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March 4, 2002

PCSM presents diversity study proposal to Chace

By Stephanie Sonnenfeld


The President’s Commission on the Status of Minorities (PCSM) presented its diversity study proposal to President Bill Chace at its Feb. 25 meeting.

The proposal, which has been a year in the making, looks to examine the University’s diversity climate and make recommendations for improving and sustaining diversity in Emory’s academic and social environments.

"A diversity program will ask hard questions about what we mean by education, how we teach, which people should be included as students and teachers, and what ultimately we are accomplishing in our colleges and universities," the proposal reads.

Among those questions asked are:
• Is Emory’s campus diverse?
• Do University policies embrace diversity?
• Are the President’s Commissions effective in advising and informing on diversity issues?
• Do current administrative structures and policies enhance or inhibit diversity?
• Can the Equal Opportunity Programs (EOP) Office be better positioned and empowered to support the goals of diversity—beyond its current responsibilities?
• How is Emory’s commitment to diversity reflected in its partnerships and collaborations in the Atlanta community?

The proposal recommends the creation of a committee of faculty, students, staff and administrators, appointed by the president, to oversee the diversity study. ”Members of the committee should reflect the range of diversity in our community,” the proposal states. “Deans, department chairs and supervisors must allow participants to dedicate an identifiable portion of their Emory time to this project.”

Chace said he received the proposal just prior to the meeting and had not thoroughly examined it. He said he was concerned that PCSM members don’t see their role as an effective advisory group. If PCSM does believe this, he said, why would it charge another group with the study?

“I’m committed to diversity,” Chace said, but admitted he was worried the proposed task at hand would prove mammoth. He added that he will take a closer look at the proposal.

Chair Brenda Seiton said the group must decide how to re-approach the study, based on Chace’s comments.

Members agreed it was a large proposal and it needed to be approached systematically, as suggested by Tariq Shakoor.

A main concern of members was they didn’t want the study’s findings to be shelved. Nagueyalti Warren said Chace could help by providing people with research expertise. “It doesn’t mean we’re not doing [the study]; it means we need other help,” she said.

Vice President for Equal Opportunity Programs Bob Etheridge supported Shakoor’s suggestions and said the commission could consider delegating its research to doctoral students whose interests lie in minorities and higher education.

By the end of the meeting, the group agreed to retool its proposal for Chace.

In other business, Seiton said Warren will be the PCSM’s new chair. New member recruitment will begin next month, with openings for faculty, staff and students. Ann Starks said letters had been mailed to Emory’s minority faculty regarding the PCSM’s monetary awards for professional development.

PCSM’s next meeting is Tuesday, March 26, in 400 Administration at 3 p.m.


If you have a question or concern for PCSM, e-mail Brenda Seiton at