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UMD Renews Commitment to Comprehensive Diversity and Inclusion Efforts

May 3, 2018
Contacts: 

Katie Lawson, 301-405-4622

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland will begin implementation on the recommendations of the Joint President Senate Inclusion and Respect Task Force, renewing and expanding its commitment to diversity and inclusion. The Task Force’s recommendations, endorsed by the University Senate and approved by UMD President Wallace D. Loh, include a comprehensive diversity and inclusion initiative that centers on nine key areas: university values; prevention and education; hate/bias incident response; centralization; communication; evaluation and assessment; free speech and freedom of expression; current policies and guidelines; and resources and implementation. 

"We can and will make our campus more inclusive and respectful of every person's human dignity," said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. ​"We'll do this together, based on our core values of excellence and equity, on our commitment to civil discourse and academic freedom, and with the additional resources needed. The job of implementing the recommendations of the Joint Task Force belongs to all of us." 

“All public universities are wrestling with balancing the rights of free speech and academic freedom with the values of diversity and inclusiveness. The task force has carefully crafted a cutting-edge conduct policy, free speech statement, and values statement that we believe protect all of those rights and values,” said Lucy Dalglish, one of the three co-chairs of the task force and dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. 

“It was vitally important for us to listen to a variety of voices from our campus community. These rich conversations were incredibly valuable and directly informed our recommendations to create a more inclusive and respectful campus,” said Warren Kelley, another co-chair and assistant vice president in the Division of Student Affairs.

Key highlights of the task force recommendations include: 

  • Adopt a university values statement that will be ingrained into the culture of the university and the experience of all members of our community. Values outlined in the statement include building a community that is: united, respectful, secure and safe, inclusive, accountable, and empowered and open to growth.
  • Approve the proposed Policy on Threatening and Intimidating Conduct, which would prohibit "threatening or intimidating acts motivated in whole or in part because of an individual or group's actual or perceived protected status."
  • Adopt a statement on free speech values, which outlines the importance of promoting and protecting free expression, while considering the consequences that may result from hate speech. 
  • Conduct biennial climate surveys of faculty, staff, and students to better understand individual experiences in a variety of dimensions. The results of the university’s first campus climate survey, which took place in February 2018, show that while the majority of respondents feel welcome at the university, there are differences based on one’s racial or other personal identification. The survey’s findings can be found here.
  • Develop a comprehensive prevention and education initiative on diversity, inclusion and respect for faculty, staff and students consisting of a blend of mandatory and voluntary programming. 
  • Develop a comprehensive communication strategy that centralizes resources and prominently disseminates information related to equity, diversity, and inclusion to the entire campus community in a manner that is transparent, timely, and sensitive to all constituents. 

The President’s Office has directed campus leadership to begin working on the recommendations immediately. Some of this work is already underway or builds upon existing efforts, while other items will take longer to plan and implement.

To view the Task Force’s full report, visit: https://go.umd.edu/inclusion-respect-recs