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Diversity Committee

UT Libraries Diversity Committee Meeting Minutes November 17, 2011

Diversity Committee November 17, 2011

Attendance – Michelle Brannen, Rabia Gibbs, Annazette Houston, Matt Jordan, Thura Mack, Marva Rudolph, Kynita Stringer-Stanback


  • Veterans Day program went well.  Michelle and Marva participated. Marva was there before the mid-day program and that it had a small gathering.  We want to send feedback as a committee to thank them and to suggest that they consider how they might share to a larger audience by streaming the name reading.  Michelle will draft a feedback letter for them with our thanks and suggestions.
  • Matt announced that his sister has a developmental disability and he recently took her to the Special Olympics.


  • Thura does not know if there is a budget for the diversity committee.  She met with Steve to ask if we do have a budget and, if so, how much.  She is waiting to hear back with information.  Traditionally we have not had a committee budget – we just ask for funding as needed for programs.  Do we know how much we’ve spent annually?  Thura gave an example that they asked for $500 for Steve’s reception.  There are several programs such as cultural enrichment or international festival where no funding has been asked for previously.  The question will be how much to ask for in a budget – so we would need to explore what programs we are interested to know what to ask for.

Diversity Training suggestion

  • Marva’s office used to do diversity training and had a diversity trainer but they do not do as much now.  There is a faculty member in sociology department that does some.  It depends on the type of diversity training you are interested in.  There may be some people on campus who can but it might cost more to bring in someone nationally known.
  • Kynita was thinking about an outside organization coming in to do training.  She wasn’t sure if we wanted leadership training for the members of the diversity committee.  She wasn’t sure if we are interested in being diversity leaders on campus or just facilitators for diversity.  If we do want this to be a leadership group, then we could provide them opportunities to take on that leadership role.
  • Kynita suggested that something we could do really easily might be safe zone training.  There might be other training opportunities on campus.  If we are going to facilitate this talk of diversity then we need some training and have a good, strong message and all be well versed and grounded in diversity issues, not only from our personal experience.
  • Do we want these programs open to just the committee, library staff, or even open to the campus?  It depends on the type of program we’re looking for.
  • Marva explained that we have some diversity coordinators in various colleges on campus.  Maybe it would be good for the diversity committee to call a meeting with those folks so we can all share information about what we’re doing and to find out about opportunities for training they may know about and also to see if we can coordinate efforts for some events.
  • Kynita suggested that if they are working out there in isolation then working with them we could help make the library a central hub and a good place to focus diversity efforts on campus.  Can we bring more of these people into the committee.
  • Thura shared that when the committee was first formed, we did have some training but it has been quite some time for training.  She does think that we need to update ourselves as a group and get on the same page.
  • Matt suggested that some of these diversity coordinators on campus might want to work together on our topic.
  • Kynita reminded us that it’s important for us to have a unified message about diversity.  Our individual experiences are great but we also need to have this baseline group understanding.
  • Matt asked if we would you see this group needing some training before meeting with other diversity people on campus.  I think we all agreed that we could meet with them and do training in either order – but that we might ask them about their training.
  • Rabia will compile a list of all the diversity representatives on campus for us.  Marva will send her information.
  • Thura asked when are we thinking we would want to meet with them?  Are we thinking Dec or Jan?
  • Annazette said if we did it in January, we could do it early in January before classes start.
  • Maybe Thurs, Jan 5.  We need to put together what we want from this, give them questions before hand, and come together and talk.  One thing we can ask is what are the issues they see their populations facing.  We can also ask about what training they have done or that they might give.  We can also ask what their role is and if they are interested in collaborating with us for events and programs.  Matt suggested that we could also share with them the topic we’re thinking of for the fall and get their opinions on it.
  • Thura said we have never done this.  She has met with some of them one-on-one but not in this capacity.
  • Kynita suggested for training that we could ask the dean if he would be willing to send members from the diversity committee to diversity conferences
  • Thura mentioned that we need to put this training into a framework – outline the steps we want to take for this training and some outcomes we want from the training.  Once we do that, what are the next steps.
  • Where do we want to be in December for our meeting? – Annazette suggested we invite them now to set up the meeting and when we meet in December, we can plan what the agenda will be for that meeting.

Topic for programming – Culture and Ethnicity: the social construction of race

  • Do we want this for spring 2012 or wait until fall 2012?
  • We talked about waiting for the fall so we can have time to plan events, to work with other diversity groups on campus, and have time to plan.
  • Documentaries in the Library has already set the series for the spring so if we wait for the fall, we could get this and other groups to potentially be on board with our topic.
  • Thura asked how are we going to begin developing this concept.
  • Thura also reminded us we do need to have some events and such planned for the spring, even while working on this larger series in the fall.  There is a Black Issues conference coming up – Feb 5 – but they need an abstract in December.
  • Black Issues Conference – what do we want to propose?  Kynita suggested changing the name to “culture and ethnicity: the social construction of identity.”  We were talking about putting a panel together for the presentation – the panel would bring different people together to talk about their experiences with perception on campus.


Suggestion from Martha Rudolph – about Immigration as a topic

  • January 23 – Immigration – for the library, baker center, etc. – is a topic coming in the spring with various programs for the spring.
  • 1st Writers in the Program is Jan 23 – the series is going to be focused on immigration in the spring

Next Meeting December 15th.  Please send agenda items.

We will bounce the idea of the Black Issues Conference via email since the abstract is due before our next meeting.


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