Division of Student Affairs

Faculty, staff and student groups begin addressing campus climate issues

Five working groups comprised of more than 110 Washington State University students, faculty and staff have begun meeting to develop recommendations for creating a more inclusive and welcoming community at WSU campuses system-wide.

The working groups are the most recent steps in the institutional initiative WSU President Kirk Schulz announced last June to address system and campus climate and culture issues. Mary Jo Gonzales, vice president for student affairs, is leading implementation of the initiative.

“During the past year we have listened carefully to our faculty, students, and staff,” Gonzales said. “We have heard the frustration, disappointment, and anger expressed by many, who feel the university’s past efforts to build an inclusive and welcoming community have fallen short.

Going forward, we recognize that we must take a different approach to addressing these concerns. We will involve the entire community in creating needed systemic change to address issues of community, equity, and inclusive excellence.”

Policy review, training, campus resources among areas of focus

Each of the new working groups will address priorities identified by the WSU community, including students, as critical to advancing the university’s initiative. 
Among the topics and primary objectives the working groups will address:

WSU Executive Policy (EP) 15 prohibiting discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct

  • Review EP 15 for language and make recommendations for changes, including clearly defined sections for sexual/gender violence and speech
  • Develop EP 15-specific training for students, faculty and staff

Cultural competency 

  • Review and evaluate cultural competency and ally trainings offered by WSU and trainings proposed by students
  • Identify specific implementation plan for students, faculty and staff

Campus cultural and resource centers

  • Review current funds allocated to central- and academic college-supported cultural and resource centers
  • Review services and activities offered on all campuses by centers/programs to determine gap areas and recommend strategies to meet the needs of current and future students

The diversity of faculty and staff

  • In alignment with relevant state and federal statutes, develop proactive programs, targeted outreach and a recruitment plan for diverse faculty and staff
  • Identify current and future professional development programs for diverse faculty and staff

Gender inclusive and trans* support

  • Develop long-term plan to incorporate gender-inclusive restrooms on all campuses
  • Assess gap areas and make recommendations for trans* support on all campuses

The working groups are expected to submit their recommendations throughout 2018 as they convene and begin their efforts.