SUNY New Paltz welcomed organizational psychologist and diversity thought leader Dr. Steven Jones on Nov. 30 for an interactive discussion of campus diversity, inclusion and cultural competency, with a focus on moving the College’s draft Diversity and Inclusion Plan to action.
In September 2015, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and the SUNY Board of Trustees announced the adoption of a new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Policy for the SUNY system, which among other resolutions called on all SUNY campuses to develop strategic diversity plans.
In response, New Paltz formed a Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, co-chaired by Assistant Director of the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) Rita Celariste and Assistant Professor of History Reynolds Scott-Childress, and with members chosen from among a broad cross section of New Paltz students, faculty, staff, administrators and alumni.
That group met regularly through the last year to complete a draft plan for submission to SUNY by the Nov. 1 deadline.
“Many members of our campus community are passionate about the work of diversity and inclusion, and strive to support and continuously improve the New Paltz experience for all who work and study here,” said President Donald P. Christian. “Our draft plan, which I’ve endorsed, reflects our commitment to this work and provides an excellent framework for continuing our efforts to build an increasingly inclusive, equitable and diverse campus community.
“This plan builds on past work and current initiatives to provide a strong foundation for where we’re trying to be. It also points to ways that we need to be more intentional, more focused on inclusion, so that those who are attracted to our campus find support and a sense of community while they are here.”
As the College prepares to transition from planning to implementation, the Office of Compliance and Campus Climate invited Jones to address the roles all SUNY New Paltz community members play, both individually and as a collective, in making sure that the measures outlined by the Diversity and Inclusion Plan succeed as intended.
“It’s been a pleasure to get to watch the recent evolution of inclusion and diversity here on the New Paltz campus,” Jones said. “I had the chance to look at the Diversity and Inclusion Plan as it was being developed, and I was very impressed. We often find that the best laid plans fall short, however, depending on the environment they’re placed in. We need to talk about the conditions that will allow the plan to flourish, and accept that this work involves all of us, because safety on our college campuses is everyone’s responsibility.”
The complete, final version of SUNY New Paltz’s Diversity and Inclusion Plan will be shared with the campus community upon approval from SUNY.
More information about diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives at New Paltz is available online.