Faculty reworks inclusivity committee

by Katherine Burns / Beacon Staff • January 26, 2017

Faculty and staff discussed creating a committee dedicated to inclusive excellence, replacing an ad hoc committee on cultural competency––meant to be a temporary organization––at Tuesday’s faculty assembly meeting.

The ad hoc committee was originally created in response to student protests and aimed to increase cultural competency among staff. This new committee is intended to act as a more permanent replacement, working directly with Sylvia Spears, vice president of diversity and inclusion, according to the draft proposal.

Professors referenced other committees and organizations that have filled this void in the past and offered suggestions on how this committee could emulate those. Liberal arts professor Claire Andrade-Watkins said it could be beneficial to have representation from Emerson’s library in addition to departmental representation.

Lucie Pereira, a junior writing, literature, and publishing major, spoke on behalf of the student organization Protesting Oppression With Educational Reform. Pereira, the co-chair of the organization, said POWER seeks to maintain a relationship with the new committee once it is formed and hopes that its structure remains similar to that of the existing ad hoc committee.

Sylvia Spears said the committee will have to be thoughtful about representation and membership, especially with students.

“The existing council gets their current representatives through [the Student Government Association],” Spears said. “But I think it would make sense to include POWER representatives.”

This new committee did not go to a vote, but is expected to at the February faculty assembly after receiving more feedback, according to an email from Robert Colby, the chair of the faculty council.

Editor-in-chief Laura King, a close friend of Pereira’s, did not contribute to this article.