UM System, St. Louis Community College address diversity issues in reports

ST. LOUIS • From a new diversity class for all employees at St. Louis Community College to requiring bias training for hiring managers at the University of Missouri System, both schools issued separate reports this week highlighting accomplishments and goals to make the respective schools more inclusive to all.

St. Louis Community College issued its "Diversity Action Plan" Tuesday, breaking down a laundry list of areas where the campus can make improvements.

In an attempt to stay accountable, the college identifies responsible departments for addressing each action item and a time frame for completion.

As part of an "institutional transformation" effort, the community college wants to require all members of the Board of Trustees to receive diversity training as well. Leaders also want progress reports to detail how well the school is at keeping up with each action item.

Additional sections highlight "the student experience," including how students get to and from school, boosting funding for traveling abroad and creating a summit focused on diversity and inclusion issues for each campus.

Increased community partnership plans and changes to marketing were also in the report.

"Sadly, recent incidents in race relations have cast a shadow on our city and the outstanding achievements that make St. Louis a great place to live and work," college chancellor Jeff Pittman said in a statement. "For St. Louis Community College, these events are a call to action — an unprecedented moment in our history for us to take the lead in providing an environment of diversity, inclusion, equity and justice for our students, faculty, staff and community partners."

'Financial implications'

An audit recommended during the height of unrest at Mizzou last year by the Board of Curators yielded a report and recommendations for each of the four University of Missouri campuses Wednesday.

Chief among the recommendations at UMSL is to conduct a pay equity audit for employees, an issue that was recently brought up by a handful of faculty members who are trying to unionize.

One of the most diverse campuses, it was also recommended that UMSL diversifies the administration, expand the diversity and inclusion office and consider pursuing grants to support diversity research initiatives.

Mizzou recommendations highlighted the value of hiring a more diverse faculty, which is an effort the school recently invested more than $1 million to address.

The report also recommended that Mizzou leaders study the "financial implications of strategic diversity" on campus, among other things.

Recommendations for the University of Missouri System office, and the Kansas City and Rolla campuses were also included. Faculty from all four campuses helped create the recommendations.