Western Oregon University’s Board of Trustees voted to create a new board committee called the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee (DEIC). WOU’s board is the first among Oregon’s public universities to create a permanent committee on diversity, equity and inclusion. The creation of this committee supports the ongoing and long-term proactive work that has been happening on campus for years.
This decision is part of long-term work the board has been doing in areas of diversity, equity and inclusion. At its April 2021 board meeting, the trustees approved its Board Statement on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility, which was a project the group had been working on since 2019 and that constitutes the highest policy authority for the university. The statement outlines expectations and priorities for the university’s climate, recruitment and retention of employees and students, curriculum, community partnerships, business practices, and more.
“The creation of this important committee reflects WOU’s commitment to keeping this priority at the forefront of our actions,” WOU Board of Trustees Chair Betty Komp said. “Diversity and inclusion are core values at Western, as specified in the strategic plan. The students have called for this commitment. The campus community has called for this commitment. We’ve responded and are excited to move forward.”
DEIC is the fourth standing committee for the board. It joins the Executive, Governance, and Trusteeship Committee, the Finance & Administration Committee and the Academic and Student Affairs Committee. DEIC will have five members: the Board of Trustees chair, the university president and one trustee from each of the other three standing committees. Now that the committee is formed, it will create a charter to guide its work. DEIC’s work may include making recommendations to the board in connection to the Board Statement on Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Accessibility, the University Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee, the University Cultural Competence Advisory Committee, and the university’s Diversity Action Plan.
“This new board level committee is the natural extension of conversations we’ve been having for years at WOU around our commitment to all aspects of diversity. This committee will help us move forward on the campus diversity action plan that is in final stages of development.,” WOU President Rex Fuller said.