The UDC’s comprehensive University Diversity Plan is beginning to be implemented at FPU
On June 8, 2020, in light of the murders of Ahmaud Arberry, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, as well as the subsequent protests, the Fresno Pacific University Diversity Committee (UDC), Staff Caucus Executive Committee and Faculty Senate Executive Committee released a statement through the FPU President’s email, announcing the ongoing creation of a “University Diversity Plan.” According to the statement, the Diversity Plan “is aimed at actively engaging anti-racist actions.” Spearheaded by the UDC, the Diversity Plan is connected to FPU’s broader Strategic Plan.
Assistant Professor of Biblical and Religious Studies Dr. Melanie Howard and Senior Admission Counselor Martha Fregoso are the acting co-chairs of the UDC and were interviewed about the details of the University Plan. According to Dr. Howard, “The University Diversity Plan is a document that casts a vision and sets a strategic direction for the diversity, equity and inclusion work of the university for the next five years.” The Diversity Plan was created in response to a perceived lack of comprehensive or systematic plans for supporting diversity, equity and inclusion at Fresno Pacific. Dr. Howard explained that “the University Diversity Plan is attempting to fill that hole by setting goals and creating a unified vision for diversity that can guide future work in this area.”
The Diversity Plan seeks to achieve six long-term goals, in the areas of environment, infrastructure, student success, employee success, instructional integration and partnerships. It describes each goal’s “potential success indicators” and details the “action steps” that will be taken to meet them. Both Dr. Howard and Fregoso described the Diversity Plan as “ambitious” but “not unattainable.”
The next immediate goal of the Diversity Plan is to turn its plans into actions, according to Dr. Howard. First, the UDC has formed an executive committee made up of ten individuals, called “Goal Shepherds,” who are responsible for one or more of the Diversity Plan’s six goals. The Goal Shepherds will recruit other individuals from the UDC in order to create sub-committees. Fregoso added that the Goal Shepherds will be responsible for monitoring the progress of the sub-committees and reporting or establishing the necessary support to ensure each achieves its success indicator. Dr. Howard explained that the sub-committees will be responsible for implementing the action steps described in the Diversity Plan.
Students and the larger community might have already begun to see the UDC’s action steps impacting their FPU experience. According to Fregoso, “These recent action steps or activities include, but are not limited to, 1.) the ‘Department Reading Groups’ for Ijeoma Oluo’s So You Want to Talk about Race, 2.) the recent invitation to participate in the Undocu-Ally trainings for faculty and staff, 3.) the newly formed affinity groups 4.) . . . regular listening sessions with staff, faculty, students, and governing bodies to assess needs and areas for improvement, and 5.) the creation of a bias incident report system.”
Both Dr. Howard and Fregoso acknowledged the need to and expressed anticipation for partnering with individuals across campus to bring the Diversity Plan to fruition. Dr. Howard stated: “The success of this historic and comprehensive plan requires the support of a wide array of individuals across campus. There is a place for everyone in making this plan a success, and we look forward to partnering with students, faculty, staff, administrators, and community partners in helping to take this plan from being a dream to being a reality.” In similar spirit, Fregoso stated: “We recognize that the work of diversity, equity and inclusion cannot be done alone. Therefore, we look forward to partnering with many individuals across campus to make FPU a more vibrant community.”
The Diversity Plan is available for viewing or downloading as a PDF document on the Diversity Plan and Initiatives page of FPU’s website.
Author: Kassandra Klein | Copy Editor