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Council for Equity and Community will begin work of making Lehigh University a true reflection of social diversity

President Alice P. Gast announced in November the formation of a council to implement and sustain university-wide goals and initiatives for equity and community. The Council for Equity and Community (CEC) will report directly to President Gast, and will comprise 14 members of the campus community who have demonstrated commitment to diversity through research, teaching, work or service and will have a liaison from the Board of Trustees.

“Our goal in this initiative is to create an environment where we all work together, transcending racial, cultural, and other boundaries,” says Gast. “Our success in these efforts will lead us to a stronger community and a richer educational experience for all.”

The CEC is built on the foundation of the university’s diversity initiative and the University Diversity Leadership Committee. The CEC will oversee action groups with input from the larger university community. Nine members (three faculty, three staff and three students) will be elected to the committee. Five additional members (including co-chairs) will be appointed by Gast. Students will serve one- or two-year terms, and all others will serve three-year terms.

The action groups will address specific goals or combinations of goals with key implementation plans and time frames. In addition to realizing the goals identified by the final report of the UDLC, the Council will also expand on these initiatives by incorporating future measures to make “Lehigh a community whose members are transformed through meaningful experiences with one another.”

The initiatives include:

• enrichment of the curriculum through varied experiences and perspectives;
• increased recruitment and retention of diverse students, faculty and staff;
• examination of institutional policies and procedures to create a culture that promotes equal access and opportunity;
• fostering of a safe, equitable and respectful campus climate that is free from all forms of discrimination or harassment;
• and strengthening and expansion of working relationships with members of the larger community.

“As an institution committed to intellectual development it is our responsibility to challenge ourselves to understand the world as well as to create and nurture meaningful relationships with people from all walks of life,” says Gast. “This commitment must transcend the classroom, the laboratory, the office, the workshop and the residence. Our goal is to provide working and learning experiences that shape and broaden our views of the world, and inspire a commitment to the greater good.”

Nominations for the CEC will be accepted via a special Web site starting Jan. 28. The link, and more information, will be forthcoming.

Gast will also solicit nominations from the Faculty Steering Committee, the Employee Relations Advisory Committee, the Student Senate and the Graduate Student Senate. This slate of nominees will be finalized in mid-February, with elections held in late February.

For more information, visit the CEC’s Web site.

--Linda Harbrecht

Posted on Monday, January 21, 2008

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