Founding Task Force

Ainsley Carry, Vice President for Student Affairs and Professor, USC Rossier School of Education (Diversity Task Force co-chair)

Varun Soni, Dean of Religious Life (Diversity Task Force co-chair)

Jody Armour, Roy P. Crocker Professor of Law, USC Gould School of Law

Ginger Clark, Professor of Clinical Practice, USC Rossier School of Education; USC Academic Senate President

Christina Gutierrez, Graduate Student Government (GSG) Vice President; master’s degree student, MPA/MPL dual, USC Price School of Public Policy

Nikita Hamilton, Graduate Student Government (GSG) President; doctoral student, USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism

Debra Langford, Director of Diversity  and Inclusion Initiatives, USC Marshall School of Business

Domenika Lynch, Executive Director, Latino Alumni Association

Rini Sampath, Undergraduate Student Government (USG) President; International Relations major, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Moira Turner, Undergraduate Student Government (USG) Director of Diversity Affairs; anthropology and astronautical engineering majors, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Committee as established during the 2015-16 academic year.

 

Task Force Meeting Summaries

April 18, 2016 meeting summary.  Members of the Task Force met for the fifteenth and final time from 8:30 – 10:30 a.m.  During this meeting, the Task Force reviewed the final proposals sent to the Provost regarding: (1) the formation of a Diversity Council; (2) a campus climate survey; and (3) faculty hiring and retention.  Also received on this day was a response from the Provost to the recommendations regarding the cultural centers.

The Task Force concluded by expressing gratitude to its members for their patience and contributions, which included over 100 hours of formal meetings and discussion sessions, countless additional hours spent engaging with constituents, conducting research, and preparing material for draft reviews, and nine total proposals to the Provost.


April 11, 2016 meeting summary.  Members of the Task Force met for the fourteenth time from 8:30 – 10:30 a.m.  During this meeting, the Task Force reviewed the final proposals sent to the Provost regarding: (1) the general education diversity requirement, and (2) the resources, staffing and funding of the cultural centers.  The Task Force also reviewed material for consideration in the draft proposals regarding: (1) the formation of a Diversity Council; (2) a campus climate survey; and (3) faculty hiring and retention.

Guests at this meeting included Provost Michael Quick, who thanked the members of the Task Force for their efforts, and also provided a preview of his message to the USC community regarding the diversity and inclusion efforts made by the University as well as its future plans to continue to address these issues.  He also notified the Task Force that USC had completed its collection of demographic data on faculty and students, and the data was available at http://oir.usc.edu/faculty-and-student-diversity/.


April 4, 2016 meeting summary.  Members of the Task Force met for the thirteenth time from 8:30 – 10:30 a.m.  During this meeting, the Task Force reviewed the resolution passed by the Graduate Student Government regarding Syrian Students, as well as the Provost’s Response to the Task Force’s proposal regarding the Community Advisory Board.

The Task Force also discussed the content of upcoming proposals to be submitted to the Provost regarding the: (1) general education diversity requirement; (2) creation of a permanent Diversity Council, to take the place of the current Diversity Task Force; (3) staffing, funding, and resources of the cultural centers; (4) faculty diversity hiring and retention, and (5) campus climate survey.  The Task Force agreed to complete proposals regarding each of these topics by the end of April.


March 28, 2016 meeting summary.  Members of the Task Force met for the twelfth time from 8:30 – 10:30 a.m.  The goals of this meeting were to: (1) review content for a proposal regarding the resources, staffing, and funding of the current four cultural and resource centers; (2) review a revised draft of the general education diversity requirement proposal; (3) prioritize the tasks to be covered at the remaining Spring semester Task Force meetings; and (4) discuss the final report to be submitted to the Provost, which will detail the diversity-related accomplishments of this Spring semester, as well as recommendations for moving forward.

Participants were reminded of the upcoming Open Forum on faculty diversity, hiring, and retention, presented by the Dornsife Office of Diversity and Strategic Initiatives and the USC Office of the Provost.

Guests present at the meeting included Robin Romans, Associate Vice Provost, who provided the Task Force with information regarding the University’s strategic planning process.


March 21, 2016 meeting summary. Members of the Task Force met for the eleventh time from 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. This meeting took place after both an Open Forum and Advisory Board discussion on the state of cultural centers at USC. The goal of the meeting was to: (1) review a draft of the general education diversity requirement proposal, and (2) speak with the four current cultural center leaders to assess current usage of the cultural centers and the need for expansion, in order to draft a proposal to the Provost addressing the issue.

Guest speakers included: Jonathan Wang, Director of Asian Pacific American Student Services, Corliss Bennett-McBride, Director of Center for Black Cultural and Student Affairs, William Vela, Director of El Centro Chicano, and Kelby Harrison, Director of the LGBT Resource Center. After presentations from, and Q&A with, the guest speakers, the Task Force determined that the following issues should be addressed in a future proposal to the Provost regarding cultural centers: open hours/accessibility of the centers, student worker budgets, student programming budgets, options for new cultural centers, and a long-term strategic plan for cultural center space.


