Viking Union Equity and Diversity Action Plan

The VU's Mission to Support Equity + Diversity

The mission of the Viking Union is to connect a dynamic and diverse campus community, providing welcoming and inclusive spaces and activities that advance engagement in leadership development, service, adventure, and celebration. A major component of that mission is to support our diverse campus with the wide range of identities and communities that it represents. To do that, the organization needs to diligently and holistically engage in continuous improvement to meet the needs of our student population, especially for those coming from communities that have been and are targeted and oppressed.

Learn more about the Viking Union's Core Beliefs

This is the first of many stages we will embark on in developing and implementing our broad Viking Union Equity and Diversity Action Plan. Our plan will be grounded in supporting student development, creating and expanding opportunities for those who have been historically marginalized, continued education and development of staff, and based in current research and standards of practice.

We will synthesize all the historical information we can access related to student identified needs, research current best/promising practices, and engage with our communities to continue to build out our Viking Union Equity and Diversity Action Plan.

Current Updates

BSO/AS/VU Meeting

Date: 10.28.2020

Time: 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Conversation Agenda (Notes)

 

Attendees:

AS Leadership: Abdul-Malik Ford, Ranulfo Molina, Noemi Bueno

BSO Leadership: LaShaiah Dickerson, Lydia Ashenafie, Hannah Okotcha, Selome Zerai, Zion Gemechu

VU Staff: Eric Alexander, Frederick Collins, Casey Hayden, Raquel Vigil, Moya Lojewski, Greg McBride 

 

  1. Introductions (Malik/Dr. Collins)
    1. Introductions to each other (brief)
    2. Opening remark from Dr. Collins
      1. Centered on history, understanding, need for collaboration, and respect for the students and their needs. 
      2. It was discussed that there was a universal motivation for action among all participants to move forward to upgrade the Black Experience at WWU/VU/AS.
    3. Agenda for the day – Confirmed
      1. Clarity in communication was brought up throughout the meeting as being needed.
      2. Movement and clear next steps were identified as an outcome for every stage of the process.
      3. Eric will set up a follow-up meeting with the group in 3-4 weeks to talk though updates (that date has been set for Monday, November 16th at 1:00 PM on Teams)

 

  1. Space Planning project (Eric/Greg)
    1. Project team implementation (scope/size and selection processes via student employment)
    2. Short-term (or long-term) option in VU for consideration
    3. Notes and next steps:
      1. Eric and Greg will work with students and Facilities Development colleagues to plan for, develop, and create a space for the BSO Coalition (a first phase for a Black Cultural Center)
      2. All staff are committed to both a short-term plan (may be a 3-5 year plan for space) and a long-term plan for cultural and resource centers.
      3. Discussed possible space options in the VU (included the planned AS Governance Space/former SAIRC space on the 5th floor, some spaces in conference room areas on the 4th and 5th floors, as well as other spaces around the VU).
      4. Student team was identified to participate in a few initial planning meetings for the short-term solution.   Selome, Zion, and Hannah volunteered to meet with Eric, Greg, and FDCB colleagues
      5. Eric will set up the initial meeting with FDCB as soon as possible (initial meeting has been scheduled for November 12th @ 1:00-2:30).

 

  1. BSO Coalition project (All)
    1. Project team implementation – what are outcomes needed?
      1. Selection Processes
      2. Student employment option
    2. Research and development
    3. What are initial programs or opportunities to build on
    4. Notes and next steps:
      1. Using the BSO visioning document as a launching point
      2. Discussed models from across multiple campuses that were shared in the meeting:
        1. https://dce.oregonstate.edu/
        2. http://www.abcc.net/directory
        3. https://diversity.utah.edu/centers/bcc/
        4. https://msc.wisc.edu/meet-the-staff/
        5. https://mss.wsu.edu/about-us/office-staff/
      3. A team of AS and VU folks will develop position descriptions and will work with BSO once those are complete to move the programs forward. 
        1. Team Included: Raquel, Casey, Fred, Moya, Noemi, Ranulfo, and Malik.

