As we come to the close of the spring semester, I’d like to highlight the latest diversity and inclusion efforts across the College. This is our third issue. To view past newsletters, please click here.
We have continued to build on the work started in response to student discussions at the January 2016 Town Hall meeting.
- The Office of Multicultural Engagement (OME) has increased its educational and social programs for students, partnering with various academic and non- academic departments. The new programming model is intended to build a sense of community and increase opportunities for interdepartmental collaboration. It includes writing and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) workshops, as well as tutoring services for underrepresented students. The office also maintains a relationship with Academic Advising in order to provide academic and social support for students.
- In response to student interest and letters sent by President Riggs, efforts continue on engaging National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) organizations on the national level to consider establishing chapters here. Delta Sigma Theta and Alpha Kappa Alpha sororities responded and participated in conference calls to discuss possible next steps. Omega Psi Psi, Alpha Phi Alpha, and Kappa Alpha Psi fraternities have also received letters and we hope to schedule conference calls with them in the near future.
ADA committee Projects
Highlights from the ADA committee on projects that were completed in 2016/17:
- Installed dispersed seating in the Majestic Theater
- Created an accessible apartment and parking spaces at College Apartments
- Installation of new bleachers at Kirchhoff Baseball Field
- Constructed new restroom facilities in the Dining Center
- Reviewed all current traditions to ensure that language and practices are as inclusive as possible. As a result, the Twilight Walk event for first year students and transfer students was renamed “Twilight Hour.”
- Updated language in the Convocation script
- Reviewed an internal College event planning worksheet and recommended specific criteria be added to address sight, hearing, and mobility needs
- Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART), realtime closed captioning service, will be available for Spring Honors Day, Baccalaureate, and Commencement for hearing impaired individuals. The realtime closed captioning will be accessible from a link on the Commencement weekend web site. The closed captioning will be viewable by tablets and computers on or off campus. For those who do not have access to these devices on campus, iPads will be available.
- For the 2017 Commencement ceremony, the College will provide printed translated programs and remarks, as requested by students and if the translation company can provide the desired language. At Commencement preparation day, students could request a translation, the target language, and the number of copies. In one case, the College is providing a laptop with a Text To Speech (TTS) service which will read the translated program and remarks to family members.
Grant and Funding
- A grant of $800,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation was received to diversify the content and perspectives in our humanities departments and classrooms. With the four-year grant, the Gettysburg faculty will recruit six tenure-track faculty members in the humanities and will seek to add new perspectives to our humanities curricula. This extraordinary grant from the Mellon Foundation will enable us to capitalize on upcoming faculty retirements and our new Inclusion Partner Program (IPP), which is designed to strengthen inclusive hiring processes. This is the largest Mellon grant that has been awarded to Gettysburg College.
- This fiscal year we have secured $5.3 million in endowed scholarship commitments. Also, we have recently secured a Campaign commitment to help underwrite internship experiences for first-generation students.
- The College has moved forward with the (IPP). Under this new program, Inclusion Partners will receive professional development to enable them to serve as diversity educators on search committees for faculty, administrative, and support staff hires at the College. This program will help ensure that women, minorities and other diverse candidates experience inclusive and consistent treatment throughout the hiring process and will enhance search committee members’ appreciation of the benefits of an inclusive workforce. A successful pilot program was completed in February. The IPP will officially begin in September.
- The post-election resource tab on the Diversity & Inclusion webpage continues to be updated with communications, event listings, and other resources valuable to our community.
- During the 2016–2017 year, Gettysburg College was awarded funding in the amount of $299,093 under the “Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women Grants to Reduce Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking on Campus” Program. This grant will enable our campus and community partners to offer additional prevention initiatives and direct support to students who have been impacted by sexual and relationship violence. Thanks in part to this grant, the College will be able to have better partnerships to work on addressing these issues with groups such as Survivors, Inc., medical staff, the District Attorney’s Office, and the Gettysburg Police Department.
The College’s Professional Development Committee created a year-long Spotlight Series for employees geared toward learning opportunities and professional development with a focus on Diversity & Inclusion. Among the many topics was “Building an Inclusive Search Process” which consisted of four separate modules:
- Pre-Search Efforts to Broaden Outreach & Recruitment
- Enhancing Search Committee Effectiveness
- Identifying & Selecting Candidates
- Extending the Offer & Welcoming New Employees
These modules provided managers and supervisors with the tools and resources needed to take a more inclusive approach to the search process to help achieve Gettysburg College’s diversity and inclusion goals. This program was a great lead-in to IPP training.
Student Solidarity Rally
A “Student Solidarity Rally” was held on March 1. The purpose was to provide space for members of the campus community to pause, engage, and discuss the issues facing America and the world today. Topics included:
- Climate Change and the EPA
- Changes in DACA
- Congressional Politics and Economics Changes in the Department of Education
- Law and Order Administration and the Movement for Black Lives Standing Rock is Still Happening
- Title IX Imperiled
- How to Contact Your Representatives, and the NEA/NEH funding crisis
- Moonlight, an American drama film directed by Barry Jenkins, was shown in Masters Hall as part of Black History month. The film is based off of the play, In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue by Terry Alvin McCraney. Moonlight chronicles the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world, while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami.
