Diversity Leader Named

Photo courtesy of Newpaltz.edu.

On Wednesday, May 4, President Donald P. Christian announced that a Diversity & Inclusion Plan Task Force that will lead in the development of the SUNY New Paltz Diversity & Inclusion Plan. The plan is to be submitted to SUNY administration before Nov. 1, 2016.

Executive Director of Compliance and Campus Climate and Title IX Coordinator Tanhena Pacheco Dunn has been appointed as Chief Diversity Officer. She has already been successful in increasing applicant diversity by revamping search processes and helping search committee members think more broadly in terms of candidate strengths.

Pacheco Dunn’s past efforts include the LGBTQ task force in 2013, her lead in the development of a SUNY-wide policy later turned state law addressing proper response and support to victims of sexual violence and responded to issues this year in the Black Studies Department.

Pacheco Dunn’s official start date as Chief Diversity Officer will be Aug. 1, 2016.

The 21 member task force is comprised mostly of volunteers including students, faculty, staff, administrators and alumni.The co-chairs are Rita Celariste (Assistant Director of the Educational Opportunity Program) and Professor Reynolds Scott-Childress (History); their research and teaching has largely focused on the history of race as a social construction and dealing with the difficult issues that students face as a result.

The task force plans to meet before the end of the semester, to begin working over the summer and gather input via the campus community in September regarding essential elements of the plan. The draft plan for administrative review will be completed by Oct. 15, 2016 and will be discussed with the task force and revised as warranted following the review.

After final approval by Christian, the plan will be submitted for SUNY review by the Nov. 1 deadline this year.

Christian encourages those interested to reach out and said in a press release on Wednesday that the plan will be strongest if it is built on community involvement and input.

More information on the charge to the task force including background and timeline, SUNY requirements for Diversity & Inclusion plans, Christian’s expectations for the process, the SUNY Campus Guide for Strategic Diversity and Inclusion Plan Development and some additional resources will be available on the Campus Diversity website.