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Community, Diversity and Social Justice (CDSJ)


Chancellor's Counsel on Community, Diversity and Social Justice

Mission Statement

Preamble: The University of Massachusetts Amherst strives to demonstrate its regard for human enablement through the realization of a socially just campus community that encompasses diversity, variety and distinction in all dimensions of the University such as age, class, culture, ethnicity, gender, ideology, language, nationality, political beliefs, race, religious affiliation, sexual orientation and varying ability, and in other dimensions such as learning styles, multidisciplines, multimedia and teaching modes. We affirm such difference to be integral to the intellectual, social and moral vitality of this living, learning, working community. Indeed, the University transmits these values by the way it approaches policies, decisions and issues.

Purpose: To advise and provide recommendations to the Chancellor and campus executive officers on ways of achieving a more diverse and socially just community.

Charge: The activities of the Counsel include:

  • To develop and monitor a component for strategic action in this mission area to be incorporated as part of the campus planning and budget cycle;
  • To help strengthen community and collaboration within and among diverse campus groups;
  • To review the effectiveness of campus programs and policies concerning community, diversity and social justice;
  • To formulate and support proposals that promote community, diversity and social justice;
  • To identify and recommend the implementation of pilot programs which improve the climate of mutual respect;
  • To promote civil discourse on controversial issues;
  • To identify and foster responses to incidents of expressions of social injustice and bigotry;
  • To encourage all faculty, staff, and students throughout the campus to take personal and/or group responsibility for achieving a diverse and socially just campus community;
  • To maintain contact with and advocate on behalf of faculty, staff and student groups committed to creating a diverse and socially just campus community;
  • To synthesize a coherent approach for recognizing adequately the contributions of faculty, students and staff whose efforts further the creation of a diverse and socially just campus community.

Membership and Leadership: Counsel members are appointed by the Chancellor for two year terms as at-large members from the faculty, students, staff and community, as designees of other advisory groups linked to the Counsel, or as ex officio members. Two designees serve from each of the six current advisory groups, with one designee from each sitting on the Counsel's Executive Committee: the Faculty Senate Council on the Status of Women; the Faculty Senate Council on the Status of Minorities; the Chancellor's Task Force on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) Matters; the Chancellor's Task Force on Jewish Awareness and Anti-Semitism; the Religious Affairs Committee, and the University Advisory Committee on Disability. The Counsel is led by three co-chairs, one each from the faculty, staff and students.

OHR 9-21-98




Sources Responding to Initial Information Requests

Faculty Senate Council on the Status of Women - Carol Wallace*

Faculty Senate Council on the Status of Minorities - James Craig*

Chancellor's Task Force on Jewish Awareness and Anti-Semitism - David Schimmel*

Chancellor's Task Force on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Matters - Felice Yeskel*

Religious Affairs Committee - Merle Ryan*

Residential Co-Curricular Education Committee - John Hunt*

RFP, Awards and Recognition Committee - Robert Marx*

Disability Services - Madeline Peters* (Counsel presentation)

Learning Disabled Student Services - Patricia Silver* (Counsel presentation)

Psychological Disabilities - Linda Vincent*

Campus Activities - M.. Ricardo Townes

Office of ALANA Affairs - Nelson Acosta

Josephine White Eagle Cultural Center - Joyce White Deer-Vincent*

CCEBMS - Floyd Martin*

BCP - Benjamin Rodriguez

UALRC - Lucy Nguyen

Admissions - Arlene Cash*

Labor/Management Workplace Education Program - Joseph Connolly*

University Resource Network Steering Committee*

MSP - Jenny Spencer*

SEIU - Thomas Coish

USA/MTA - Rosemary Riley*

AFSCME - Charlotte Coates

IBPO A - Robert Thrasher

IBPO B - Brian Narkewicz

1990 Report of the Chancellor's Task Force on Multicultural Issues*

1994 Report of the Task Force on Diversity and Multiculturalism*

1994 Report of the Task Force on Teaching and Learning*

1994 Report of the Task Force on Economic Development*

1994 Report of the External Relations Working Group*

March 1997 "The Living Document" Demands*

Strategy Areas for Creating a Socially-just and Multicultural Campus 1980-96*

* those able to provide information


Sources Providing Feedback in Response to an Action Plan Presentation

10/24/97 - Chancellor's Counsel on Community, Diversity and Social Justice

03/31/98 - Chancellor's Executive Advisory Council

04/14/98 - University Advancement Executive Area staff

04/16/98 - Affirmative Action Advisory Board

04/16/98 - Student Affairs Executive Area staff

04/16/98 - Chancellor's Staff

04/29/98 - Resource Network public presentation

05/05/98 - Deans Council

05/15/98 - Faculty Senate Rules Committee

05/20/98 - Massachusetts Society of Professors

05/28/98 - Administration and Finance Executive Area staff

06/09/98 - Research and Graduate School Executive Area staff

06/18/98 - Labor/Management Workplace Education Program

09/08/98 - Chancellor's Executive Advisory Council



Summary of the Process of Developing the Action Plan

November 1996 - As part of Strategic Action, Chancellor Scott asks the Counsel to produce an Action Plan regarding issues of Community, Diversity and Social Justice.

December 1996 - The UMass Action Plan Committee (UMAP) meets for the first time.

January 1997 - The Counsel holds a retreat to begin reviewing 35 years of past efforts regarding diversity and social justice issues.

May 1997 - The UMAP Committee sends letters to a wide range of groups and individuals on the campus requesting information regarding issues of community, diversity and social justice.

October 1997 - The UMAP Committee makes a first presentation of its October 1997 draft report to the Chancellor's Counsel and receives positive feedback and additional suggestions for improvement. Counsel members are encouraged to share the draft report with their constituencies and copies of the draft report are distributed to individuals and groups who provided information initially with invitations for feedback. At this point the report critiques current approaches to issues of community, diversity and social justice and recommends a campus-wide three-year change process to mainstream responsibility for these issues. This change would involve replacing the current system of centrally-implemented change with one which increasingly moves accountability for these issues down to unit heads (deans, directors, department heads). The report also includes five broad areas of specific action steps and a complete listing of all the original information gathered by the committee. Due to its length, this complete listing was not included in future drafts, but copies are available from the Office of Human Relations, 202 Middlesex, UMass Amherst, Amherst, MA 01003 or at (413) 545-0851.

March 1998 - After several revisions, the UMAP committee presents a March 1998 draft to the Chancellor's Executive Advisory Council (CEAC) and agrees to make additional presentations to each executive area and other key constituent groups on the campus, solicit reactions and report back to CEAC. In response to consistent feedback, the five areas of specific action steps are removed from the report largely because they unintentionally reinforce and imply continuation of the older model of top-down, centrally-implemented change. Instead, these specific action steps will be forwarded to the campus-wide Community, Diversity and Social Justice (CDSJ) Team as a reference for the three year change process proposed in the report. The CDSJ Team will use this information and the complete listings of information solicited from campus groups and individuals to guide their assessment and benchmarking activities.

September 1998 - The UMAP Committee makes a final presentation to CEAC of the September 1998 Report