On March 15, the first State of the Union was held. During the State of the Union, departments highlighted some of their Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion initiatives. Students had the opportunity to give feedback to departments in-person or through Qualtrics. The State of the Union event aims to increase transparency, communication, accountability, and rapport between departments and students. Found below, you can find some of the initiatives that were presented. This list is not all comprehensive of the initiatives that departments are working on, but it includes what was presented during the State of the Union.
A. Ray Olpin Union Administration
The Union values diversity and promotes a safe and welcoming atmosphere where all students are inspired to realize their potential. The Union is continually working on equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) initiatives, and this web page is where we will share in-progress, future, and completed initiatives.
- Braille Business Cards & Preferred Pronouns in Email Signature
- The Union has added braille to its business cards to be more inclusive for our visually impaired guests: Name, Number, Email.
- Link to Pronoun Information: Pronouns are one of the ways we portray our identities. To be more inclusive, our staff will share our preferred pronouns in our email signatures
- To provide co-curricular opportunities for professional and leadership development, the Union will offer semester-long fellowships with intentional learning outcomes. Fellows will engage closely with Union Area Departments to develop and incorporate their learning outcomes to accomplish the mission of the Union.
- The Union Fellowships offers a fellowship that collaborate closely with the Union Administration to offer various opportunities for professional development, experiential learning, leadership skills, and introduction to student affairs.
- The Union offers semester-long fellowships. Fellows receive various opportunities for professional development, experiential learning, leadership skills, and introduction to the student affairs division.
- Fellowships do NOT require a Social Security Number in order to offer these opportunities to more students on campus.
- Union Fellows receive a scholarship for their participation in the program.
- Union Fellowships are renewable.
Art Committee: An art committee has been formed that, among other responsibilities, will review current art in the building and select new art representing a diverse range of backgrounds and identities. This art committee is to add at least two new pieces every year.
- The art committee will be made up mostly of students.
- The art committee will decide where any art is put in the Union
- If any student leaders would like to get involved, please reach out to AJanovak@union.utah.edu
- EDI Advertising for departments housed in the Union and Student Affairs Departments
State of the Unions
- Recurring events to offer the opportunity for students to learn about EDI initiatives from each Union department.
- Union departments will each have the opportunity to give a 3-7 minute speech to inform students about their current EDI initiatives.
- Students will be able to give live feedback to each department after each presentation. Students will also have the opportunity to submit feedback via Qualtrics. All feedback will be sent to the departments.
- We have also created a tab on our website to be able to see the progress, completion, and implementation of feedback.
Staff Trainings: The A. Ray Olpin Union full-time staff will attend at least one training or educational session monthly with an emphasis on EDI.
- Upon attending training, employees will have an open conversation on the session they attended at the next staff meeting.
- This conversation is to be the first agenda item of that meeting.
The A. Ray Olpin Union also wants to emphasize the importance of language and communication in creating an inclusive environment that does not perpetuate racism. So, a big focus on educational components will be learning about stereotypes, microaggression, microinvalidations, microinsults, and the importance of why we need to be cognitive of them. Anonymous Survey
- Student employees and/or staff can voice their concerns or if they experience any racism or incidents of bias in the Union through an anonymous Qualtrics form that is located in all the teams chat.
- Any incidents of bias or racism submitted to the Qualtrics form will be acknowledged, and a plan to deliberately address them will be made.
- The Union will also host one focus group a semester to gauge the culture of the Union and the perception that student employees and fellows hold toward it.
Scholarship Program: The A. Ray Olpin is committed to awarding money to underrepresented students to help combat the systematic racism and barriers that have been in place in higher education in the attainment of a college degree to historically marginalized students.
- Union Development will track demographic information about scholarship recipients to assess the portion of scholarships awarded to historically underrepresented populations.
Programming Tailored to Racial Diverse Students
The Union Programming Council will host events throughout the semester that are tailored* to racially diverse students to cultivate the inclusive enviroment we aspire for the Union to be.
