Senate Document Number 5299S

Date of Senate Approval 5/06/99

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Statement of Faculty Senate Action:

IDC 5: UPC Response to Minority Affairs Commission Proposal

UPC has discussed the "Minority Affairs Commission Proposals for Campus Diversity" and wishes to express the strongest possible, unanimous support of the overall goals of the proposal. We also support the concepts implied in the three separate proposals. That is, UPC urges UNCA to begin working immediately toward accomplishing the following recommendations of the Minority Affairs Commission: 1) Establish an Office of Minority and Diversity Affairs, 2) Develop a Comprehensive strategic plan for diversity, and 3) Increase the number of competitive and need-based scholarships to help recruit a student body to UNCA which more accurately reflects the current demographics of North Carolina.

1) UPC recommends, specifically, that UNCA begin to search for a Director of the Office of Minority and Diversity Affairs immediately and that sufficient funds be earmarked for a salary for that position. Toward that end, Academic Affairs should consult directly with the Minority Affairs Commission as soon as possible to write a position description in order to issue a call for applicants in all appropriate forums. UPC feels that it is important that the person hired be an intellectual peer and colleague of the faculty. We recommend that the person hired have graduate academic qualifications in a traditional liberal arts discipline and that he or she may teach one or two classes a year, either in the First-Year-Experience, Humanities or other interdisciplinary programs. Once hired, the Director will take the leading role for development and coordination of all diversity issues. UPC endorses the concept that the director have broad and primary responsibility for those diversity efforts--with a particular focus on increasing the numbers of African American students, faculty, and staff on UNCA's campus--but believes that those efforts are also the responsibility of all existing administrators, particularly those in Academic Affairs, Students Affairs, Enrollment Services, and Development. However, the Office of Minority and Diversity Affairs will be central to communication among various diversity efforts that are otherwise fragmented. This office is integral to making the campus an intentional environment relative to learning through diversity. UPC recommends, therefore, that the Director of the Office of Minority and Diversity Affairs be a legitimate and regular participant in meetings of Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, Enrollment Services, Business, Development, Human Resources, and other relevant UNCA divisions. UPC recommends further that the Director be a full member of the administrative cabinet and that he or she report directly to the Chancellor.

In addition, as UPC reviews the strategic plan for UNCA this spring, careful consideration will be paid to integrating concerns for diversity in all appropriate areas. In particular, we will attempt to ensure that sufficient funds are allocated to fund an office, administrative support, and a budget adequate to the first year of operation for the Office of Minority and Diversity Affairs. We assume that budget will evolve as the mission of the Office develops over time.

2) Once the Director of the Office of Minority and Diversity Affairs has been hired, he or she will begin working with all appropriate UNCA divisions to develop a comprehensive strategic plan for diversity, which incorporates realistic goals, objectives, action items, and monitoring mechanisms. Toward that end, UPC recommends that the Director and the Minority Affairs Commission, with the support of the Chancellor (and Academic Affairs) should annually convene open forums where data on the evolving diversity plan and efforts are shared with senior administrators and the rest of the campus, including students. This plan will be fully integrated with the University's other long-range strategic development efforts. UPC recommends that the plan will take shape under the authority and leadership of the leading campus administrator, that is, the UNCA Chancellor. We further recommend that The Minority Affairs Commission will serve as an advisory board for the Director of Minority and Diversity Affairs.

3) UPC also endorses the concept of vigorously pursuing more scholarship money targeted to enhancing diversity, particularly to working toward a student body at UNCA which more accurately reflects the real demographics of the state of North Carolina. UPC urges the offices of Development and Enrollment Services to work aggressively together, and with the new Director when that person is hired, to develop scholarships, particularly from the private sector, which can both help increase diversity at UNCA and withstand any possible legal challenges.