A Statement from the Inclusion Audit Committee (IAC)
The Inclusion Audit Committee (IAC) submits to President Messitte and Administrative Council recommendations based on collected data, research, and thoughtful conversations throughout the summer of 2020. The Committee has put forth in this document three recommendations for the recruitment and retention of students, and three recommendations for the recruitment and retention of employees, in addition to a priority recommendation in the following paragraph.
The IAC’s first and most important recommendation is that this committee continues in perpetuity and strive for ongoing improvement of the inclusion and equitable recruitment and retention of students and employees of color. Only with continued evaluation and assessment can change truly be made and measured. The College must remain committed to creating an environment in which all students and employees feel a sense of belonging. It is the committee’s hope that through collaboration and partnerships with the Administrative Council and other offices and departments on campus, students and employees will recognize the College’s dedication towards a more inclusive and equitable experience in our commitment towards change.
The student diversity subgroup recommends that the College address three points:
1) The recruitment of students of color by addressing admissions issues and recruitment practices.
The committee recommends that students, especially students of color, be more involved in the admissions process as peer recruiters, where they can lessen the burden of admissions staff while displaying the College’s tight-knit community for potential students.
2) The retention of students of color by assessing their needs and creating initiatives for a more culturally responsive and inclusive campus while ensuring safety and security for all students.
The assessment of current students of color will identify areas of need and can identify specific ways in which the College can effectively respond, to ensure a feeling of safety and belonging on campus. Ongoing assessment of needs and the possible development of focus group(s) will gather important information used in the long-term creation and evaluation of programming and services.
3) The need for a safe space of dialogue and relationship building between the students and the surrounding community – including local law enforcement.
Creating and prioritizing a place of safety for dialogue and activism on campus for students of color has become a priority given the recent civil unrest. A focus on continuing dialogue and relationship building within the Ripon College community and the City of Ripon entities, such as the police department, will be important moving forward in ensuring students’ feelings of safety and comfort. By surveying the students and opening communication between the College and the community, the Committee hopes to create a higher level of understanding and education surrounding these interactions.
The employee diversity subgroup recommends that the College address these three points:
1) A need for improvement in the recruitment and hiring process.
The committee strongly recommends the improvement of education and practices in the recruitment and hiring process of staff and faculty in order to attract a more diverse workforce. These improvements include the hiring committees utilizing the best practices document below compiled by experts and summarized by the IAC in addition to including a “diversity advocate” or “equity advisor” on every search committee.
2) Formalization of practices on campus to give the employees of color a sense of community and welcomeness.
Once the employee is hired, it is important to create a welcome and inclusive environment. This can be accomplished through the creation of more formal orientation, events, professional development options, and mentorship programs. More detailed information can be found below.
3) A need for ongoing assessment of the climate of a diverse workplace.
The Committee also recommends an ongoing assessment of the climate of the workplace environment through regular surveys and/or interviews of the employees of color and review of exit interviews. This assessment will benchmark the progress of Ripon College’s efforts to create and maintain a diverse workforce and an inclusive and equitable working environment for all employees of color.
The IAC will plan to continue working on these initiatives with the support and cooperation of the Ripon College Administrative Council and the surrounding community. Annual reports will be submitted to benchmark progress and update recommendations as work continues. It is the IAC’s hope that progress will be seen both short and long term in ways that will build a more inclusive and equitable environment for all students and faculty.
The Inclusion Audit Committee
To view institutional action items in response to the Inclusion Audit Committee recommendations, click here.