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RIT unveils 'action plan' with new diversity and inclusion initiatives

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Rochester Institute of Technology has released a new plan it says is designed to guide efforts about diversity and inclusion over the next several years.

It’s called The Action Plan for Race and Ethnicity and it will include new programs and initiatives designed to help create equal access and opportunities for students, faculty and staff.

RIT’s Vice President and Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, Keith Jenkins, said that the university had already been focusing on some of these goals over a number of years.

But he said the social and racial justice protests and rallies held over the last year spurred an increased focus on making RIT a more diverse, equitable and inclusive university.

“Diversity education is a part of those practices also, where anyone who serves on a search committee will have been educated and diversity education about best practices for recruiting a diverse staff or diverse faculty, so that is going to be interwoven through everything that we do,” Jenkins said.

The new plan has three main pillars focusing on leadership, culture and communication; African American, Latino American and Native American student enrollment and success; and faculty and staff recruitment, retention and advancement.

Jenkins said that RIT will continue to get feedback from the campus community as this plan evolves.

“In terms of focus groups, listening sessions, and issues that we have not even envisioned in this plan, may arise as we continue to go forward in this space. And as those new issues arise, then we will begin to address those in an intentional way, at the university,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins said that RIT faculty and staff have already given unanimous support for the new plan. The next step is for the student government to vote on the plan this fall.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.