Campuswide diversity forum scheduled for Friday

Feb. 12, 2013

by Greg Bump

UW–Madison’s first Inclusive Excellence Winter Symposium will take place Friday, Feb. 15. from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. 

“There is so much happening with diversity, both on our campus and in the nation, that we decided to create a spring semester campuswide diversity forum,” says Damon Williams, vice provost and chief diversity officer. 

“The university has a full agenda working to draft a new campus-wide diversity plan, searching for a new chancellor, and keeping a watchful eye on potential changes in the Supreme Court’s legal interpretation of race as a component of the holistic admissions process.”

Symposium participants also will continue the campus-wide discussion on diversity with a keynote speech by Dr. Nancy “Rusty” Barcelo, president of Northern New Mexico College and one of the nation’s foremost experts on inclusive excellence.

As always, participants in the symposium also will have another opportunity to provide feedback on the future direction the university should take on defining and improving its diversity under the 2013 Diversity Planning process. 

Also speaking at the symposium will be Katherine Lipper, a policy and legal advisor at the Education Counsel. Lipper will present on the case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court, Fisher vs. the University of Texas, Austin.

An ad hoc group, convened by Provost Paul DeLuca, will make recommendations regarding questions that governance groups might address following the Supreme Court decision, expected in June. Williams and Joanne Berg, vice provost of enrollment management, co-chair the group.

“We have an unwavering commitment to diversity at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, with the core value that a diverse social and classroom experience enhances the student life on this campus,” DeLuca says. “Should the court rule that race can not be weighed as a factor in our enrollment decisions there may be a need to adjust policies, but we should also be prepared to take steps to ensure we can continue to achieve diversity goals.”

The Fisher case began in 2008 when two students, both white, sued the University of Texas at Austin, claiming that its admissions policy was discriminatory.  One of the students later dropped her suit, though Abigail Fisher has pursued the case to the Supreme Court. The court heard arguments on the case in November.

Friday’s symposium will take place in the lower level dining room of Lowell Hall, 610 Langdon St. Register online.