The Joint Task Force on Racism at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina, was composed of faculty, staff, and students. The task force recently issued a series of recommendations to improve the climate for diversity and inclusion on campus.
Western Carolina University enrolls just under 9,000 undergraduate students and about 1,500 graduate students. African Americans make up 6 percent of the undergraduate student body.
The eight recommendations are:
- Clarify the university stance on diversity and inclusion and strengthen the integration of this stance into campus culture.
- Jointly create a campus doctrine/social contract of respect for all campus members.
- Improve communication about how campus concerns related to diversity and inclusion are being addressed. “
- Compile campus diversity-related information.
- Regularly conduct formal assessments of campus race/ethnicity equity.
- Create a standing university-level committee to address campus issues related to race/ethnicity.
- Provide adequate support for the chief diversity officer.
- Increase resources for diversity training and education opportunities.
At a forum where the recommendations were announced, David O. Belcher, chancellor of Western Carolina University, stated that “I want everyone to hear this clearly – the members of my senior team and I are committed to WCU as a vibrant, inclusive and diverse institution. We value strongly the notion that diversity in all its forms makes for a strong university and a strong nation. Each person, department and division on this campus can make a difference in making WCU a welcoming place for all people.”