Greetings students, faculty, and staff colleagues,
As I complete my first semester as Chief Diversity Officer at Gettysburg College, I want to share with you some important steps being taken to improve our bias reporting system.
It is worth underscoring that the changes to this system—anticipated to be enacted by mid-Spring semester 2023—did not begin with my arrival. Rather, they build upon the efforts of the President’s Council and multiple faculty, staff, student, and alumni initiatives, including the Bias Awareness Resource Committee (BARC); the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Advancement Council (I.D.E.A.); the work of the Climate Study Working Group (CCWG); and the follow-up meetings of the recent Campus Climate Survey Report, presented and discussed in September and October.
From the assessments of this work carried out during the semester, as well as through meetings with the College leadership, Office of the Provost and academic units, Faculty Council, College Life, Human Resources, Student Senate, and several student organizations, it is clear that we need to improve our bias reporting system.
We will begin by clarifying concepts. This includes clearly distinguishing between potential bias events and potential violations of federal or state law. In other words, bias events in contrast to codified discrimination or harassment.
For bias events, we will create a broadly understood bias reporting system designed to reduce harm, respond to needs promptly, and engage in educational and restorative practices. Since timing and inclusion across the campus community are paramount to this work, the President will be charging a working group—comprised of students, faculty, and staff—by early Spring semester to undertake this work.
We have a lot of work ahead of us. With that said, we have a foundation of awareness to build upon, and a wealth of research and best practices within higher education to help guide us. Based on my conversations with so many of you, I am confident that—together—we will make tremendous strides toward improving our policies and procedures in the months ahead.
In the meantime, as always, feel free to contact my office with any questions. I wish all of you a successful conclusion to the Fall semester, and a restful and enjoyable winter break.
Eloísa Gordon-Mora, PhD
Chief Diversity Officer