Diversity Action Council
March 28, 2006
Evergreen Valley College Community,
We, the new Diversity Action Council (DAC) members want to give the college an update concerning our activities. As many of you know, several changes have been made with the committee. These changes are:
- A new name (Diversity Action Council, rather than Diversity Advisory Committee);
- A broader and more empowered role and charge : To advise the president, as well as the rest of the college community, regarding “…matters of diversity, equity, social justice, and global human rights as they pertain to matters of the college and local community” (in the words of our president).
- New membership (representative of the campus community) composed of some previous DAC members, but mostly individuals new to DAC (including students) who expressed interest in and commitment to addressing the quality and inclusiveness of the campus environment and climate (see the list of DAC members below); and
- Two outside facilitators to work with DAC on an ongoing basis to serve, again in David’s words, as EVC’s “primary care consultant” to assist us with this important work.
Once established, DAC met twice during the Fall semester and then completed an all-day retreat, attended by all members, in January. Our plan is to initially address these matters within our small group of DAC members and then gradually share and spread what we learn and experience with the larger college community. DAC participants, assisted by our facilitators, have been working on the following tasks—all of which are “works in progress:”
- Constructing and utilizing an inclusive work culture that respects, values, and utilizes the cultural strengths, commonalities, and differences of all members.
- While building this work culture, we have also been determining ourcore values of respect, acceptance, understanding, and meaningful communication at EVC.
- Building multicultural awareness and communication skills that both flow out of and reinforce our culture and values.
- Determining our overall DAC mission,identifying broad goals that flow from the mission, and then devising and implementing specific activities to accomplish these goals.
Before we ended our retreat, we outlined some Next Steps to Take:
- Share what we have been discussing with the rest of the college—both individually and officially
- Reach agreement on DAC’s values;
- Finish our DAC mission statement;
- Encourage EVC staff and students to set guidelines for the conduct of various campus meetings and to consider adopting the guidelines developed in DAC (see list below).
- Try on new ideas, concepts, behaviors, etc. (before automatically rejecting them).
- Allow it to be OK for yourself and others to disagree (disagreement is a necessary part of accepting differences); however, it’s not OK to blame, shame, attack, or discount yourself or others.
- Practice self-focus by paying attention to what you’re feeling and thinking (by using “I” statements, etc.).
- Ask questions of yourself and others to check out your assumptions and understanding (instead of jumping to conclusions).
- Practice “both/and” thinking (instead of either/or, right/wrong, good/bad thinking) by allowing dichotomies, “opposites,” paradoxes, etc. to co-exist without having to compete for dominance.
- Participate fully by allowing yourself to be fully present in the moment.
- Take 100% responsibility for 100% of your needs 100% of the time.
- Maintain confidentiality concerning information of a personal nature (the story belongs to the teller).
- Realize that the intent of your message may differ greatly from the impact of the receiver (it is possible to have a negative impact despite the best intentions).
We, the members of DAC, are people with multiple perspectives and interests in the EVC campus community. We work to create a student-centered, equitable, cooperative, learning and working environment in which each individual is accepted, respected, and appreciated. We do this by working with the campus and the community to create positive solutions around diversity concerns by promoting and modeling healthy relationships and communications.
We, the members of DAC, endorse the following:
We honor diversity by:
- Respecting and embracing our multicultural community
- Encouraging each person to be authentic and show his/her true self
- Promoting the expression of differences of opinion and perspectives
We foster inclusiveness by:
- Embracing each person’s uniqueness
- Seeking out those who are unrepresented, underrepresented, or disenfranchised
- Encouraging everyone’s involvement in creating an optimal learning environment
We promote integrity by:
- Treating each other with dignity, respect, and compassion
- Being honest and open with one another
- Leading by example by pursuing our mission and persistently adhering to our values
We promote equity by:
- Advocating for fair representation of all the different groups on campus
- Practicing and sharing the skills and insights we have learned
- Speaking out and speaking up about issues of concern
If you have any questions, comments, or input for us, please contact any of our members. We invite your input, and we will do our best to keep you informed regarding our efforts and progress. Here’s to a more inclusive and more accepting EVC. Together we can make a difference!
EVC’s Diversity Action Council
Keith Aytch, Adrienne Burns, Mona Calhoun, Henry Gee, Idania Martinez, Lauren McKee, Carmen Medeiros, Elizabeth Nava, Elaine Ortiz-Kristich, Filomena Reyes, Karla Reyes, Viridiana Reyes, Robin Salak, Mark Sanchez, Soledad C. Santos, Francis Steindorf, Lana Hyeseong Strickland, Elizabeth Vasquez, and Rick Wagner
Ex Officio: David Wain Coon