- The Union Programming Council will review its marketing strategies to ensure individuals from all over campus hear about their events.
- *All Union Programming Council events are open to all students
Dress Code Policies
- The A. Ray Olpin Union will re-evaluate its dress policies by area and get input from all its student and staff employees to create a dress code that is agreed upon by all. By doing this, we are removing institutional stigmas of what is considered “professional.”
- The dress policies are to be reviewed every summer and agreed upon by full-time and part-time employees before or during staff day (Friday before the semester starts).
ASUU/Student Leadership & Involvement
Updates on SLI EDI Action Plan (This is not a comprehensive list of SLI’s EDI Action plan, but a few highlights of major accomplishments and progress made.)
- GOAL: Increase education, awareness and improve practices surrounding celebrations relating to affinity groups, as well as support for all religions and cultural holidays.Update:
- As a staff, we regularly educate ourselves and one another on months of celebration and days/weeks honoring affinity groups (i.e. Black History Month, Pride Month, etc.). In addition, we include education and conversation on all religious holidays and cultural events as they occur. In practice, this means we have a shared calendar with “Religious and Cultural Holidays”, that we rely on to discuss during our weekly team meetings. The impact this has on our team and our students is that we bring a level of awareness and accommodation so that students and staff feel supported in being their authentic selves in our department. A recent example of student impact is that one of our staff members reminded students that Ramadan was occurring during their large student-led event. The staff member outlined ideas such as providing a prayer room at the event and serving food after sun-down so that students who celebrate Ramadan could participate after their fasting occurred. SLI has tried to expand this type of awareness to peers in Student Affairs and across campus by way of the “Campus Programs” working group, and integration of the “Religious and Cultural Holidays” into that shared calendar as well.
- GOAL: Increase education, awareness and improve practices surrounding celebrations relating to affinity groups, as well as support for all religions and cultural holidays.Update:
- GOAL: SLI aims to reach out specifically to student organizations that serve students impacted by systemic oppression to get feedback on resources and training for RSOs.Update:
- Students in the RSO community have been given the opportunity to give feedback formally or anonymously through a bi-annual survey (last survey went out in Summer 2021). We will continue to seek feedback from student organizations annually as we recognize that addressing system oppression is ongoing work.
- GOAL: Social Justice training(s) for Recognized Student Organizations
- Online Training development began in Summer 2021 in collaboration with ELP Graduate Intern. Training is module based, online, and optional for RSO’s. Goal date for publishing this training is Summer 2023.
- Spring 2023, In collaboration with Hillel for Utah (Jewish Student Association on Campus), SLI co-hosted an in-person workshop titled, “The Impact of Anti-Semitism”. This educational training was open to RSO’s, Fraternities and Sororities, Bennion Center students, and student leaders in HRE and Campus Recreation. In addition, SLI helped facilitate an additional training as part of the Day of Collective Action.
- GOAL: Professional development plans for staff should always include at least one competency that is affiliated with multiculturalism, inclusion, diversity, or social justice.Update:
- Professional Development plans are updated once a year in UUPM. Supervisors in SLI work to ensure that each person works on their own development in this way regularly.
- GOAL: As a team, SLI Professional staff should read & discuss one social justice themed article, once a month.Update:
- This is occurring regularly and has been our practice since January 2021.
Basic Needs Collective
Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Antiracism (IDEA) PlanVision:
- Inclusive, healthy, resilient, and just communities
- Inspire and mobilize people to strengthen communities through learning, scholarship, & advocacy.
- Hope. Integrity. Collaboration. Action.
- “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” -Lilla Watson
- The Lowell Bennion Center for Community Engagement commits to building spaces and programming that are inclusive of all identities, including race, gender, sexuality/asexuality, age, class, citizenship status, ability/disability, indigeneity, language, etc.—with a primary focus on antiracism, equity, and justice. We recognize the intersectionality of race and other identities. We assert that by building spaces and programming through an antiracist lens, and in recognition that identities intersect, we will create a culture of solidarity and liberty for all who work with us to build inclusive, healthy, resilient, and just communities. We commit to a shared accountability with our staff, faculty, students, campus, and community partners to create an antiracist, inclusive, and equitable culture for all identities and abilities within and beyond the walls of the Bennion Center.