March 7, 2016 meeting summary. Members of the Task Force met for the tenth time from 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. The goal of the meeting was to discuss: (1) opportunities for diversity and inclusion training for faculty, and (2) the current state of space, funding, and staffing for the cultural centers.

While the Division of Student Affairs has taken the lead with respect to new student diversity training, and the Task Force is drafting a proposal recommending reinstitution of a diversity requirement for undergraduates, the question of how to provide training to faculty remains open. The Task Force discussed several suggestions for addressing faculty sensitivity to diversity issues, including: revising the faculty’s current required sexual harassment training to include additional topics such bias, diversity, and inclusion; using the Center for Teaching and Excellence to provide faculty and new administrators with useful skills in managing difficult conversations around diversity and inclusion; and building questions about diversity experience, values, and perspective into the faculty hiring process.

With respect to cultural centers, the Task Force received an overview of the current state of space, funding and staffing from the Vice President of Student Affairs. The Task Force requested a discussion with the directors of USC’s four cultural centers in order to assess current usage of the cultural centers and the need for expansion. The leaders of the four cultural centers will be invited to address the Task Force at its upcoming meeting.


February 29, 2016 meeting summary. Members of the Task Force met for the ninth time from 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. The goals of the meeting were: (1) to understand the current inventory of training offered by the University; (2) discuss future trainings designed for faculty, staff, and students, which incorporates issues of diversity; and (3) discuss the opportunity for revival and improvement of an undergraduate diversity course requirement. Guest speakers included: Emily Sandoval, Director of Residential Education; Jonathan Wang, Director of Asian Pacific American Student Services, Gabriel Valenzuela, Director of Campus Activities, and Viet Thanh Nguyen, Associate Professor of English and American Studies and Ethnicity.


February 22, 2016 meeting summary. Members of the Task Force met for the eighth time from 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. The goal of the meeting was to draft a proposal pertaining to the Department of Public Safety and the issue of racial profiling. The Task Force noted that the Governor of the State of California recently approved a bill that enacted the Racial and Identity Profiling Act of 2015, which defines racial or identity profiling, prohibits peace officers from engaging in that practice, and establishes a Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board to eliminate the practice pf profiling and improve cultural sensitivity in law enforcement. The Task Force will use this law as a template to guide its proposal on DPS practices. This proposal will be revised based on the comments and feedback submitted by DPS and the Advisory Board at its upcoming meeting on February 26, 2016.


February 8, 2016 meeting summary. Members of the Task Force met for the seventh time from 8:30 – 10:00 a.m.  Goals of the meeting were to finalize proposals to the Provost on the following issues:

(1)    Data Transparency. The resolutions from the Academic Senate, Graduate and Undergraduate Student Governments requested access to data about race and diversity. The Task Force proposal outlined the criteria for that data.
(2)    Position Description for Diversity & Inclusion Liaisons. Each of the 19 Schools has appointed members of the faculty or staff to serve as Diversity & Inclusion Liaisons. Thus far the role appears to lack a consistent description, roles, and responsibilities. The Task Force offered its proposal for roles and responsibilities of the School-based liaisons.
(3)    Five-Year Diversity Plan. The Task Force outlined a template for a five-year diversity and inclusion plan for the Schools. The plan is flexible, but offers tangible benchmarks for progress toward increasing diversity and inclusion. The plan articulated the primary goals of the School-based liaisons.

These proposals were sent to the Provost Michael Quick on February 9, 2016; he responded on February 16, 2016.

Read the Provost’s message to the Diversity Task Force.


February 1, 2016 meeting summary.  Members of Task Force met for the sixth time from 8:30 – 10:30 a.m.  Goals of the meeting were to draft proposals related to data transparency, as well as a job description for Diversity & Inclusion Liaisons.  Members of the Task Force used recommendations from the Academic Senate, Undergraduate Student Government, and Graduate Student Government, in drafting these two proposals.  These proposals will be revised based on the comments and feedback submitted by the Advisory Board at its upcoming meeting on February 5, 2016.


January 24, 2016 meeting summary.  Members of the Task Force met for the fifth time from 8:30 – 10:30 a.m.  Goals of the meeting were to learn about the University’s processes for managing bias incidents, violations of the Student Code of Conduct, and incidents of sexual misconduct.  Three guest speakers were invited to provide details about these processes and answer questions from the Task Force:

  • Lynette Merriman, Ed.D., Assistant Vice Provost for Student Affairs, Student Support & Advocacy.  Lynette manages reports of bias incidents.
  • Donna Budar-Tuner, J.D., Director of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards.  Donna manages reports, investigations, and outcomes of Student Conduct Code violations.
  • Kegan Allee, Ph.D., Title IX Investigator.  Kegan investigates reports of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, sexual misconduct, relationship violence, stalking, and child abuse.

