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Quarterly Update on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Efforts

To the University Community:

Our work to address diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging at Clark is an ongoing effort. Following is a quarterly snapshot of key advancements in this area. For regular updates and more information about initiatives underway, be sure to visit our DEI website.

Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Leadership Named

 On September 7, President Fithian announced the appointment of Margo R. Foreman, MPH as the University’s next vice president and chief officer of diversity, equity, and inclusion (CODEI).  As CODEI, Margo will report to President Fithian and serve as the University’s senior leadership team. She will oversee our collective work to evolve and implement a strategic vision and initiatives to advance DEI. She will join Clark on October 15.

Margo comes to Clark with 20 years of experience inspiring and propelling forward DEI programs in higher education. Currently, she is interim vice president for Currently, Margo is interim vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion and assistant vice president for diversity, inclusion, and equal opportunity at Iowa State University. During her tenure there, she has moved her institution forward on many fronts – from diversity recruitment and retention, to collaboration with affinity groups, to campus climate reporting, and engagement, dialogue, and trust-building with faculty, students, and staff. At Iowa State and previously at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Margo directed Title IX and ADA compliance and workforce diversity and equal employment opportunity programs.

We also are pleased to share that the university has engaged Margo Okazawa-Rey in a consultancy role to support Margo Foreman and the ODI as our new CODI re-establishes the office’s vision, roles, and activities.  Okazawa-Rey is a social justice activist and professor emerita at San Francisco State University, best known for her work as a founding member of the Combahee River Collective and for her transnational feminist advocacy. She will serve in a supporting role for Foreman in defining and advancing the work of the ODI over the next several months.

Implementing the Task Force on Campus Safety and Security Recommendations

 On June 15, the Task Force on Campus Safety & Security submitted to President Fithian its recommendations for enhancing the feeling of safety on campus – particularly for our students; moving toward a new model of campus policing; and building trust between the community and our University Police. The 10 recommendations are wide-ranging with specific action steps aimed at:

  1. Reducing the presence of armed officers in public and residential spaces on campus, including the relocation of the Clark University Police Department to the periphery of campus and establishment of a community-service civilian unit to respond to service calls not requiring an armed uniformed police officer.
  2. Developing mechanisms for increased accountability and transparency related to policing, including the creation of a multi-constituency advisory board to monitor and oversee implementation of the Task Force’s report.
  3. Strengthening the relationships between Clark University Police, students, faculty, and staff

Most of the recommendations already have been fully implemented or are on-going without end (see items under Campus Policing and Security). Others are actively in progress.

Student Leadership

Clark students have played significant roles on many fronts related to DEI. Their leadership – as individuals and as representatives of organizations including the Black Student Union, the Clark University Student Council, and the Graduate Council – has been critical. Student representatives have served on search committees to identify the very best candidates for key University leadership positions, including Margo R. Foreman as Vice President and CODEI. Student representatives also served as members of the Task Force on Campus Safety & Security and, pending nominations, will serve on the advisory committee overseeing implementation of the task force’s recommendations.

President’s Achievement Award for Inclusive Excellence, Spring 2021

The President’s Achievement Awards for Inclusive Excellence honor individuals, groups, and programs that have made exemplary contributions to advancing inclusive excellence at Clark and within the broader Worcester community. Inclusive excellence centers equity, inclusion, and diversity as core institutional values. Congratulations and sincere gratitude to the spring 2021 recipients of this important recognition:

Student Group: Rise for Racial Justice (led by Ahiela Watson, Kadijha Kuanda, Inonge Kaloustian, Gloria Anderson, Grace Williams, Sofía Bishop, Faridat Dangbe, Mikayla Dotson, Eunice Dollete, Ivette Mendoza, Domenica Cevallos, Jackie Madrigal, Kaila Skeet-Browning, Yasmine Lalkaka, Danie Black, Jackie Pawlak, Akeisha Latch, Sophia Stewart-Chapman, Q Quinoñes, Heidy Coronel, Lia Tang, Kathryn Jeffreys, Juveriah Hussain)

Student: Jackie Madrigal

Faculty: Rosalie Torres Stone

Staff: Denisha Parks

Student Support

 There have been a number of advancements within Student Affairs, including:

  • The appointment of Maria-Elisa Gallant as Assistant Director of Student Leadership & Programming, a reimagined position now focused on supporting cultural and identity focused student organizations and clubs, and offering awareness month celebration and other programming.
  • The establishment of a DEI professional staff committee charged with developing workshops around DEI and designing an assessment tool to evaluate initiatives related to equity in areas such as housing selection, conduct, and resident advisor selection.
  • The addition of a Multicultural Club Fair at Dana Commons during new student orientation that featured tabling from multiple identity-based student organizations, including international student groups and CAIC, as well as opportunity for students to connect with the Multi-Cultural First-Generation Student Success program and the Office of Diversity & Inclusion.
  • The launch of the Dean of Students (DOS) Coffee Coupon and Connections program which builds connections between DOS staff and students.
  • Creation of the Dean of Students Emergency Fund to address financial and food insecurity needs of students in a more proactive and streamlined way.

Announcing CU Advance, A New Mentorship and Leadership Development Program

 We are excited to announce a new mentorship and leadership development program that will be seeded under the aegis of the D’Army Bailey Diversity Fund over the next three years.

CU Advance is a goals-centered mentorship program being piloted with faculty, staff, and students of color. The mission of this program is to facilitate a network of resources, mentorship, leadership development, and coaching opportunities to support Clark faculty and staff of color in making progress toward their professional goals, and to foster clearer and more structured intergenerational mentorship structures between BIPOC faculty/staff and BIPOC students.

Curricular Developments: New First Year Intensive Seminar on International Student Experience

Recognizing the needs of first -year undergraduate international students who must navigate the new landscape of college life in the U.S., the International Student Rights Coalition (ISRC), the Center for Gender, Race, and Area Studies (CGRAS), and the Dean of the College collaborated to create a First Year Intensive seminar dedicated to the international student experience. The course, “International Student Experience in U.S. Higher Education,” is taught by Asian Studies Professor Tyran Grillo and offered by the Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies program.