Posted May 24, 2017 by Cooper Point Journal in Community

New Positions Aim for Equity and Diversity

Hey guys and welcome to POC Talk, this issue we’re talking about potential Vice President and Provost of Equity and Inclusion candidates. The Vice Provost of Equity and Inclusion will serve as chair for the Equity and Inclusion Council, which was created by George Bridges in 2016 and is responsible for the Strategic Equity Plan and the allotment of the President’s Equity Fund, which provides  grants to students, staff, and faculty for projects that promote equity. The hiring section of the Strategic Equity Plan were the center of a series of controversial emails that I am sure we are all by now familiar with.

There are three candidates with three separate presentations and student forums. The first presentation, that of Chassity Holliman-Douglas  will happen prior to this article’s publication, but we have included information about all three candidates.

Michael Benitez Jr’s presentation will take place Monday May 22 from 3:15-5 in the Recital hall with a student forum to follow from 5:30 to 6:15 in CAB 301. John P. Hopkin’s presentation will take place Wednesday May 24 from 1:15-3 with the student forum taking place from 5-5:45 in LIB 1005.

I know we’re all very busy as this school year wraps up but  the future Vice Provost of Equity and Inclusion will play a big role in shaping what equity looks like on campus, so take some get to know these candidates, and either attend the student forums or send George Bridges an email with your thoughts. More information can be found on the Evergreen website.

The website indicated that “The position will advance an equity mindset in all college-wide initiatives, including strategic planning, budgeting, and resource allocation.” and It is important for those of us who care about equity to go to these meeting and see who will be incharge of equity at this school for the foreseeable future.

Here is an overview of the three candidates;

Chassity Holliman Douglas

Doctorate of Education, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY  Dissertation Title: The Impact of Intergroup Dialogue on the Cultural Sensibility Outcomes of Health Profession Students

“As a Diversity Educator, I develop, coordinate, and deliver cultural competency training for students, faculty, and staff across campus as a part of the President’s Institution-wide Unconscious Bias Training Initiative.”

“My philosophy on leading institutional change toward equity and inclusion involves an intentional focus on cultivating a learning centered environment. Effective change management requires a commitment to ongoing learning at all levels and within all groups of stakeholders. It is common for colleges and universities to express commitment to creating and maintaining student-centered environments, but my philosophy is steeped in the belief that creating more equitable outcomes across the institution, requires a deliberate focus on learning that encompasses the continued development of all students, faculty, and staff. By aligning our goals with becoming learning centered, we’re acknowledging that change cannot and should not only be addressed with our students. Sustainable change involves the ongoing learning, engagement, and development of our faculty and staff alike.”

Her presentation went forward as planned, but in light of the recent events discussed in which Black students were called for questioning by Police Services, alledging harrasment, students gathered to discuss both over arching trends in rasism and anti-Black behavior at Evergreen and the specific events in question.The candidate Chassity Douglass was warned by many Black students and other students of color that the administration would do its utmost to make her job difficult. Several people expressed worry for her as Black woman who may be coming into this institution.

Michael Benitez Jr

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Concentration: Social Justice in Higher Education, School of Education, College of Human Sciences. Iowa State University. 2015 Dissertation Topic: Latin@ identity politics in higher education: Unveiling representations of whiteness in Latin@ culture.

“I believe… [in] the need to be deliberate and strategic about seeking diversity in faculty, students and staff in order to create a diverse presence necessary for rigorous intellectual exchange, teaching, and learning. Further, having a diverse presence provides opportunities for all students to see themselves reflected in in the campus community. “

“The second is the salient consideration of critical research, contextual issues, and diverse voices and perspectives as central to guiding and informing institutional policy and praxis. This includes weaving into the praxis, campus wide and culturally relevant processes that shepherd full participation of its campus members with particularity towards students, in courageous dialogues necessary to develop intercultural competencies, communication, and learning”

“Staff and faculty members at any given institution of higher education must exemplify what the institution puts forward as its mission and core values, in practice, so that all students will endorse and adopt through their gaze and learning, an ethos of equity and inclusion, critical to their success.”

John P. Hopkins Ph.D.

Social and Cultural Foundations of Education, University of Washington, Seattle, 2015 Dissertation: Conversations That Matter: Decolonizing the Inclusive Discourse of American Indian Education Reform

“Institutional change requires more than recognizing our individual and group differences. We need to become explicitly and intentionally anti-racist and anti-oppressive. That is, we need to deepen our practice of diversity by promoting social justice in all aspects of institutional life. A social justice approach promotes equity to achieve inclusion. It recognises that our student, faculty, and staff exist within a structural hierarchy, as agents…and targets within an oppressive social and political, and economic system”

“An essential skill that I bring to promoting institutional change is the ability to facilitate critical dialogue with those whose beliefs and understandings of inclusion, equity, and social justice differ in significant ways…. On my account, inclusion is not simply related to opening doors to diverse persons and groups. rather, inclusion requires that we each commit to grappling with complex and challenging ideas with each other where we are positioned in society.”

POC Talk is a space to focus on the unique experiences people of color face at Evergreen and in Olympia. It is written by Evergreen Student of Color in an effort to specifically discuss POC issues. We want to center and boost POC voices so if you have something to add you can submit your questions, comments, concerns, or ideas for what you would like POC Talk to cover to