Caucus Concerns

 Uncategorized
Dec 102003
 
Authors: Ben Bleckley

CSU’s Multi-Ethnic Faculty and Staff Caucus has concerns

regarding diversity on campus.

The caucus drafted its list of 16 concerns and presented them to

President Larry Penley in October of this year.

“We asked for comments, suggestions, concerns, issues that

impact people, (things) which were important enough that we should

take them to the president,” said Rajinder Ranu, chair of the

caucus.

There was a list of eight “over-arching” concerns and then a

handful that were specifically from one of three groups of

employees: faculty, staff and administration.

“We essentially (said) that we wanted three main issues from

each group instead of a whole long list,” Ranu said.

Ranu emphasized this wasn’t complaining nor are the members

aggressive about the list.

“While there are issues there, we want to make sure we make a

positive contribution,” he said.

The complete list of concerns presented by the caucus can be

found online at

http://www.admin.colostate.edu/caucus. Some items on the list

are criticized as being too subjective.

“The president did have some concern that there wasn’t a lot to

substantiate what they were saying. It was very anecdotal,” said

Cara Neth, assistant to the president.

Ranu, however, argued that there is evidence.

A Campus Climate survey distributed to all CSU employees this

year shows a greater percentage of employees said there are not

enough diversity programs on campus compared to past years. The

2000 survey had 25 percent saying there are not enough programs,

and this year’s survey had 30 percent.

Conversely, the percentage of employees saying there are too

many diversity programs dropped. In 2000, 25 percent said there

were too many diversity programs and this year 19 percent said

there are too many. Survey results can be found online at

http://www.provost.colostate.edu/index.asp?url=dcc.

But not all of the caucus’s concerns can be dealt with so

broadly.

One concern, for example, it that the “Diversity Coordinating

Committee (DCC) does not appear to be effective,” according to the

caucus concern list.

The DCC consists of members from the university and university

diversity programs. The Center for Applied Studies in American

Ethnicity, the Office of Women’s Programs and Studies and the

Office of Equal Opportunity, among others, are represented.

“You can look at almost any committee, in any organization and

they’ll have their faults,” Neth said. “This is the structure that

we have, and I think it’s a structure that has the potential to

move things forward. Is it the structure for the long-term? The

institution is going to decide that.”

Ranu was pleased with the DCC’s 2002 Diversity Summit. The

Multi-Ethnic Faculty and Staff Caucus raised some of the same

issues it developed at the summit.

Ranu was hesitant to outline negative aspects of the DCC

specifically out of fear of offending members but did say that

there is “concern that the DCC functioning requires some sort of

improvement.”

Neth still contests that the concerns lack evidence.

“Much of what the caucus has expressed is their opinions, and

everyone is entitled to have their opinions,” Neth said. “What

we’re trying to look at is what information is supported by

data.”

Still, Penley will be meeting with the caucus toward the end of

January to address its concerns.

“This is all about equal access, equal opportunity,” Ranu said.

“It’s not to exclude but to include.”

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