By George Mauzy
The Office for Diversity, Access, and Equity recently formed the University Diversity Commission and Martin Luther King Celebration Committee to address diversity issues on campus.
The University Diversity Commission will serve as an advisory board to Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity and Access Brian Bridges. Its first major project will be to assist Bridges in the development of a strategic plan for diversity that aligns with Vision OHIO.
"Creating a strategic plan for diversity is something I shouldn't do alone," Bridges said. "I tried to populate the commission with people who understand the culture and needs of the university when it comes to diversity. The goal is to structure diversity in a holistic fashion."
Bridges, who will chair the commission, said he received great interest from all corners of the university to be involved in this group.
"This commission is important for shaping the future of diversity on campus and there are many people who have strong opinions on diversity," Bridges said. "They see this commission as a chance to share their ideas on diversity and help make real change."
Bridges created the Martin Luther King Celebration Committee to expand the university's event planning for the January holiday that honors the slain civil rights leader. The committee will annually coordinate university-sponsored events that address important issues such as social justice and racial equality during the holiday celebration period. Membership of key community constituents has been effective in developing a schedule of events for the MLK holiday that extends beyond campus and involves the local community. Stacey Brinkley, interim director of the Office of Multicultural Student Access and Retention, and Janice Wright, clinical supervisor in Hearing, Speech and Languages, will co-chair the committee.
"When I arrived last year, I was surprised that the university didn't really have an annual university-sponsored celebration of the MLK holiday," Bridges said. "There were events, like the march and brunch sponsored by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, but university and community collaborated events were lacking. This committee will make sure that there are robust university-sponsored events that engage the Athens community to celebrate the only national holiday dedicated to a person of color."
Bridges said both committees have already held meetings and are off to a good start. For more information, contact Bridges at firstname.lastname@example.org.