Listening & Learning

Listening & Learning

Learning is a lifelong process, and adding to your social justice toolkit is something we can all continue to do. Here at OEI, we love our podcasts, and would like to share a few you may find of particular interest as you enhance your skills. Go ahead and add them to your list for the drive home!

Intersection, with Jamil Smith

Another Round

About Race

Latino USA

We Want the Airwaves, by Nia King

Conversations with People Who Hate Me

Pod Save the People with DeRay

Hidden Brain


Code Switch – NPR


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Director’s Corner- October 2017

Director’s Corner- October 2017

As many of you know, beyond a written policy, the university has been working hard on matters pertaining to sexual misconduct not only on our campus, but working state-wide with other constituents.  I think it is important to note that at UD, we have created a climate that encourages reporting which is seen in an increased number of reports over the recent years.

We have established a brand for sexual misconduct, kNOw MORE, that raises awareness about sexual misconduct focusing our efforts on students as well as our employees.  Student Life leads the Sexual Assault Prevention and Education (SAPE) Committee which plans programming and events to further educate our student population in this area.  Finally, we have been working with our campus partners and Greek life to educate chapter leaders on being an active bystander.  This has also been incorporated into this year’s First Year Experience curriculum!

In light of the recent comments from the Department of Education, the university strives to conduct a fair and equitable process for all parties involved in matters of sexual misconduct and I believe our policy reflects that balance.

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Director’s Corner- September 2017

Director’s Corner

Welcome back to another exciting year at UD!  We have been working hard striving towards inclusive excellence during the spring and summer months.  Read what we’ve been up to below.

I am pleased to announce the University of Delaware has adopted a revised non-discrimination policy that applies to all members of the University community and went into effect Aug. 1, 2017.  The policy expresses opposition to discrimination and harassment and prohibits such behavior by anyone on UD’s property, and it assists the University to comply with federal and state civil rights laws in relation to such misconduct.

The new policy brings together the resources, reporting mechanisms and resolution processes for students, faculty, staff, visitors and vendors. It centralizes information and compliance — which was previously located in various policies and departments — to one office on campus: the Office of Equity and Inclusion (OEI).  In addition, the new document outlines the procedure for investigating student cases, which has changed from a full hearing to one-on-one guidance from a trained professional, mirroring the sexual misconduct policy.

The revisions to UD’s policy were made in consultation with a committee charged by myself and Dean of Students, José Riera. The group consisted of University faculty, students and leaders from various units, including Residence Life and Housing, UD Police, Athletics, Center for Black Culture, Office of Student Conduct, Office for International Students and Scholars, Human Resources and Graduate and Professional Education. The President’s Executive Committee approved the policy.

In addition, the University adopted three policies this past academic year that OEI now manages, in an effort to ensure the protection of minors – individuals who have not reached their 18th birthday – while attending programs, camps, and other events held on the University of Delaware property or in University facilities.  The policies are as follows:

  • Minors on campus (sponsored or organized by the University): This policy is applicable for programs sponsored or organized by University employees, volunteers, and/or organizations on behalf of or in the name of the University.
  • Minors on campus (sponsored or organized by third parties): This policy is applicable for programs sponsored or organized by third parties.
  • Reporting of suspected child abuse: This policy addresses the mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse and/or neglect.

Each program is required to register with the University and have adequate sign-in/sign-out procedures and an appropriate number of adult supervisors based on the ages of the participants. Requirements for the staff and volunteers include background checks and training.  For more information about these important policies, please contact Jessica Rickmond, Associate Director, in our office.

I am pleased to announce the updated Statement of Respect & Responsibility as seen here on our Values website.  This statement was a result of the hard work from the members of the Respect & Civility Committee charged by the VP, Diversity with oversight from OEI.   The final membership of that committee is outlined below:


The members of the Respect Committee include:

Communications & Public Affairs Holly Norton
Disability Support Services Anne Jannarone
Equity and Inclusion Jennifer Daniels
  Jessica Rickmond*
Facilities, Real Estate & Auxiliary Services Sheila Boyle
  Jo Alice Casapulla
  Banlusack Phommachanh
Graduate Student Senate Cesar Caro
Human Resources Patty Fogg*
Information Technology Kate Webster
LGBTQ Caucus Karla Bell
The Libraries Julie Brewer
Student Government Association Matthew Rojas
Student Life Katie Rizzo
UDPD Jeff Evans


Finally, it is my hope for those that live, work and learn in our community to treat one another with dignity, respect and civility at all times.  Working in the office of equity and inclusion, I see too many situations that result in matters of us simply not being kind to one another, not respectful to each other and not civil to those that work and learn with us.  As the esteemed Mayo Angelou stated, “When we know better, we do better.”  I know that we as Blue Hens can and will rise to make this year a happy, healthy and safe 2017-2018.


Susan L. Groff, Ed. D.

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Considerations for Allies

In our current social and political climate, there is no question that we have work left to do when it comes to combating the oppressive forces that pull at the very fabric of our identity as a nation. For those of us in seemingly privileged positions, these forces may not be daily considerations as we go about our lives, heading to and from work, and tackling the daily projects that occupy our time. However, that is all the more reason why it is important that we accept the responsibility we have as allies for fostering change and promoting inclusive excellence.

