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September 2019 Minutes

Meeting minutes for the September 2019 DCEC meeting.

Diversity & Community Enhancement Committee (DCEC) Meeting Minutes

September 10, 2019

Chambers Building 221

Chair: SeriaShia Chatters

2:00pm – 4:00 pm 


Attendees: Seria Chatters, Rhea Banerjee, Christine Andrus, John Holst, Maria Vetter, Misty Woods, Shannon Telenko, Cate Deegan, Abigail Taplar, Carlos Zalaquett, Julia Bryan, Michelle Knotts, Lisa Hopkins, Holly Klock, Hollie Kulago, Hyunsoo Cho, Sarah Cotter, Kate Woodman, Bonnie Richardson, Efrain Marimón, Deb Brooks, Christine McDonald, Amity Maines, Alani Austin, Betsy Campbell, Jonte’ Taylor


Welcome and Opening Remarks


Old Business: 

  1. Attendees introduced themselves at the beginning of the meeting.
  2. Reviewed and approved the minutes from April 2019



New Business: 

1)  General

1. Efrain discussed about the new equity and inclusivity team whose goals are to obtain feedback from faculty and students on how to support and provide resources for students, keeping an equity mindset. The goals of this team would potentially support the school district initiatives as well. Seria spoke about an 'equity toolkit' that is used in the school district as something that is proactive rather than reactive - one that looks at a continuum of equity. This toolkit identifies where equity moves around in an organization - Seria suggested that this toolkit can also be used to identify where the college is in terms of equity and how it can move up the continuum of equity. Carlos suggested a more systemic look at equity and inclusivity. Christine (Andrus) spoke about possibly utilizing the new Dean's help in ensuring that everyone takes part in equity/inclusivity training workshops and are held accountable. Efrain discussed brainstorming ways to make department heads be in charge - Bonnie suggested the staff subcommittee reach out to all staff and ensure intentional use of equity/inclusivity, starting with attending training workshops. Seria spoke to the essentiality of professional development and putting parameters in place to build equity and inclusivity into the bones of the system - DCEC's involvement here could be providing regular offerings of training to make equity more integrated.

2. John and Maria presented an event they are planning for March 2020 – commemorating the 70th anniversary of the publication of Noble Laureate Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda’s, Canto General (Universal Song). This event is meant to be educational as well as provide a unifying theme in terms of the Americas. The event will be a two-part, two-day event where part one will involve a speaker talking about the importance and impact of Neruda’s Canto General, and part two will be a multilingual educational event with music performances, recitation of excerpts from the poem (with Canto General songs as background music), and possibly choral and dance performances. The event raises the question of what it means to be American.

a)   Maria and John discussed about endorsement for this event – PSU libraries has already provided their endorsement, as has the Spanish department. Seria brought up the motion to support this endorsement and the committee approved. 

b)  The main question Maria presented was whether this event should be a small or large event – based on this, further details of the event can be planned (such as space needed for the event). Additionally, Maria also spoke about having an idea of how many people want to help out with the event in the following meeting.

c)   Carlos suggested integrating the topic of Difficult Conversations into this event; addressing identity and other issues. 

d)  Misty suggested that since the library was involved, there could be a book club or a reading arranged ahead of time around the Canto General.

e)   Deb raised the point about having food available at this event. Seria said that if the event was held earlier in the year, there would be more budget available for food and other expenses related to this event.

3. Christine (Andrus) spoke on behalf of Kaleena Selfridge about the Safer People Safer Places training – creating a safer and more inclusive environment for gender and sexual diversity. This training has been done before for up to 40 people, and can be done again in the Spring semester.

4. Seria brought up the events that have been done by DCEC in the previous years and discussed the ones that can become staple events – held on an annual basis. Discussion took place on the following events: Difficult conversations; bullying among diverse populations; DCEC ice cream social; Diversity and Education conference; and the staff retreat. 

a)     Seria talked about last year’s Difficult Conversations event and said that there were many topics in the previous year, but now focus would be on immigration. 

b)    Carlos spoke about the Diversity and Education conference and how students usually present excellent work at this event, and therefore this should be made a staple event. He also spoke about the surprise that students are graduating from the College of Education without training in bullying. These cultural events should be enforced, and hopefully with the support of the Dean.

c)     Hollie spoke about how these events could ideally begin with an acknowledgment of our use of indigenous lands – how we use these lands but do not see the original occupants here.

d)    Small group discussions took place around the staple events. One of the suggestions from Seria’s group was having podcasts and fun, relatable articles around the topics of diversity.

e)     Seria made the suggestion that a survey could be sent out to everyone to collect opinions on which events should become staple events.

5. Seria discussed the issue of underutilization of mental health resources by students. She said that most students (and staff/faculty) are not aware that there is a clinic in the Counselor Education department. 

a)     Carlos emphasized that this clinic (The Herr Clinic) is open to all students, and most importantly there are international students who provide services here. The counselors at the clinic have been compared to counselors across the country and the ratings are positive for the clinic counselors – but no students are aware of this.

b)    Rhea discussed that mental health resources are given to students during orientation but these resources forgotten as the school year progresses, and international students in particular become hesitant about approaching counselors due to lack of information and/or awareness. There should ideally be workshops throughout the year to increase awareness of these mental health resources.

c)     Seria discussed putting information in syllabi so that faculty can talk about the resources with students in their individual classes. Deb talked about how she has addressed mental health issues in her classes and has found that once she talks about this, 10% of the students come up to talk to her about mental health issues. Seria suggested making mental health resources awareness a staple event.

6. Some of the committee members raised the issue of meeting times. Some DCEC members are usually unable to attend meetings because they teach on Tuesdays and/or Thursdays – some flexibility of timing would be helpful. Seria said this would be included in the survey being sent out (on staple events) to learn which times work best for everyone in the week. Meeting times may be more flexible in the future.

7. Amity brought up the DCEC budget – what this will be for the year, and whether it can be increased. Seria said this is being decided now – have to talk to the new Dean about this.



2)  Staff Subcommittee

  1. Previous chair of staff subcommittee left the position – search for someone else who can lead the subcommittee.


3)  Undergraduate subcommittee



4)  Faculty and GA subcommittee



The Meeting adjourned at 4:00 pm .



Next meeting: October 8, 2019 Tuesday, 2:00-4:00 pm, Chambers 221