
Since our fall 2020 return to campus, Danielle has partnered with student, faculty, and staff representatives to develop and launch several initiatives (described below) that move forward our resolve to Act Justly.
Diversity Advisory Committee (DAC)
The Diversity Advisory Committee (DAC) supports the college’s Diversity Strategic Plan and is made up of representatives across students, faculty, and staff. They meet regularly to lead the college in creating and sustaining an inclusive learning, living, and work environment where all can feel that they are welcomed, valued, and supported.
We will have two sessions this month — restorative conversations — designed to bring us together as a community. The topic for these two sessions is centered around perceptions: talking through preconceived perceptions we may or may not be aware that we have, and how these perceptions shape our community. In the weeks following the sessions and through mid-November, we will have lunch sessions to continue these conversations.
Title IX Training
This week, Danielle and Dr. Keshia Jackson Gilliam held a Title IX training session for our faculty and staff, with the recording made available for students to view. During the session, they reviewed the updated definition of sexual harassment and discussed a new hearing process with an opportunity for a formal resolution with cross-examination as well as informal resolution as an option. Converse is committed to responding promptly to Title IX cases and providing continued support for our students, faculty, and staff.
Student Code of Conduct
The final revisions to the Student Code of Conduct policy are being reviewed by Cabinet this week. These revisions will provide greater visibility to the outcome of our cases and align with a restorative justice model. The goal is to approve and implement this policy by October 15, 2020.
Alumni Association Board Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee (DEIC)
Our Alumni Association Board has formed a new Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee (DEIC) to create, support, and sustain alumni communities that reflect the diversity of our alumni population. This committee will encourage mutual respect and a sense of belonging and purpose within our collective Converse community and will create opportunities for meaningful connections to be made among Converse alumni of diverse experiences across generations to support a strong and inclusive Converse community.
Inclusion Starts with I
As we hold these conversations about diversity and inclusion, this powerful video demonstrates how all of us have a role in an inclusive work and campus environment:https://youtu.be/2g88Ju6nkcgThe message that is shared midway through the video bears repeating here:
Inclusion and diversity is not just about gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, background, disability, culture, age, mental health.
It’s about you. It’s about me. It’s about all of us.
We are all human. We are all unique.
And we all just want a chance.
A chance to feel valued and respected for who we are, and for our differences to be embraced as strengths.
Inclusion promotes belonging, purpose, and wellbeing.
Diversity ignites creativity, problem solving, and innovation.
It’s about the type of world we want to live in and the choices we make every day.
Make a commitment to act, and to join these important conversations. It starts with us, Converse.
Krista L. Newkirk