UPDATED: Town hall meetings scheduled for OEI action plan

The University of Oregon's Office of Equity and Inclusion will host three town hall meetings during the first week of winter term to gather input from across campus about an equity and inclusion action plan. The meetings signal the start of a process to update OEI's strategic plan for diversity.

The agenda for each of the 90-minute sessions will allow time for hearing from others about the strengths and challenges of the last planning process in 2006; and Vice President for Equity and Inclusion Yvette Alex-Assensoh sharing her initial thoughts on the planning process and hearing responses to her comments.

The first of the town hall meetings will be from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 9, in the EMU's Fir Room. The second will be from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 10, in Room 184 at the Knight Law Center. The third will be from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 11, in Room 184 of the Knight Law Center.

A fourth meeting, at which Alex-Assensoh will discuss the ongoing restructuring of the Office of Equity and Inclusion, will be from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 11, in the EMU's Fir Room.

Alex-Assensoh, who began at the UO in August, hopes the results of the ongoing reorganization will include a campus-wide recommitment to diversity and an upgrade to the UO's 2006 diversity action plan. She was hired last spring after a national search, when Charles Martinez returned to research and teaching. He had served since 2005 as the UO's vice president overseeing 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 time has now come for our organization – the Office of Equity and Inclusion – to build on the successes of its predecessor and evolve to fill the promise of its new name," Alex-Assensoh said recently. "Our office must become better aligned with current best practices in the field of equity and inclusion, and it must position itself to work more effectively with the UO campus, community groups and other universities."

A pre-planning process for the new diversity action plan will include the town hall-style meetings, assessments and roundtable discussions. The focus will be on concerns and priorities for inclusion and equity work at the UO.

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.

Alex-Assensoh is a political scientist and attorney licensed as a registered family mediator. She served previously as dean of the Office for Women's Affairs and Director of Graduate Studies and Admissions in the Department of Political Science, both at Indiana University.