By Meghan Zea /// Staff Writer
A new committee composed of students, staff and administrators focused on clarifying the Hate and Bias policy has been implemented during spring term to devise a comprehensive solution.
In an effort to improve diversity and inclusion within the Lewis & Clark community, President Barry Glassner established the Bias Task Force committee to improve synthesis between administrative branches, and clarify ambiguity in the Hate and Bias policy. The current Hate and Bias policy states that behavior that includes “intentional humiliation or intimidation of others motivated by hate or bias.”
“The Lewis & Clark community is committed to being a campus where all are welcome,” Glassner said. “I am confident that the work of these groups will further our efforts to provide all of our students with the best possible learning environment.”
The committee is composed of students from all three campuses, administrators and faculty from all three campuses. Janet Steverson, Douglas K. Newell Professor of Teaching Excellence at the Law School and chairwoman of the committee, maintains that the goal of the Bias Task Force committee is to rewrite a policy that is more accessible for administration and students, while seeming transparent to the community.
“The end game of the committee is to come up with a policy that administration can administer,” Steverson said. “Administration will know what is prohibited conduct and how to get information out to the community.”
Currently, the Bias Task Force committee has broken down into smaller groups to establish the substance of the new policy and then focus on the procedure of the policy. The committee meets every couple of weeks and plans to contribute to the new policy idea for the remaining part of the school year and over the summer through Google Docs. Steverson is confident that the committee will find a comprehensive solution.
“We have a really good group on top of (making a new policy) with lots of really good ideas,” Steverson said.
Alicia Kirkland (‘16) was nominated by Dean of the College Tuajuanda Jordan as the representative for the undergraduates.
Kirkland joined the committee after becoming a victim of the hate spech , which took place last semester. She wants to help simplify the process to notify administration for students in the future.
“The process I had to go through to get what I needed took about a week or two,” Kirkland said. “I was going from office to office trying to find out who I needed to talk to in order to get answers and solutions. I knew that my work on the committee would make it easier to protect and support my peers and future members of our community.”