- I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO, Raoul Peck’s 2016 searing, Oscar-nominated documentary about the civil rights era, based on the observations of writer James Baldwin, opened for a week-long showing at the Majestic Theater on Friday, March 3.
- Hidden Figures, a true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA during the leading edge of the feminist and civil rights movement, whose calculations helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space, was shown on campus on March 23 and 24. This event was sponsored by the OME.
Annual Women of Distinction Dinner
The 2nd Annual Women of Distinction Dinner was held on Thursday March 30, in Specialty Dining. Hosted by the Women’s Center, the Office of LGBTQA Advocacy and Education, and the OME, this dinner honored the contributions women have made at Gettysburg College. The featured speaker for the evening was Ericka Hart, queer health advocate, breast cancer warrior, activist, writer, speaker and sexuality educator. Award recipients were:
- Woman of Distinction Student—Brooke Gutschick & Alexa Laboy
- Emerging Leader—Rebekah Hurwitz & Vanessa Martinez
- Outstanding Student Group—College Democrats
- Outstanding Organization—Tri Sigma
- Woman of Distinction Faculty/Staff— Dr. Zakiya Whatley
- Hidden Figure — Miranda Wisor
Pride week was held from April 3–7. Each day allowed students to partake in different activities hosted by the QHouse and the Women’s and LGBTQA Resource Center. Some of the events held were:
- Pride Photo Shoot
- Sex & Sexuality Discussion
- Campus Wide Queer Panel
- Tye-Dye Activity, Outerspace Meeting and Bonfire
- A Drag Show
Lavender Graduation took place on Sunday, April 23, in Specialty Dining. This annual celebration focused on the many accomplishments of our LGBTQA graduates. The graduation provided the college community with the opportunity to thank the seniors for all that they have done for the LGBTQA community and for Gettysburg College. Keynote speaker for the event was Shaashawn Dial-Snowden of Voycetress Media, LLC.
We have new services in transportation - We are committed to offering a myriad of choices while remaining financially responsible, environmentally friendly, and socially progressive. In addition to the many ways that the college’s transportation needs are served, beginning June 1, 2017, we are pleased to offer a way for faculty and staff to use the shuttle services for both business and personal travel. The opportunity now exists to choose between an economically priced shuttle that leaves campus hubs at pre- determined times, or a premium charter option that can leave at times that may better suit individual schedules. The transportation services that are currently offered have been streamlined to be able to accommodate this new option. More information will be available fall 2017.
The 2017 Commencement speaker is Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole, the first African American woman president of Spelman College who has also served as the president of Bennett College for Women. The student speaker is Haya Mohanna, a mathematical economics major and business minor from Gaza City, Palestine.
Three continued areas of focus for the college are:
The Campus Climate Study
The Campus Climate Study Implementation Group (CCSIG) sent a memo to the President’s Council summarizing community feedback from the study results. In this memo, five campus climate challenges were identified: employment practices, hiring practices and professional development; exclusionary, intimidating, offensive and hostile conduct; unwanted sexual contact and sexual assaults on campus; work-life balance and support; and uncompensated work and overburdened faculty. President’s Council responded with their plans for action. Progress on these campus community commitments will be tracked through divisional Inclusion Action Plans.
The Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI)
Since rolling out the assessment in the fall of 2015, over 650 students, faculty, and staff have either taken or started the process of taking the assessment, including Residence Life staff, Greek Life organization leaders, Dining staff and many academic departments. The Board of Trustees’ Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee has also taken the IDI. We now have a group of 27 qualified administrators on hand to provide confidential individual and group feedback. Faculty members can use this assessment as a pre-test and post-test tool for study abroad and/or relevant courses. If you have not done so already, you are encouraged to take the IDI as a team and/or department.
Inclusion Action Plans (IAPs)
Divisional Inclusion Action Plans were submitted to the office of Diversity and Inclusion and can be reviewed on the webpage. The action areas of the IAPs (Access and Equity, Campus Climate, Diversity in the Curriculum/Co-Curriculum and Organizational Learning) relate well to the campus climate challenges identified in the memo that CCSIG sent to President’s Council. The first update on progress will be reported by the end of fall 2017.
The last few weeks of the semester were particularly challenging as we struggled with how to effectively balance our competing College values (the free and open exchange of ideas and diverse and inclusive community). Special thanks to Professor Todd Green for coming to educate us on the industry of Islamophobia and to our students who organized the Unity Rally in support of our Muslim students, faculty and staff. We will continue to strive to become the most inclusive community possible.
Sincerely, Jeanne J. Arnold
Chief Diversity Officer
- The 37th Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration featured, Troy Datcher ’90, alumnus and Trustee, as the keynote speaker.
- Food Justice with author of Vegan Soul Kitchen, Bryant Terry
- Eisenhower Institute Lecture with Dr. Terrence Roberts, a civil rights expert and pioneer and one of the Little Rock Nine, on April 18, 2017.
- Gettysburg College joins the American Talent Initiative to expand access and opportunity to low and moderate income students.
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