Campus Diversity Coalition Discuss Changes to Climate Survey

By: Kenyan Carter | Reporter

The Campus Diversity Coalition hosted a meeting on Jan. 22 for a discussion and updates of the organization’s diversity initiatives. The Campus Diversity Coalition is a group of USA students, faculty, and staff concerned with addressing diversity issues on campus.

The meeting took place in the Marx Library and was also live-streamed via Zoom.

Joy Washington, the Associate Director of Communications and Media Relations at USA, began the meeting reviewing the marketing strategy.

“The biggest thing is that I think people don’t really understand what we do as communications professionals,” Washington said. “So I think it’s always important to add what is the marketing plan, and the P.R. plan.”

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One of the goals of the marketing plan is to communicate the broad dimensions of diversity. For example, the plan includes a focus on well-known diversity aspects such as race, age, gender identity and sexual orientation. It also mentions less considered experiences such as physical/mental abilities, ethnic identity, parental status, education, occupation, language, geographic location and character.

The committee also discussed making changes to the Campus Climate survey to increase student engagement.

“I know in my research and probably some of your researching, that some of these Climate Surveys are just so lengthy,” Washington said. “Everyone’s busy. Do we want them to fill it out or do we want them to be frustrated?”

 Dr. Paul Frazier, the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at South, reiterated the benefits of completing the Climate Surveys to the students in attendance.

“The power structure really lies with the students,” Frazier said. “Really, this is your campus. There are a lot of students that are here but not present. We have to find ways to engage everyone, and if you have suggestions for how we do that, that’s how.”

 The meeting went on to discuss potential changes to the structure of the Campus Diversity Coalition to increase efficiency.

Dr. Laureen Fregeau, an Associate Professor at South and one of the coalition’s founders explained an institutional roadblock the organization has run into.

“One of our strengths and perhaps one of our weaknesses is the fact that we’re not in any silo,” Fregeau said. “Because this university is so siloed we’re not officially recognized because we don’t fit into the student silo, the faculty silo, or any other silo.”

Fregeau explained that the non-specific structure of the organization prevents it from access to resources such as being recognized on the campus webpage.For more information on the Office of Diversity and Inclusion visit https://www.southalabama.edu/colleges/com/administration/diversity/.