- The purpose of this IDEA Plan is to create opportunities for systemic change in the Bennion Center’s culture that will center all programming, policies, and dialogue around an antiracist, equitable, and inclusive ethic. Guided by our mission of inspiring and mobilizing people to strengthen communities through learning, scholarship, and advocacy, this IDEA plan pronounces and clarifies our antiracist stance, policies, and procedures to promote equity and justice for the people with whom we work. It provides a clear statement of our commitment to nurturing an antiracist and inclusive environment; to role-modeling antiracist, inclusive, and equitable community engagement; and to fostering the recruitment and retention of diverse staff, faculty and student leaders with equitable opportunities.
COMMITMENTS AND STRATEGIESIN PROGRESS:
- Commitment 1: Nurture an inclusive, equitable, and antiracist environment in the Bennion Center
- Strategy 1: Evaluate all current programs within the Bennion Center through an antiracist lens.
- Strategy 2: Require Bennion Center staff and student leaders to engage in antiracist trainings, reflections, and/or educational workshops that critically examine the complex and intersectional root causes of social issues and the role of community engagement in justice work.
- Strategy 3: Conscientiously pursue funding that supports equity and accessibility at the Bennion Center.
- Strategy 4: Prioritize community partnerships with entities that are committed to being antiracist allies in community engagement.
- Commit to being at the forefront of implementing antiracist, inclusive, and equitable community engagement, as well as being responsive to learning and adapting to best practices
- Strategy 1: Develop and implement a framework for antiracist community engagement for all Bennion Center endeavors.
- Strategy 2: We will serve as an ally to campus leaders supporting Black, Indigenous and People of Color.
- Ensure that the process for recruitment and retention of staff and student leaders is transparent and provides equitable opportunities for hiring, advancement, and compensation
- Strategy 1: Review position descriptions and job postings, including student leader applications, to confirm that they are written through an antiracist lens and are accessible to a broad audience.
- Strategy 2: Evaluate the hiring process and organizational priorities for staff positions through an antiracist lens.
- Strategy 3: Create emotionally brave, accountable spaces for honest dialogue and critical feedback centered on growth, development, and retention among staff.
- Strategy 4: Create a transparent process for evaluating staff retention, equity in salary, and access to advancement through an explicitly antiracist and intersectional lens.
Center for Child Care & Family Resources
Center for Disability and Access
IN PROGRESS: Build Community
- Provide opportunities for students to interact with other students
- Provide opportunities to for students to develop natural supports, develop supportive therapeutic relationship with advisors in order to address access concerns and resources needed.
- Establish a peer mentoring program
- Partner with campus and community resources to strengthen service provision and access for students
- Analyze processes and policy to determine whether there are disparities and bias regarding access to heath services and documentation
- Provide resources in obtaining documentation, receiving services, and treatment
Collaboration with Academic Affairs
- Educate faculty regarding accommodations by participating in department training and graduate teacher training
- Develop mandatory campus disability training
- Engaging relationships with deans and department chairs
- Consult with faculty regarding accommodation implementation
- Support faculty in using the accommodation computer system
- Provide information to the Teaching and Learning Program regarding accommodations and support for students
- Disseminate surveys regarding student experience
- Use data to improve, design, and review the services to students with disabilities
- Establish benchmarks for retention and student support
- We will be presenting the key programs that CESB has including our new Continuous Engagement Programming, Cohort Programs, Embedded Mental Health Specialists and Student Organizations.
Dean of Students
IN PROGRESS:Student Support
- Behavioral coaching
- Connection to on and off-campus resources (e.g., UCC, VSAs, etc.)
- Awareness of community resources
- Navigate proper University policy and procedures
- Student/Student conflict resolution
- Respondent support
- Community standards and processes for adjudication
- Policy 6-400 (Student Code of Rights & Responsibilities)
- Classroom rights, due process, freedom from discrimination, freedom of association, assembly, expression, press, etc.
