College of Coastal Georgia News
The College of Coastal Georgia opposes racism and discrimination of any kind and believes that racism and its impact on people of color have no place in our community. One of the ways that the College will develop actions and strategies to drive deep and meaningful change is through the newly established Commission on Diversity and Inclusion.
The Commission on Diversity and Inclusion will advise the president of the College on issues regarding the creation of policies, practices, and outreach that promotes a more diverse and inclusive campus community. The Commission is charged with driving cultural and institutional change through exploration, education, understanding, and relationship-building.
Responsibilities of the Commission include creating and implementing long-term practices that promote diversity and inclusion; monitoring campus climate around diversity issues and providing programs for education and dialogue; reviewing College policies; and serving as a campus resource for issues and initiatives. Director of Diversity Initiatives Quinton Staples will serve as chair and the Commission will be comprised of representatives from staff, faculty, and the student body.
Because we live in an ever-changing culturally diverse, global society, Staples said, every institution needs infrastructure to help them stay flexible enough to respond appropriately to changes.
"For me, the Commission is essential to helping the College create a thriving environment for the diversity we support and welcome," Staples said. "In addition, the Commission helps the College put its values into action across the campus. In so doing, the College can support best practices in diversity and inclusion at every level and coordinate those initiatives from a central place."
College of Coastal Georgia President Michelle Johnston is eager to receive the Commission's recommendations for meaningful progress.
"The events that have occurred over the past few months in our community and beyond involving the deaths of Black Americans have sparked anger, hurt, and fear. They have brought about necessary discussions on race relations and the work that still needs to be done to achieve equality," Johnston said. "With the establishment of the Commission on Diversity and Inclusion, we will find ways that the College can be better, stronger, and a more active leader in the fight to end racism and ensure a safe, supportive environment for all members of our community. We understand that there is vital work that needs to be done—and we will get it done together."
Staples is most looking forward to the Commission developing long-term strategies that will help the College be a leader in diversity and inclusion. He believes the College is uniquely positioned to be a model for this within the University System of Georgia and for the Brunswick area.
"In terms of how we can self-assess, we need to continue to have difficult conversations and move collectively towards creating more inclusive communities," he said. "Given the resources of the College, we can help move the needle towards equitable communities."
Recently, the College held virtual listening sessions, moderated by Staples, for staff, faculty, and students that focused on the current climate of diversity issues and race relations. The sessions allowed participants to share their experiences, concerns, recommendations for improvement, and for campus leadership to better understand issues impacting the campus community. Along with the listening sessions, there are plans for mandatory training and ongoing dialogue.