Diversity committee urges school to build 'multicultural' space

Worcester State University’s Campus Climate Committee is urging the school to implement multicultural spaces, mandatory trainings, and other reforms to promote campus diversity.

According to a draft of the panel’s executive summary obtained by Campus Reform, the list of recommendations includes suggestions to create three campus committees, including a Bias Incident Team “that focuses solely on addressing the immediate needs of students when dealing with bias incidents and/or hate crimes.”

The draft also calls for the creation of a mandatory diversity training program for employees, as well as a “multicultural common space” that would serve “as a central location that fosters inclusion and innovative engagement” among students. 

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Alongside the latter catalogue of suggestions, the committee also advises the school to “conduct a content analysis of all courses, beginning with [Diversity Across the Curriculum] courses, in order to identify what is labeled as diversity, where diversity is taught, and what is identified as diversity,” as well as several new administrative positions that would focus on inclusion. 

According to The Telegram, the effort is part of the university’s “Five Points of Action” plan, which was spearheaded by the President Barry Maloney with the goal of making the school more inclusive.

The 11-page draft submitted to Maloney last month in preparation for the Board of Trustees meeting next week explains that the president “announced his Five-Point Plan of Action toward a more inclusive campus climate and stated that he would like to pursue a data-driven approach to evaluating WSU’s campus climate.”

The document also notes that the recommendations made by the Campus Climate Committee “should not be viewed as criticisms of the amazing work that already exists at Worcester State.”

“The Diversity Lecture Series, and numerous awareness week and month activities have existed for numerous years working to bring our students together,” the document continued. “This year’s addition of the Provost’s lecture series, as well as Safe Space training in April, should serve as an example of the continued commitment of the University to building an inclusive environment on campus.”

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A university spokesperson told Campus Reform that President Maloney “has told the campus that he will report back with a response to those recommendations before the end of this academic year.”

“Some things will take a long time and a lot of thinking on how we get there,” Maloney explained Monday, as reported by the Telegram. “Some things we’ll be able to do almost immediately. I don’t think (the committee’s report) is filled with things that aren’t achievable.”

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