Each guest speaker was asked about the timeline for reporting and investigations, data collection for monitoring behavioral trends, staffing and resource needs, and education and prevention efforts.  The Task Force’s assessment of these procedures will be incorporated into its recommendations to the Provost.


January 11, 2016 meeting summary. Members of the Task Force met from 8:30 – 10:00 a.m.  Goals of the meeting were to review action items from the previous meeting, discuss the membership and participation of the Advisory Board to the Task Force, finalize topics for discussion at meetings throughout the Spring semester, and schedule specific events for the Spring semester.

Invitations have been sent to the individuals nominated to participate on the Advisory Board to the Task Force.  The purpose of the Advisory Board is for a larger, diverse audience to provide feedback on matters critical to the Task Force’s agenda this semester.  Advisory Board members will meet with the Task Force on a weekly basis to obtain information from guest speakers, identify concerns with current campus practices or climate, and evaluate proposals made by the Task Force.  Meeting dates and times for the Advisory Board will be determined shortly.

Proposed topics on the agenda for the Task Force this spring include:  (1) Policing and safety; (2) Cultural Centers, Funding and Space; (3) Climate Assessment/Surveys; (4) Diversity and Inclusions Liaisons: Structure, Responsibilities, and Training; (5) Processes for Title IX, Bias Reporting, and SJACS; (6) Admissions and Enrollment; (7) Faculty Hiring and Retention; and (8) Residence Life: Gender Neutral Spaces, Theme Floors, Diversity Education for Residents.  As much as possible, these topics will be discussed at Task Force and Advisory Board meetings which coincide with the Open Forums.


December 8, 2015 meeting summary. Members of the Provost’s Diversity Task Force met for the third time on December 8, 2015, from 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Goals of the meeting were to review action items from the previous meeting, learn more about the climate resolutions authored by the Academic Senate, and plan for the Spring 2016 meetings. The Task Force discussed planning for diversity training for three populations – student leaders, students living in residence halls, and School-based Diversity Liaisons. These three diversity initiatives are in planning stages.

Staff members from Campus Activities, the Cultural Centers, and Residential Education have been asked to provide their expertise in drafting training programs for implementation in 2016. The Task Force also heard from representatives from the Academic Senate summarizing their resolutions, and their prioritization for the tasks in the year ahead. These priorities overlapped in many respects to those of the undergraduate and graduate student government.

The next meeting of the 10-member Provost’s Diversity Task Force is scheduled for Monday, January 11, 2016. This meeting will focus on the training, role, and goals of the School-based Diversity Liaisons. The Task Force is inviting members to serve on a 30-member Advisory Board to the Provost Diversity Task Force. Meeting dates and times for the Advisory Board are to be determined. Posted December 21, 2015


December 1, 2015 meeting summary. Members of the Provost’s Diversity Task Force met for the second time on December 1, 2015, from 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. The focus of this meeting was to learn more about the climate resolutions authored by Undergraduate and Graduate Student Governments. The Task Force discussed several items including: student, faculty, and staff representation on the Task Force; methods to share meeting information with the community; and a few immediate action items.

The Task Force discussed formation of a 30-40 member Advisory Board to the Provost Task Force to broaden representation from key stakeholder populations. The Task Force also endorsed a few time-sensitive action items: (1) development and coordination of Diversity Training for new Student Leaders in spring 2016; (2) conference for school-based Diversity Liaisons in spring 2016; and (3) Diversity Awareness Education for students living in USC Residence Halls. The next meeting of the Provost’s Diversity Task Force is scheduled for Tuesday, December 8th. This meeting will focus on the climate resolution for Academic Senate.


November 20, 2015. The 10-member Provost’s Diversity Task Force holds its first meeting. The committee reviewed the Provost’s memorandum and committee charge, discussed themes of the three climate resolutions, and explored options for tackling the work.

The climate resolutions had four themes: staffing structure for diversity administration, education, data sharing, and space/resource allocation. The committee also recognized the need to determine a vehicle to include input from members of the community outside the task force.

Three options were discussed: (1) break into subcommittees that invite USC community members to participate or (2) remain intact and invite input from the community based on topics of discussion. The committee elected to remain intact and invite members of the community to discussions based on topics. The committee also determined December 1 and December 8 were the next two committee meetings. The December 1 meeting will focus on inviting student authors to discuss climate resolutions. The December 9 meeting will focus on authors of Academic Senate to discuss their climate resolution. Dates and locations for spring 2016 meetings are to be determined.


November 17, 2015. Co-chairs of the Provost’s Diversity Task Force host meeting with student government leadership (undergraduate and graduate) to discuss provost’s memorandum and composition of Provost’s Diversity Task Force.