Very often, as Jenn and I speak with members of the UD community, we are presented with a very straight-forward, but far from simple question. “What can I do?” This is feeling of confusion can be overwhelming in the face of so much turmoil and so many concerns. It can seem a daunting task as we speak with our colleagues and truly begin to realize just how different our life experiences can be from the person one office over. However, there are many direct strategies we can employ as we strive to be allies for social justice!

Assume oppression is everywhere…because it is everywhere. Just as we breath the air around us but forget it’s there, it’s important to remember that racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of oppression are everywhere, and they influence all of our actions. It’s important to think critically about how these forces influence our actions, as well as those of our colleagues, family members, and friends. Once we recognize who has a voice, who doesn’t have a voice, and how those voices are received, we can begin to understand the scope of oppression in our daily lives.

Recognize how oppression is discussed. Do we talk about these oppressive forces, or do we hear folks denying their presence and impact in our lives? Are people making other excuses for oppressive behavior? Are racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forces being downplayed around us? If and when we can answer yes to these questions, then we begin to see not only why it’s a difficult conversation to have, but more importantly why it’s such an important conversation to have with others.

Notice who is at the table. When you walk into meetings, attend events, or go about your work day, notice who is present and who isn’t present. Notice who has power in those settings and who doesn’t have power. Recognize not only who is speaking, but how their comments are received and respected.

Avoid personal attacks. There is a big difference between stating that something that someone SAID was racist/sexist/homophobic, and calling that person racist/sexist/homophobic. Focus on comments and actions, and avoid personal attacks. You can discuss the nature of a comment, but you can’t support a personal attack on someone’s character.

Be ready to slip. All of us slip up from time-to-time. No matter how long you spend discussing issues of oppression, you are going to say something inappropriate and instantly regret it. Be open to that feedback without getting defensive. Being an ally means constantly learning better to do better.

Build alliances. We can’t do this work alone, and we can’t do it in silos. Find others who are committed and collaborate on projects. Attend workshops. Read more. Learn more. Look for opportunities to educate family and friends around you. If you are a parent, talk to your children about these ideas. They see it and experience it everyday too, and it’s important for them to have the knowledge and language to address it as well.

There is no quick fix for the problems tugging at the fabric of our society, but finding our place in the solution is an important step. We all have a role to play in creating a community based on inclusive excellence, and we are ask excited as ever to participate in that journey with you!

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Hacking the Gender Pay Gap

Technological innovation has addressed some of the largest problems in the world over the years. We have focused our collective computing intelligence on a great many issues, ranging from education to environmental protection. However, I do not normally associate an intentional combination of 1s and 0s with solutions to issues such as sexism, racism, and homophobia. However, this past weekend, I had the unique opportunity to think about how to combine my vocation and my passion to address a nagging social problem that politicians, educators, and researchers have yet to fully solve. My goal was to hack the pay gap.

More precisely, I was part of a team of diverse individuals that came together as part of The Breaking the Mold Hackathon. The event, which was organized by the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Sloan Women in Management, was designed to “hack” unconscious bias in many different forms and generate real world solutions beyond simply discussing issues and concerns. Although the event was modeled on more traditional hackathons, which are typically more tech-centered, and tasked with developing technology-based solutions, this event took a slightly different and more structured path towards solutions.

I prepared for the event by broadening my general knowledge and prior experience exploring the gender pay gap from a feminist multicultural perspective, and looking to business and industry for common narratives and responses to the problem. Several significant solutions, including pay transparency, the elimination of negotiation during the offer process, and providing women with negotiation training, have all been proposed and attempted in recent years by large and small companies and organizations. They all offer a partial solution, but do not necessarily get to the heart of the problem, namely the unconscious bias that causes employers to pay women less for the same work in the first place.

Our group chose to re-conceptualize the gender pay gap as a compensation equity gap. This notion better takes into account not only significant differences in base salary, but also benefits, promotions, retirement packages, bonuses, and other aspects of compensation that traditionally disadvantage women. We developed a software platform that would allow organizational leaders to assess their workforce and directly target the actions and environment within their organizations to effect real change. This change would become a priority within the organization by linking it to the very compensation of organizational leaders themselves.

The idea generation, development, and implementation process was fast-paced, buoyed by diverse perspectives from participants in various fields and industries, and resulted in some highly innovative thinking. Within higher education especially, we spend a great deal of time discussing problems, convening meetings and forming committees, and doing research. All of these pieces are crucial to the process of social change, but they are only as important as the priority that is placed on action.

The Equal Pay Act was passed in 1964. We have been discussing these discrepancies for over 50 years, and have moved the needle very little. This event was an important reminder that talking will only get you so far. Not only are we capable of acting, building, creating, and changing, but we must do so. We must continue to push ourselves to think about how we can hack the problems that plague us and strive to create real, tangible change in the process. Thus, my challenge to each of you is to think about how you can move from discussing to hacking!

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