ISU addresses diversity and inclusion concerns in “Advancing Inclusive Excellence” plan

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– Policies regarding diversity training, job security and minority student retention raised concerns for African Americans on ISU’s campus.

Chavez Phelps, chair of ISU’s Black Faculty and Staff Caucus said they’ve been discussing these concerns for quite some time.

“I’m on my fourth year here, but prior to coming here as a faculty member, I know these were ongoing issues that black faculty and staff were fighting for in terms of equity,” Phelps said. “They felt like they were being pushed out or not included in vital conversations regarding the health of the university. “

ISU’s administration created their advancing inclusive excellence plan to provide solutions to the group’s concerns.

The plan consists of four pillars, Instruction and Learning, Campus Environment, Awareness and Growth Initiatives.

They said policy change and implementing programs won’t happen overnight, but this is the first step.

“The important thing is that we keep the lines of communication open,” Phelps said. “The president, the provost and the president’s cabinet have been having ongoing conversations. I believe they have a good relationship so we’re going to continue the lines of communication and we’re going to have a voice and they’ll have a voice for what goes on with this plan.”

But Phelps said there are still some concerns about the plan’s effectiveness.

“We need to talk more about who is going to be responsible for implementing some of these action items and initiatives and how will we measure the progress and success of these initiatives,” he said. “Right now, it’s just on a sheet of paper, it’s a document. But how do we make it a living, breathing document that truly translates to creating equity.”

The university’s Council on Inclusive Excellence includes members of the Black Faculty and Staff Caucus. They plan to meet on Friday, Oct. 18 to discuss concerns and potential changes to the current plan.

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