Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at SUNY Empire State College

Mission Statement

SUNY Empire State College supports the development, promotion and implementation of diversity, equity and inclusion policies, practices and structured programs at the College that are dedicated to creating a college community that is favorable to the development of the human potential of all students, faculty mentors, staff, and administrators. As a diverse community of learners and leaders, Empire State College respects all aspects of human difference, including but not limited to, age, disability, race, ethnicity, gender, gender expression and identity, language heritage, learning style, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, socio-economic status, status as a veteran and worldview.

All members of the SUNY Empire State College community must respect federal and state laws and SUNY policies with regard to discrimination on the basis of race, sex, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, age, disability or marital or veteran status. To ensure that all members of the College community understand and comply with federal and state equal opportunity and affirmative action laws, policies and guidelines, SUNY Empire State College’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts will focus on compliance and equity of services and will implement trainings, professional development programs and strategies to promote cultural competency and diversity awareness.

Ultimately, SUNY Empire State College is committed to the following ideals:

  • equal educational and employment opportunities,
  • equitable employment and educational practices,
  • meaningful academic and intellectual inclusion in curriculum, research and service,
  • the creation of support systems that facilitate the utilization of all segments of New York State’s diverse communities and
  • the holistic integration into higher education of New York State residents living in underserved areas, people from populations that are underrepresented in higher education, and students who have experienced educational and economic challenges.

Vision Statement

SUNY Empire State College aspires to become a national leader in higher education that embraces diversity as an integral component of quality academic and social experiences that prepare students for success in an increasingly multicultural, multiracial, and multilingual society. Through both general and targeted initiatives, SUNY Empire State College’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts will strengthen the College’s capacity to create the highest quality educational experience for Empire State College students who represent the rich array of human and intellectual diversity that is the hallmark of New York State. By fully embracing the ideal that no segment of New York State’s diverse population should be underutilized, SUNY Empire State College will demonstrate leadership by developing concrete programs, policies and practices that promote diversity, equity and inclusion in all aspects of the College’s mission and work.

The chief diversity officer for institutional equity and inclusion serves as a resource to SUNY Empire State College faculty, staff and students and is charged with promoting and furthering the college's commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Information on various diversity, equity and inclusion issues and related resources are available to all members of the college community.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council History, Description and Charge

Institutional History and Background

In 2015, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher issued a New SUNY Diversity Policy that requires each SUNY campus to: (1) hire a Chief Diversity Officer and (2) issue a diversity, equity and inclusion plan.  As stated in its March 2016 Campus Strategic Diversity and Inclusion Plan Guide, the SUNY System Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) recommends the creation of “a diversity council with broad and deep representation” because “[a] campus based diversity council can help to shape conversations and relationships to support diversity planning and advance strategic goals.”

SUNY Empire State College submitted its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) plan to the SUNY ODEI in Oct. 2017.  DEI short-term Goal #1 calls for the College to “establish two College-wide bodies including: (1) an Empire State College (ESC) Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council and (2) a Title IX Awareness and Compliance Committee with broad and deep representation across the College and throughout New York State.” 

On Oct. 16, 2017, the College’s Chief Diversity Officer for Institutional Equity and Inclusion and Title IX Coordinator Elliott Dawes extended an open invitation to all SUNY Empire State College employees to participate in the newly formed Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Council and/or the Title IX Awareness and Compliance Committee (TIXC).  Since November 2017, the ESC DEIC has met on the second Thursday of each month at 11 a.m., and the ESC TIX Committee has met on the second Friday of each month at 10 a.m. The College’s CDO/Title IX Coordinator records meeting minutes for both the DEI Council and the TIXC.    

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Council Charge

As stated in its DEI mission statement, “SUNY Empire State College supports the development, promotion and implementation of diversity, equity and inclusion policies, practices and structured programs at the College that are dedicated to creating a college community that is favorable to the development of the human potential of all students, faculty mentors, staff, and administrators.”  To promote the values expressed in the College’s DEI Mission and Vision Statements, the College convened a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council (DEIC) to guide the implementation of the thirty (30) short-term, intermediate and long-term goals stated in the College’s DEI Plan submitted to the SUNY System Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Oct. 2017.

As of July 2019, the members of the DEI Council are:

  • Frances Boyce, Mentor, Hauppauge
  • Bidhan Chandra, Mentor, Saratoga Springs
  • Elliott Dawes, Chief Diversity Officer, Manhattan 
  • Lisa D'Adamo-Weinstein, Dean of Students, Saratoga Springs
  • Desiree Drindak, Interim Director, OVME, Saratoga Springs
  • Sara Farmer, Mentor, Syracuse/East Syracuse
  • David Fullard, Mentor, Manhattan
  • Troy Jones, Mentor, Staten Island/Manhattan (In Memoriam)
  • Joseph King, Director of Institutional Effectiveness, Office of Decision Support, Saratoga Springs
  • Lear Matthews, Mentor, Manhattan
  • Sophia Mavrogiannis, Director of Academic Support, Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies, Manhattan
  • Dianne Ramdeholl, Mentor, School for Graduate Studies, Manhattan
  • Rhianna Rogers, Mentor, Cheektowaga-Buffalo
  • Kerianne Silver, Director of Collegewide Student Services/Title IX Coordinator, Saratoga Springs
  • Karen Tanski Hewison, Senior Director of Marketing and Creative Services, OEM, Saratoga Springs
  • Nadine Wedderburn, Mentor, Schenectady
  • Christopher Whann, Executive Director for Regional Operations, Hartsdale/Manhattan
  • Melissa Zgliczynski, Director of Accessibility Resources & Services, Buffalo, NY

ESC SPARC

SUNY Empire State College - SPARC - Sexual and Interpersonal Violence Prevention and Response Course

ESC SPARC is a project of the ESC DEI Council and the ESC Title IX Awareness and Compliance Committee (TIXC).  SPARC is SUNY’s Sexual and Interpersonal Violence Prevention and Response Course developed by SUNY, CUNY, and the New York State Department of Health to provide Title IX online training to SUNY students and employees.  DEI Council and TIXC members endorse ESC SPARC as an important online tool that will be used throughout the College to increase awareness of Title IX and Article 129B, the New York State “Enough is Enough” law.  The SUNY System Administration provided Empire State College administrators with materials and technical assistance to adapt SPARC for the benefit of the Empire State College community.  Carolina Kim, Lead Educational Technologist and TIXC member, and John Hughes, Director of Media Production and Resources, have led the effort to adapt SPARC for ESC use. 

To access the ESC SPARC online training course, please visit: ESC SPARC

Discrimination and Harassment Policies

Questions regarding the materials found on this website may be sent to:

Elliott Dawes, chief diversity officer for institutional equity and inclusion
Office of the President
2 Union Ave.
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
518-587-2100, ext. 1293 or ext. 2265
fax: 518-587-2886
elliott.dawes@esc.edu

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