UMass Amherst
Research: Office of the Vice Provost

Charge to the Commission


October 14, 2004

To University of Massachusetts Amherst Commission on Campus Diversity:


Dear Colleagues,

On behalf of Chancellor John Lombardi, Provost Charlena Seymour, and myself, I thank you for your willingness to serve on the University of Massachusetts Amherst Commission on Campus Diversity.  The purpose of this critical effort is to help the campus assess our programs, review our achievements, and identify our opportunities for improvement.

Although this campus has a long and exceptional history of efforts to enhance diversity and improve the campus services, support and climate for special populations of students, faculty and staff, we know that most of us are seriously concerned about the effectiveness ofour current approach.  We have a very strong commitment from students, faculty, staff, administration, alumni, and friends to this effort, but we have many conflicting voices and alternative strategies offered to resolve both current issues and continuing improvement.

For that reason, we are grateful that you can lend us your collective experience, which is truly remarkable, your insight, and your expertise to guide us in taking the essential next steps to improving campus diversity. 

The following can serve as a general charge to the Commission, and offers you a context for your work. We offer this charge not to express any limits to the topics or issues you deem important, but to offer you our perspective that prompts the formation of the Commission.

Knowing that the entire university benefits from a racially and ethnically diverse campus community, and that members of the student body, faculty, and staff recognize that the current practices are not meeting the needs of our multicultural, diverse community, we charge the Commission with reviewing and assessing those aspects of campus life related to diversity and the quality of experience for our students.

We charge the Commission to present a set of specific recommendations, campus guidelines, organizational structures, and funding models as it finds appropriate. 

We know that the Commission will offer these recommendations with the expectation that they will guide the UMass Amherst campus as it takes the next steps to meet the expectations of our current diverse student body and moves to provide the continuing infrastructure, programs, and support needed to welcome what will certainly be an even more diverse student body in the future.  We charge the Commission to offer us the guidance that allows everyone on this campus to ensure the quality of our students’ learning experience from successful matriculation to graduation.

Our charge to the Commission includes a commitment to provide whatever assistance, resources, information, and access to people and groups it requires.  The faculty, staff, students, and larger UMass Amherst community will eagerly provide the Commission with their perspectives.  The campus can provide, in addition to the materials included with this charge, any other information, budget data, or analysis that the Commission will find useful, including the full inventory of programs, offices, support staff throughout the campus’ academic departments, student services organization, and other administrative offices.  The Chancellor has asked the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs to provide whatever support your work requires from across campus.

The Commission will officially convene at the request of its Chair on November 13, 2004, and if at all possible, present its recommendations by February 1, 2005, to Chancellor Lombardi, Provost Seymour, and myself.  These issues are, as you can appreciate, of great urgency for our campus and its communities, and we expect to proceed to implement the Commission’s recommendations beginning in the second semester and carrying forward over the summer into the new academic year.

The Commission will want full and open access to the campus community, and to provide that accessibility, in addition to the open meetings scheduled at the Commission’s request, the campus will be provided a specific e-mail address for individuals to use in addressing comments to the Commission:  In addition to the official documents associated with the Commission’s work, such as those provided with this charge, the Commission’s recommendations and findings will be posted on the campus website at

All of us look forward to the work of the Commission on Campus Diversity with confidence based on the demonstrated commitment and success represented by its membership.

We stand ready to assist the Commission in any way.

Michael Gargano, Ed.D

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Campus Life