Office of Equity and Inclusion planning meetings continue Friday

Yvette Alex-Assensoh at Thursday's meeting
Yvette Alex-Assensoh at Thursday's meeting

UO Vice President for Equity and Inclusion Yvette Alex-Assensoh held the second of three town hall meetings on Thursday to receive input from students, faculty, staff and the greater community on issues relating to a new strategic action plan for the Office of Equity and Inclusion.

The third meeting will be from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Friday in Room 184 of the Knight Law Center.

At the Thursday meeting – also at the law school – Alex-Assensoh laid out groundwork for the pre-planning session, which was intended to help gather information and ensure that the UO’s equity and inclusion goals will be met.

Some of the goals include student access and retention; a diverse faculty recruited from around the country that will share their expertise across campus; a more systematic focus on civic, community and non-profit groups in the community and on campus; and a concerted focus on equity among diverse groups, including racial, ethnic, gender and sexual orientation factors.

“Our portfolio must be balanced and inclusive,” she said.

Friday morning's final town hall meeting, like the previous two, is intended to gather additional input from across campus about the UO's strategic action plan for equity and inclusion.

A fourth meeting – from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Friday in the EMU's Fir Room – will focus on the ongoing restructuring of the Office of Equity and Diversity.

Alex-Assensoh is preparing for an update to OEI's strategic plan for diversity, and hoped to use the first three of this week's meetings to assess the strengths and challenges of the last planning process in 2006. The fourth meeting was added as an opportunity for dialog about changes at OEI as Alex-Assensoh implements what she describes as a "distributed model" in which equity and inclusion will be the responsibility of everyone at the UO, and will come into play in all processes and procedures.

Alex-Assensoh was hired last spring after a national search, when Charles Martinez returned to research and teaching. She took office in August as vice president of what had previously been the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity.

OIED became the Office of Equity and Inclusion before Alex-Assensoh was hired, with a reorganization of its structure and priorities envisioned.

The pre-planning process for OEI's new equity and inclusion action plan will include the town hall-style meetings, assessments and roundtable discussions. Information from the discussions will then be shared with faculty, staff and student leaders, and key points for the new strategic plan will be identified. A committee will be formed to create a draft of the plan, which will be discussed campus-wide before being implemented at the college, school, department and unit levels.