The Diversity Advisory Committee meets for the first time this year

The racial gap in students’ outcome for Hispanic and African Americans, along with other concerns, might become part of the committee’s efforts

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The Diversity Advisory Committee met on Sept. 24 to discuss and plan their diversity activities and events on campus, and how they want to engage with students.

DAC is composed of faculty members, students and administrators of all backgrounds. Its mission is to promote equality, diversity, inclusiveness and acceptance in campus, by supporting civility and non-discrimination programs and services.

The Zoom meeting host and faculty representative Jennifer Nestojko said DAC was a critical committee that was established last year, but never got started.

“I want to get this going and make sure that it happens this time,” Nestojko said. “I’ve created a schedule of meetings and invited the Classified Center and the Associated Student Government representation.”

Members contributed to the mission’s wording and shared ideas they thought were essential for the committee to work on.

Sam Ho, Employment Services and Diversity director, said that DAC will not only promote equality; they were also to address instances and barriers to ideas on values such as diversity and inclusiveness.

Elizabeth Gonzalez, who serves as a brand manager for the Hispanic initiative, said the meeting was significant because it was about the work of justice.

“I will suggest adding the term antiracist to the description of its mission on the website, instead of the word nondiscriminatory, and being more explicit about challenging racism,” Gonzalez said.

Nestojko said the committee will review the mission’s wording on the website, at the beginning and at the end of the year to update as necessary and that more inclusive, specific terms, such as LGBTQ and disabilities, will be added.

The racial gap in students’ outcome for Hispanic and African Americans and other issues that impact students’ access to equal employment opportunities were some of the critical items that might become part of the committee’s efforts this year.

“We are looking at what values we are trying to promote, aspire or achieve. When we see barriers, as a diversity advisory committee, we are to help address them and prevent it from further happening,” Ho said.

Sami Ibrahim, a chemistry professor, asked about the committee’s budget.

Roland Montemayor, the American with Disabilities Act coordinator, said he does not believe there is a budget for the committee, because there was no program review yet, but that does not mean that their efforts would not be supported.

Ho said he thinks the president of the college allocates some funding for the Diversity Advisory Committee. From that funding, the committee could decide to support multicultural events and festivity planning activities.

“For example, the funding can be used to support events for the Latinx Celebration Month,” Ho said.

The meeting was an overview of their mission and a brainstorming activity for members to plan what they want to work on this year.

“The meeting was a good start. It has given us some things that we need to look at before we can really do too much more,” Nestojko said.

The committee decided to postpone chair’s elections until they have full membership representation. They plan to hold their next meeting on Oct. 8.