 

Dismantling Anti-Blackness

Led by the needs presented by the Black Student Organizations of WWU and the voices of the Black Lives Matter movement, the Viking Union has developed a number of strategies to support the demands presented to dismantle anti-Blackness within our organization.

Updates in response to BSO demands letter:

Strategy 1.1: Developing mechanisms for remuneration for certain committee involvement

Update:

We have developed three mechanisms for remuneration/payment.  The process we are working to implement immediately is the stipend, as it is a new process and very relevant for the current needs for engagement. This is a new model that is being vetted through the institutional partners (i.e. AAG, Accounting Services, EOO, compliance office, and others). 

  • Stipend: For committee involvement that is focused on advocacy and a voice of feedback to the governing structures (i.e. the need to work with a BSO space planning committee, etc.).  Working with AAG, accounting services, compliance office, and others to develop mechanism for providing stipends for involvement (a “per meeting” allocation). 
  • Employed positions: We will create hourly positions to support events or programs that will require engaging the broader university systems, event planning, budgetary commitments, supervision, etc., we will create positions to be paid through hourly positions. 
  • Contracts: On occasion, we may need to operate through a contractual relationship with folks based on expertise (i.e. speaking engagements, performance, etc.) not related to current work.  For these, our WWU standard of care is to develop a contractual relationship

Next Steps (completion target):

  • Hope to launch stipend program by the middle of August.
  • Develop criteria for committees that will have payment option
  • Reexamine committee appointment system to strengthen commitment to EID in all committee appointments.

 

 

Strategy 1.2: Support the development of the Culturally Specific Advocacy/Coalition

Update:

  • In support of the creation of the Black Student Coalition, VU staff have worked to define some elements related to that startup. 
  • Supporting efforts of the AS Executive Board in developing this model.
  • A great deal of the current work hinges on Strategy 1.1 – Developing ways to support equitable participation in our committees through remuneration. 
  • We have identified initial funding in support of the Black Student Coalition. 

 Next Steps:

  • Need to be in conversation with the BSO to further clarify how we can move this work forward. 

 

 

Strategy 2.1: Support development of Culturally Relevant Student Centers and Spaces

Update:

  • There is a group of staff working to define process for this, beginning with the Black Student Cultural Space. 
  • The need for committee remuneration is the piece that helps to get this work moving in relation to garnering student input.
  • As a staff, the VU is focused on supporting and developing a space for our Black Student organizations. 
  • Looking to the possibility of short-term solutions that map onto a larger long-term solution. 
  • This work is a needed follow-on from the completion of the MCC – as it is important to have both the intersectional spaces and those that more fully support historically marginalized groups. 
  • We have initiated the process of working with Facilities Development and Capital Budgeting to engage this work.

Next Steps (completion target)

  • This summer, we would like to work with a student committee to develop the program (the set of space needs and adjacencies) that will create the most impactful space.
  • Develop a timeline for short-term solution – particularly given the way campus is impacted this coming fall due to COVID-19. 

Equity and Diversity Goals and Strategies

Goal #1: Programs and Structures of Engagement

Provide diverse and culturally responsive engagement opportunities for the student and community through our programs and support services.

Goal #1 Strategies

Update:

We have developed three mechanisms for remuneration/payment. The process we are working to implement immediately is the stipend, as it is a new process and very relevant for the current needs for engagement. This is a new model that is being vetted through the institutional partners (i.e. AAG, Accounting Services, EOO, compliance office, and others).

  • Stipend: For committee involvement that is focused on advocacy and a voice of feedback to the governing structures (i.e. the need to work with a BSO space planning committee, etc.). Working with AAG, accounting services, compliance office, and others to develop mechanism for providing stipends for involvement (a “per meeting” allocation).
  • Employed positions: We will create hourly positions to support events or programs that will require engaging the broader university systems, event planning, budgetary commitments, supervision, etc., we will create positions to be paid through hourly positions.
  • Contracts: On occasion, we may need to operate through a contractual relationship with folks based on expertise (i.e. speaking engagements, performance, etc.) not related to current work. For these, our WWU standard of care is to develop a contractual relationship

 

Next Steps (completion target):

  • Hope to launch stipend program by the middle of August.
  • Develop criteria for committees that will have payment option
  • Reexamine committee appointment system to strengthen commitment to EID in all committee appointments.

