Advancing Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Accessibility at Pacific University
The Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Accessibility was established in 2017 with Narce Rodriguez as the chief EDI officer. Since then, the OEDIA has helped Pacific evaluate priorities, establish protocols, advance professional development, directly support students and employees, and develop preliminary strategic plans.
In light of the events of May-June 2020, we recognize the importance of sharing the details of this work, though it is all a long-term work in progress. Additionally, we feel the drive to be in solidarity with those who are targets of this violence. We stand with the #BlackLivesMatters movement.
We recognize that institutions of higher education, including Pacific, have been complicit in advancing institutionalized racism for centuries. Our work did not just begin and it is nowhere near complete. We commit — every day — to taking steps to do better and be better.
We welcome the input of our students, alumni, employees, friends and community in advancing this work.
The following are some of the key priority areas of our work at this time:
Advancing the Equity Lens Institution-Wide
- On July 1, 2020, Narce Rodriguez will become the vice president of Student Affairs, while continuing as chief of equity, diversity and inclusion. She continues to work in partnership with stakeholders, faculty, students, administrators and staff to engage, learn and deliver our work with an equity lens. The goal is that the support for OEDIA’s work will continue to grow throughout the Pacific University community, not simply in one central office.
- In Spring 2019, the university administered a campus climate survey to establish a data baseline of how Pacific supports diversity, equity and inclusion and to determine if, where, when and how community members experienced harassment and discrimination. Results will be used this fall to determine specific goals and initiatives.
- We also are in the process of developing our strategic plan, Vision 2030. College deans and vice presidents have been asked to provide their major initiatives aligned with the Pacific mission, which includes diversity and the pursuit of justice. The next step will be to review these priorities and develop short- and intermediate-term goals specific to diversity and justice in each area of the university community, including arts and sciences, education, business, health professions, or student and employee support. Some areas of the university have well-developed plans, while others are in earlier stages. These plans will be reviewed with the university community this fall.
Supporting Students & Employees
- Pacific established a Bias and Hate Incident Reporting System and a protocol for responding to reports received.
- The Student Multicultural Center was established in 2017. An interim director is currently supporting the center and a permanent director will be recruited once the COVID-19 planning for the fall has been completed.
- The Office of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion has engaged faculty of color for networking opportunities via evening and luncheon events over the past two years. Participants expressed a desire for a tailored mentoring program, and a planning committee driven by faculty of color researched programs that would best align to their needs. In January 2020, faculty and staff of color participated in a retreat to develop a curriculum with specific learning objectives.
Diversifying Our University Population
- Pacific continues to be a predominantly white institution, particularly where faculty and staff are concerned. Voluntarily reported race/ethnicity data from employees indicate a slight diversification in the past five years (from about 80% white to about 70% white), but this is an area of very slow change. All search committees for new faculty and staff recruitment receives diversity training and assistance in identifying a diverse pool of highly qualified applicants.
- Pacific’s student body is increasingly diverse, with almost half of all students identifying as non-white. Additionally, 25% of students are the first in their families to attend college, and about a third of undergraduates are eligible for the Federal Pell Grant, which provides support for low-income families. Specific affinity groups and support systems are in place and growing for students identifying with a number of different racial/ethnic/gender identities.
- Pacific students are eligible for a handful of scholarships for marginalized populations, but race/ethnicity is generally not considered in determining financial aid eligibility. Almost all undergraduate students receive financial aid, and we have budgeted more than $42 million in the coming year in institutional resources to help families meet the cost of a Pacific education, most of which is granted based on students’ financial need.
Offering Education & Professional Development
- The Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Accessibility has delivered workshops on various subjects to close to 800 stakeholders, including both students and employees.