Letter to the Editor

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I am writing this letter in response to [the] July 31 Vanguard article “PSU’s Diversity Action Plan proving difficult to define.” It’s important to understand both the background and goals of this campus-wide initiative. Portland State University’s Diversity Action Plan was published in February 2012 and set forth a plan of action regarding eight diversity goals, the metrics to measure attaining these goals and the resources necessary to accomplish these goals. The goals include: 1) Produce graduates who can be leaders in a global community; 2) Ensure that diversity is incorporated into the curriculum; 3) Create an environment that is welcoming, inclusive and diverse; 4) Create more robust communication channels to bring the world to the campus and the campus to the world; 5) Endorse a campus-wide cultural competency training plan; 6) Recruit and retain cross-culturally sophisticated faculty and staff; 7) Recruit and retain a greater number of historically underrepresented, historically underserved and international students; and 8) Develop and support relationships with the community, alumni and other partners. When these goals are met, new goals and metrics will be introduced.

The goal was to have both a top-down and bottom-up approach to ensure the diversity goals are met. Specifically, each of the eight sections has a member of the President’s Executive Committee as the lead. Each section also has an accompanying subcommittee made up of individuals from across the university including the Diversity Action Council members. Feedback from across the university has been received from emails, website comments and two open public forums that were attended by students, faculty and staff. All of the feedback is being evaluated on an ongoing basis and serves to update the Diversity Action Plan.

For Portland State to be successful in achieving these diversity goals, it requires the commitment of every student, faculty and staff member. For example, one important goal is to create an environment at PSU that is welcoming, inclusive and diverse. That requires all of us to treat one another with dignity and respect and create an environment that is welcoming to everyone by our words and our actions.

In addition to providing feedback on the diversity plan, I would also like to extend an invitation to any PSU student, faculty or staff member who would like to become a member of one of our subcommittees or the Diversity
Action Council.

Sincerely,

Jilma Meneses

Chief Diversity Officer

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