Update:

  • In support of the creation of the Black Student Coalition, VU staff have worked to define some elements related to that startup.
  • Supporting efforts of the AS Executive Board in developing this model.
  • A great deal of the current work hinges on Strategy 1.1 – Developing ways to support equitable participation in our committees through remuneration.
  • We have identified initial funding in support of the Black Student Coalition.

 

Next Steps:

  • Need to be in conversation with the BSO to further clarify how we can move this work forward.

Update:

  • The Viking Union is committed to hiring an Associate Director for Multicultural Student Engagement
  •  Position development will be finalized in Summer 2020

Next Steps (completion target)

  • Developing search process timelines
    • Search process initiated and completed by Fall 2020.

    Update:

    • Overhauling the AS & VU Student Job Descriptions (completion target by end of Fall 2020)
      • Include diversity and anti-racism statement in every job description
      • Include or strengthen qualification language on equity, justice, and anti-racism
      • Deconstruct overall language and format to reduce barriers to apply
      • More closely align templates and language between AS & VU job descriptions to increase consistency of experience
    • Researching bias interrupter trainings with the goal of including a bias interrupter on every search committee

     

    Next Steps (completion target)

    • Deconstructing recruitment, application, and interviewing processes to make them more accessible.
    • Begin gathering demographic data to build more regular methods of assessing progress with the goal of increasing the diverse voices in our student staff
    • Expanding mandatory implicit bias training as a requirement for being on a search committee
    • Form a promotion & outreach guide to increase job announcement exposure outside of our organization

     

    Next Steps (completion target)

    • This process will begin Summer 2020 and continue through the Fall of 2020.

    Goal #2: Space and Placemaking

    To provide welcoming and supportive spaces that connect the dynamic and diverse campus community.

    Goal #2 Strategies

    Update:

    • There is a group of staff working to define process for this, beginning with the Black Student Cultural Space.
    • The need for committee remuneration is the piece that helps to get this work moving in relation to garnering student input.
    • As a staff, the VU is focused on supporting and developing a space for our Black Student organizations.
    • Looking to the possibility of short-term solutions that map onto a larger long-term solution.
    • This work is a needed follow-on from the completion of the MCC – as it is important to have both the intersectional spaces and those that more fully support historically marginalized groups.
    • We have initiated the process of working with Facilities Development and Capital Budgeting to engage this work.

     

    Next Steps (completion target):

    • This summer, we would like to work with a student committee to develop the program (the set of space needs and adjacencies) that will create the most impactful space.
    • Develop a timeline for short-term solution – particularly given the way campus is impacted this coming fall due to COVID-19.

    Goal #3: Access, Equity, Inclusion, Diversity: Education and Development

    Through staff development, programs, and learning spaces, increase the learning and development opportunities in the co-curricular focused on equity, inclusion, and diversity.

    Goal #3 Strategies

     

    Next Steps (completion target)

    • Develop a VU Diversity Education Team (follow-on from the previous work of the Dean of Students Cultural Competence Committee) to be initiated by Fall 2020.
    • This group will work to include Critical Race Theory, Critical Whiteness studies, and other equity, inclusion, and diversity development efforts.

    Stage 2: Next Steps in the VU Equity & Diversity Action Plan

    The Viking Union will continue to grow and build this plan, it will be a living document that is both forward looking and responsive to current contexts. WWU students have raised their voice in many areas and from many of our historically marginalized communities. We are listening and commit to bringing all of that information to bear as we continue to develop this plan.

    As the Viking Union staff, we can commit to changes in our organization that support students as well as the broader institutional commitments to creating a more equitable and just space. We will continue this work through the lenses of placemaking, engagement, and education. We commit to continued learning via listening, in looking at successful communities of practice around the nation, and in synthesizing research and practice.

    Our sincerest desire is to create a better space and better programs to support our diverse campus community.