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As leaders of Ithaca College, including its three governance bodies – Faculty Council, Staff Council, and Student Government Association – we recently created a plan to make the college a more inclusive, diverse, and welcoming community for all — regardless of race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, gender expression, disability, or social status.

Several incidents this fall have served as fresh and painful reminders of a longstanding problem on Ithaca College’s campus surrounding issues of racism and cultural bias. Recent events have magnified the feeling among members of Ithaca College’s African American, Latino/a, Asian, and Native American (ALANA) community that they are invalidated and disrespected. However, these incidents are not isolated events. They are, in fact, evidence of a persistent and far-reaching problem. Students have protested several times to demand change and voice their concerns, including at an all-college meeting this past Tuesday, October 27, where we presented our plan.

We firmly believe that existing plans to address these challenges must be expedited and new measures undertaken. Therefore, the college will be putting on hold several projects to focus efforts and resources on actions that will lead to a significant advancement in the campus climate for diversity and inclusion.

Projects put on hold include:

  • Remaining initiatives in IC 20/20 – the college’s strategic plan
  • Blue Sky Reimagining – an exercise to identify ways IC can deliver an even more powerful, transformative educational experience in the future
  • Strategic Workforce Analysis – reshaping our staff organization to deliver first-class service, while holding down costs

We also want to share a draft plan that consists of over a dozen new initiatives intended to help accomplish this advancement.

The draft plan is by no means intended to be either static or all-encompassing. Feedback that was gathered at the recent all-college meeting, and that will be gathered via the diversity website and through the work of the groups developing and carrying out these action steps, will be incorporated into the plan.

We encourage everyone to visit ithaca.edu/diversity to:

  • View the draft plan and recommended initiatives
  • Provide feedback on the initiatives and/or suggest other initiatives
  • View a timeline of the initiatives to see which will be completed immediately vs. long-term
  • Access regular progress updates and revisions to the plan

All of us—including the president—will be held accountable for enacting the initiatives. For all proposed actions, the relevant vice president will conduct an annual review of outcomes. Additionally, there will be ongoing consultation and assessment of progress by the administration working directly with the leaders from Faculty Council, Staff Council, and Student Government Association.

Everyone will be able to view progress updates to the plan and any new initiatives at ithaca.edu/diversity.

No matter what your current role is as a member of the Ithaca College community, we ask that you take the time to review the initiatives, provide feedback, and reflect on how we can each play a part in making the college a more inclusive community today and in the future.


Sincerely,

Tom Rochon, President
Dominick Recckio ’16, President, Student Government Association
Peter Rothbart, Chair, Faculty Council
Sean Reilley, Chair, Staff Council
Benjamin Rifkin, Provost and Vice President for Educational Affairs
Nancy Pringle, Senior Vice President and General Counsel
Gerald Hector, Vice President for Finance and Administration
Chris Biehn, Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Communication
Gerard Turbide, Interim Vice President for Enrollment Management

 

Making an Inclusive Ithaca: Community Action on Racism and Cultural Bias | 1 Comments |
The following comments are the opinions of the individuals who posted them. They do not necessarily represent the position of Intercom or Ithaca College, and the editors reserve the right to monitor and delete comments that violate College policies.
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Making an Inclusive Ithaca: Community Action on Racism and Cultural Bias Comment from pmartin on 10/29/15
It is stated that "all of usóincluding the presidentówill be held accountable
for enacting the initiatives."

How, specifically, will the president be held accountable?
Who will be holding him accountable?
How will we know that he is indeed being held accountable?

In other words, what does this mean in practice?