Race, ethnicity survey open until April 7; racism task force forum scheduled for April 17

Western Carolina University students, faculty and staff have until Friday, April 7, to participate in a “Campus Climate Survey on Race and Ethnicity.”

Emails with a website link to the survey were sent to members of the university community Wednesday, March 22. The survey, which takes about 20 minutes to complete, will provide data that will be used to guide future activities related to race and ethnicity education, recruitment and programming.

In a related activity, the university’s task force on racism is sponsoring a forum from 2 to 3 p.m. Monday, April 17, in the theater of A.K. Hinds University Center.

The task force was organized in response to a resolution that was approved by Faculty Senate at its April 2016 meeting, and then later approved by the chancellor, said Kathleen Brennan, task force chair and head of WCU’s Department of Anthropology and Sociology. The resolution was first proposed by a small group of WCU faculty members in response to racially charged social media comments and campus chalkings that occurred last academic year, she said.

The task force includes four students, four staff members and four faculty members. WCU’s chief diversity officer, Ricardo Nazario Colón, and dean of students, Kevin Koett, serve in an advisory capacity, Brennan said.

The purpose of the April 17 forum will be to share a set of task force recommendations with members of the WCU community and collect feedback on those recommendations and the process for implementing them. “We are currently gathering feedback on the draft document from Faculty Senate, Staff Senate, the Student Government Association and Executive Council,” Brennan said. The final report will be released in time for students, faculty and staff to review it prior to the forum, she said.

In regards to the survey results, Brennan said she expects data analysis will still be going on and those results will not be available the day of the forum.

More information about the upcoming forum and task force recommendations will be included in the Reporter email that will be distributed Thursday, April 13.