Ron Scott, associate vice president for Institutional Diversity proposed changes to the current university multi-cultural council that will be reviewed by the University Senate.
The changes proposed at the Sept. 12 University Senate meeting include placing the council under administrative control instead of Senate control and changing the name to the Council on Diversity and Inclusion (CODI).
“I think the whole notion of diversity and inclusion will bring in more groups than simply the Multicultural Council does. I think there will be an expansion of membership across campus,” Scott said.
Scott summarized what the proposal states the Council’s job is and will be.
“It will (still) look at long range-planning and look at trends for diversity,” Scott said. “It will (continue to) help with university communication about diversity (and) it will probably have sub-committees that will look at things like retention, climate, curriculum, those kind of things that impact the overall sense of inclusion on campus.”
In the proposal it says, “Change in composition of the membership of the committee and provide more direct control in terms of appointment and subsequent accountability of membership.”
Despite all the changes the proposal states, Scott said the most crucial one is whether or not the Council should be a subcommittee of the senate or not.
“I think the idea is to take it back to its original impact and to bring it back as an independent (entity),” Scott said. “The biggest change being whether or not it’s a subcommittee of the senate or not. I think for many that’s a serious question.”
In regards to Scott’s proposal, Madelyn Detloff, program director of the Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies Department, said she supports all changes in the proposal except making it an independent council.
“It is a standing committee of senate right now and there are only a few and they’re very important,” Detloff said. “The Multicultural Council is one of them, and for the sake of longevity, it should (remain that way).”
However, Detloff does think the change in composition of the committee would be beneficial, provided the term served by its members was lengthened to a three-year term.
“I think the changes in the composition of the committee would be helpful,” she said. “But my position is to lengthen the terms to three years. It’s really just a little glitch in the language that could prove to be potentially dangerous and so we should get rid of the glitch.”
Another problem Detloff has with the proposal is that if the committee is independent, it will be run solely by the administration.
“It’s an elected body and once that committee no longer becomes a standing a committee of the senate it could be changed at the will of the administration,” she said.
Detloff said administration changes frequently and, “We want to make sure that the committee has longevity.”
Some students are supportive of the changes as long as they remain beneficial to everyone.
“As long as the changes are beneficial, I would say it’s a good idea,” sophomore Leah Hastedt said. “But if keeping it the way it is now is more beneficial to both students and faculty, then I would support that.”