- Students join an academic community committed to basic & broadly shared ethical principles and concepts of civility. Integrity, autonomy, justice, respect and responsibility
- Main responsibility = not to violate the rights of others in the community
- Disruption/obstruction to teaching, etc.
- Physical or verbal assault, threats, etc.
- Attempted or actual theft or damage to property
- Sale or distribution of faculty work for financial gain
- Unauthorized use/entry of property, equipment, etc.
- Unauthorized possession of dangerous weapon, etc.
- Use, possession or distribution of controlled substance or alcohol
- Violation of U policies, rules and state/national laws
Student Academic Performance
- Meet the academic requirements of courses and programs
Student Academic Conduct
- Includes, but is not limited to, cheating, misrepresenting one’s work, inappropriately collaborating, plagiarism, and fabrication or falsification of information, as defined further below. It also includes facilitating academic misconduct by intentionally helping or attempting to help another to commit an act of academic misconduct.
Student Professional & Ethical ConductStudent RecordsStudent Referrals
- Contact the Office of the Dean of Students
- Provide available information
- Suggest a remedy to restore any harm that has been done
- Participate in hearing if necessary
- Visionary Scholars Program
- Life After College
- Program Professional
- Development and Experiential Opportunities
Financial Wellness Center
- Financial Wellness Center has participated in a Financial Wellness Survey to understand the needs facing different populations of students. These survey results will help direct initiatives and resources to address the pressing issues facing our diverse student community. Financial Wellness Center and The University of Utah will participate in this survey every other year.
- Financial Wellness Center regularly partners with different student organizations to bring tailored financial education to different student populations taking into consideration the background, military connection, culture, gender, and socioeconomic status of the student populations.
- Financial Wellness Center staff will continue to offer one on one financial counseling sessions tailored to the individual client. Continued education, including Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training, offered by the AFCPE will be incorporated into the full-time staff training and student peer mentor training.
- Financial Wellness Center will create marketing materials and events that are culturally relevant and speak to the experiences of people of color and other underserved communities. This will include using language and imagery that resonates with diverse audiences and providing case studies and examples that are relatable and relevant to their lives.
- Financial Wellness Center will ensure all staff are actively involved in EDI and anti-racist practices and training to better serve the University of Utah’s diverse student body.
First Star/Impact Scholars
First-Gen Access Office
Fraternity & Sorority Life
Graduate School Diversity Office
For Prospective Students & Departments:
- Acceptance Day
- HBCU Collaborations
For Current Students:
- Assessment plan and program improvement
- Qualitative evaluation of monthly BIPOC Socials
- Interest meetings for 23-24 GDO Executive Student Council
- Dissertation Support Group
- Revised Guide is complete!
- Community building initiatives through the Diversity Office
- Funding support (fellowships, scholarships, travel, external)
- University advocates and roles
- University writing resources (and success with thesis/dissertation)
- Professional development resources
- Mental health resources and events
- BIPOC restaurants and businesses in Salt Lake City & UT
- Recommended resources (books, podcasts, social media, etc.)
International Students & Scholar Services
IN PROGRESS: Learning Abroad Scholarships
- Redistributed scholarship funding so more funding is going towards the Financial Need Scholarship and Diversity Scholarship
- Created a new scholarship called the Global Discovery Scholarship, which would cover all or at least majority of program costs
- Changed our application deadlines so have an early and regular deadline for each term. This allows students to apply for scholarships before they need to commit to a program so they know in advance if they will have funding for a program
Diversity Abroad Includifi
- Working with Diversity Abroad to possibly integrate Includifi Pathway Courses into advising and pre-departure support
- Pathway Courses are designed to discuss topics relevant to students when thinking about studying abroad or coming to the U.S. as an international student. For example, there are courses on “Approaches to Navigating Microaggressions While Abroad”, “Being a Woman Abroad”, “Being a Member of the LGBTQIA+ Community Abroad” and for ISSS “Bringing Your Diversity to the U.S.”, “Managing Mental Health as an International Student” and “Success for BIPOC Students at Predominantly White Institutions”.
