Last spring as senators, we sat down together in response to the topic of inclusivity at the University of Portland, and we tactfully met with various members of the University: students, ASUP senators, administrators, faculty, Redefine Purple Pride, GSP and other groups. We created a focus group dedicated to the topic of inclusion and how we could best legislatively address the needs of the students and show our support as the student body representatives. In doing so, we wrote Resolution 13-06: Non-Discrimination Policy that had a record of 12 sponsors. The purpose of this resolution was to urge the University to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Nondiscrimination Policy for students, faculty and staff to give them the legal protection they are seeking. A second resolution, Resolution 13-10: Office of Inclusion, was written to address the larger cultural shift that needs to happen to make individuals feel comfortable and safe on our campus. Current junior and Villa Maria Hall resident assistant Derek Block led Resolution 13-10. This resolution calls for the creation of an Office of Inclusion that would essentially be dedicated to addressing how we as a community approach diversity, especially in terms of gender identity, sexual preference, ethnicity, etc. to help make the University campus a more welcoming space for all of those at the University.
Both of these resolutions were passed by the ASUP Senate and sent to Fr. Bill Beauchamp, who then forwarded both resolutions to the Presidential Advisory Committee on Inclusion (PACI). We believe his action shows the support for continued dialogue around the issue of inclusion.
Here is an update of what has happened over the past year and summer, and what will happen next:
· The Presidential Advisory Committee on Inclusion (PACI), led by Paul Myers and 10 members:
- faculty, staff and students launched research and consultation to further study the topic of inclusion.
· Listening sessions were hosted by the PACI.
· Testimonies from the listening sessions were forwarded to Fr. Bill.
· PACI committee provided a report with recommendations for action to Fr. Bill.
· Recommendations included a comprehensive analysis of all areas that may be of concern: race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, age, disability or familial status.
· The report with recommendations will be shared with the Board of Regents at their September 2013 meeting.
· After consultation with the Board of Regents and a final approval, Fr. Bill will bring the recommendations from the PACI and Board of Regents to his Leadership Cabinet.
· Responses and recommendations will be shared with the UP community.
· Fr. Bill and his Cabinet will work on the implementation of the committee’s findings.
Every individual at the University of Portland deserves the right to feel safe and be a part of our community. Our Executive Board, along with many administrators, is working towards this change every single day. The process and work that has been done has further enhanced the sense of community we hope every Pilot experiences. We urge all students to be patient as this process is finalized, and we would like you to know that this is being worked on every single day. We are here to help you and will continue to provide updates as this process continues. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions, comments or concerns.