President’s Task Force on Diversity Education Announces Final Report, Open Forums

2013-LOC-Academic-0924-039GRCAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Jan. 14, 2016 – The President’s Task Force on Diversity Education has announced its final report and recommendations after a year of meetings, study and dialogue at Southeast Missouri State University.

The full report from the task force is available on the University diversity website at http://semo.edu/diversity/.

Dr. Carlos Vargas, president of Southeast Missouri State University, said he is proud of the work of the 34-person task force, which is comprised of students, faculty and staff.

“Discussing perceptions, differences and stereotypes is important to promoting dialogue and raising the cultural competencies of everyone associated with Southeast,” Vargas said. “The Task Force has made tremendous strides in engaging our campus community and promoting inclusion in all aspects of our campus. I look forward to sharing their recommendations and continuing to strengthen a diverse and welcoming campus climate.”

The final report and recommendations were presented to Southeast’s Administrative Council, a representative body of the university’s faculty, staff and students, last month. The council discussed prioritization of the recommendations and endorsed the report.

Two open forums are scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 27, to share the report with the University community. The first forum is set for noon-1:30 p.m. in Academic Auditorium and the second is 5:30-7 p.m. in Glenn Auditorium in Dempster Hall. Students, faculty, staff, and community members are invited to attend.

Vargas and members of the Task Force will be on hand to discuss the report. Attendees are invited to provide feedback on the report as well as suggestions for its implementation.

A group of students laid the groundwork for the formation of the President’s Task Force on Diversity Education last spring, meeting with several groups on campus, including the Student Government Association, the Department of Public Safety and University staff members. These meetings followed a peaceful protest held in November 2014 at Southeast after a grand jury decision not to indict a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer.

The Task Force, led by Co-Chairs Dr. Debbie Below, vice president for enrollment management and student success and dean of students, and Dr. Morris Jenkins, dean of the College of Health and Human Services, was charged with discussing the underlying issues that led to the protests in Ferguson and that have continued nationwide; and to make recommendations regarding ways to improve diversity education at Southeast.

For more information about the Task Force, visit http://semagazine.wpengine.com/2015/12/difficult-dialogue/ or http://www.semo.edu/diversity/.