- Includifi also has many different features, one of which is creating Affinity Groups where students can connect and share experiences. For example, an Affinity Group focused on black students who have studied abroad or who are thinking about studying abroad. These can be linked with different support offices on campus or exist as a forum for students.
ISSS Global Buddy Program
- Promotes friendship across cultures by matching international students with domestic students
Social & Networking Event
- These monthly gatherings will be opportunities for international students to act as leaders and experts to facilitate and share their home country and culture through fun and informal activities to the campus community
International Leadership Conference
- This conference will target international student & scholars, BIPOC students as well as domestic students especially those who have studied or lived abroad to provide a unique opportunity for peer engagement in a culturally diverse space
The American Classroom
- A series of workshops to support U faculty members to adopt methods and practices to meet international students where they are at and successfully integrate them into the American classroom settings. Presentation themes will include the advantage faculty members have to become a channel for global change through their teaching methods in the classroom.
LGBT Resource Center
Office for Inclusive Excellence
Student Development & Inclusion
IN PROGRESS: COVERAGE: As the campus storytellers, U Student Media aims to cover the diverse communities at the U of U accurately and respectfully. Our content should include the perspectives from people of all genders, people of color, people with disabilities and members of the LGBT+ community. We aspire to cover students of diverse backgrounds in their richness and complexity beyond narratives of discrimination and suffering.
- Integrate diversity and inclusion into training for student leaders.
- Use the SPJ Journalist’s Toolbox to guide training and coverage of race, gender, disability, immigration and other topics.
- Hold quarterly meetings with student leadership centered on diverse coverage. These meetings will be used to evaluate recent content and set goals for the upcoming months.
WORK CULTURE: U Student Media aims to create a working environment where diversity is valued and people of all backgrounds are safe and supported.
- All members of student media will be required to attend yearly trainings from the Title IX Office and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Office.
- Student media staff members will communicate regularly with departments on campus that advocate for underrepresented students to recruit contributors from diverse backgrounds. These departments include, but are not limited to, the American Indian Resource Center, Black Cultural Center, Center for Equity & Student Belonging, Dream Center, LGBT Resource Center and the Center for Disability & Access.
- Send an anonymous survey two times per year to all student contributors to monitor and address patterns of bias and discrimination.
DISTRIBUTION: U Student Media aims to make our content more accessible to all audience members.
- Improve accessibility for all audiences on our digital platforms
- Use descriptive captions and alt text on all images shared on our websites and social media platforms
- Use video captions on all videos shared on our websites and social media platforms
- Use CamelCase for hashtags in social media posts, which allows the words in hashtags to be read individually for those using screen readers.(https://www.harvard.edu/in-focus/the-accessible-world/social-media-accessibility-best-practices/)
- Use high color contrasts (at least 4.5:1) on all graphics shared on our website and social media platforms
U Card Office
Veteran’s Support Center
- Veteran Support Satellite Centers
- Scholarship Access to all Military-Connected Students
- Freshmen and Transfer Student Sponsorship
- Alumni to Student Mentorship
- Military Workshops
Women’s Resource Center
WRC Mission, Services, and Values: The Women’s Resource Center (WRC) supports student well-being and success through programs, counseling, training, and scholarships. We value justice, equity, community, accountability, and collaboration. Programming
- Coffee and Conversations and other programs
- Led by student interest
- Justice centered programming
- Fostering community
- EDI Campus Wide planning committees and events/Intersect 12
Scholarships and Support
- Holistic support for students beyond financial assistance
- Being responsible stewards of the funds donated to us
- Student support fund
Mental Health Services
- All WRC counseling services use a Feminist Multicultural Therapy (FMT) approach
- FMT training program for graduate students
- Support Groups
- Women of Color groups
- Healing Arts
- Taking Up Space
You can leave feedback for each department and their initiatives here: State of the Union Feedback