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2011 Winter Issue 8 (March 4, 2011)

Town hall tackles issues raised by Campus Climate Survey

March 4, 2011
By Nicholas Bellos
Enticing students with naan and Kurry Kabab, Carleton’s Community Equity and Diversity Initiative (CEDI) held a town hall meeting in the Great Hall this past Tuesday to discuss discrimination, bias, and harassment on campus. CEDI’s Action Team on Campus Concerns and Values and the CSA sponsored the event. The meeting was meant to inform and brainstorm ideas about how the College deals with inappropriate and threatening behavior both in and outside the classroom. “We want a good conversa- tion about issues and we want the broader community to understand what the action teams that work under the CEDI umbrella are working on,” said Associate Dean of Students Julie Thornton before the meeting got underway. Thornton is the chair of CEDI’s Action Team on Com- munity Standards. A mix of students, faculty and staff headed the discussion, which started with a review of the Campus Climate Survey results from Spring 2008. The survey documented student, faculty and staff views about the health of Carleton’s classroom and social environment. CEDI was created to address the issues raised in the survey. “The Climate Survey is still relevant and it is important for the campus to understand why it is still relevant,” said Joy Kluttz, the Director of the Office of Intercultural and International Life, who helped lead the discussion. Along with Kluttz, Associate Professor of History Bill North, Gwen Neumeister ’12 and Noe Hernandez ’11 briefly explained CEDI’s work since the Climate Survey. The committee aims to create a more unified and clear process for mediation and better support resources for people who have experienced hostile and offensive conduct. Looking to other liberal arts colleges such as Reed, Kenyon, and Macalester as models, North said Carleton hopes to centralize the process. The majority of the meeting was spent listening to student comments. CSA representatives and CEDI members listened and took notes at each table as students discussed their concerns. Participants stressed the importance of respect, fairness, trans- parency, and equal representation in the mediation process. Others said they wanted to see the procedure regarding discrimination, bias, and harassment emulate the structure and accessibility of the recently changed sexual misconduct policy. All agreed that regardless of the end product, the College should ensure that the whole campus understands the complaint processes and that the procedure leads to quick resolutions. Justin Moor ’12 spoke on behalf of his group near the conclusion of the meeting. “We should be trying to repair relations, rather than condemn and cast people out,” he said.

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