The University of Montana
The University of Montana
President Royce Engstrom opened the meeting and introduced Tobin Shearer and Lucy France as presenters for the “University 101” topic Campus “Climate”.
Tobin Shearer discussed the following Race and Diversity principles.
An attack on any member is an attack on all.
There are traps that groups fall into such as allowing crisis to dictate response.
Disassociating from a specific incident puts us in the driver’s seat and puts incidents as they occur in proper perspective.
The ultimate concern is daily actions rather than specific incidents.
We can’t wait for others to take responsibility.
There are unique challenges in Montana due to the Native community and a racially homogenous community. We are also in close proximity with several hate groups.
Recognize and report those who have been targeted.
Lucy France addressed the following.
There is a hazing and harassment report form that can be submitted anonymously.
There is a report form for discrimination investigation.
UM is taking a proactive approach with the Day of Dialogue
Discussion on the topic followed with some of the discussion points listed below.
Importance of First Amendment protection
Better to empower a person rather than act on their behalf.
Vandalism and intimidation are not considered freedom of speech.
Don’t let those in attack mode set the agenda
With homogeneity of the population and culture is there more or less problem with these issues? There was a general observation that there is a greater degree of naievety but not more ill will. Not better or worse, but a tad more theoretical.
Strike a balance of addressing issues without giving groups undue attention.
Reiterate that we as a community have a zero tolerance for hate groups.
It is strategic to maintain a reserved stance and should the incidents escalate not give the attention that hate groups thrive on.
Coeur d’Alene dealt with these problems successfully with more publicity and through providing education to the community even though it also provided a forum for the hate groups.
The more publicity the better – applaud administration for providing forums.
It is strategic to evaluation the adversary to know who you are going up against.
Individuals and leadership must affirm that this isn’t what our community is about.
President Engstrom asked what other things UM can do to involve the Missoula community.
Lucy France will put the Town Hall Meetings on the community listserv.
President Engstrom has set aside funding for NCBI to come in for discussion.
Not only provide information about appropriate/inappropriate behavior but also information on multicultural communities.
Lucy France mentioned a Montana Human Rights group cultural exhibit created by a nationally known artist who turned a truckload of hate literature into an exhibit to promote diversity.
President Engstrom asked if there were other activities or discussion we can proceed with.
It was suggested that faculty spend time in every class to promote diversity. Lucy
France stated that this can and has been required.
We have an activity on sustainability each year for participation of 20-30 new faculty members. Why not do the same for diversity. Diversity is one of our core values included in our strategic plan.
We need to get at more substantive issues than the iteration of “why can’t we all just get along”.
Education goes beyond faculty; need education and training with those working in advising positions.
What are the best resources and how the can be provided.
Training – HR Terri Philips
Bob Duringer suggested that Core Values training could be added to the new HR position dedicated to training.
How do you think your client views you? Perceptions of race and class can be two way.
Educating advising community
Add message that has been endorsed by the campus community about diversity in syllabi.
Embark on Town Hall meetings
Create steering committee to identify characteristics of UM – what are they?
The Global leadership initiative is good – small groups to tackle big issues. UM taking right steps
More dialogue with faculty, staff and students. Assume that for every incident reported 20 are not.
This is part of being a citizen in a global century and part of the UM mission.
Having it out in the open is a better way to get this done.
Lucy France made some final comments on the subject of diversity.
Some unit’s accreditation standards require that diversity be included in every course. It is amazing how much everyone is actually doing.
President Engstrom made an announcement that Bill Muse is leaving UM to take the position of VP for Admin & Finance at Schreiner University in Kerrville, Texas.
Homecoming and the distinguished Alumni Ceremony were reported as a success. There were 162 events many of which President and Mary Engstrom attended.
Phi Delta has applied for a re-charter and has returned to campus. The focus of these organizations is changing to leadership development and mentoring.
It was announced that the Physics Nobel Prize winner co-laureate Brian Schmidt was born in Missoula and spent his first 13 years here.
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