By Brittany DeKorte
It seemed fitting that the same board of trustees meeting in which the new board members took their oath, bringing the total number of women on the board from three to four, and the number of minorities to three of seven, that the meeting would focus on representing diversity on campus. A number of speakers came to present numbers and ideas for the future on the topic of racial and gender representation, from vendors on campus to the faculty.
Board of Trustees policy states that the college will be an equal opportunity employer to all personal identifications, even if they are not a protected classes. The board has specific goals when it comes to minority and female representation, with a desire for it to reflect Washtenaw County.
Douglas Kruzel, the Vice President of Human Resources, presented the affirmative action report for the 2015/16 school year.
“The bottom line to the report is, we meet the board’s goal of meeting minority representation as compared to the county, and we exceed it in female representation,” Kruzel said.
Kruzel’s department helps all departments within the college keep with the board’s goals while considering new hires.
“My staff meets with hiring committees and hiring officials when they begin their search, they identify if it’s an underutilized area, review what their statistics are, and reiterate to them what the board policies are,” Kruzel said.
WCC’s faculty and staff matches the Washtenaw County workforce in minority representation, with both coming in at 26 percent. WCC reports a 57 percent female employment, compared to the county at 51 percent. The only specific category that is still underutilized, is minorities in full time faculty positions, which sits around 20 percent.
Trustee Ruth Hatcher, who in the past has won the WCC Vision of Racial Equality Award, was happy with the numbers, but saw room for improvement.
“The board’s policy is the 26 percent, and we’re there, but we’re there with our fingernails,” Hatcher said. “It’s a little worrisome, especially with respect to faculty, when the student body is around 32 percent minority.”
Vice Chair Diana McKnight-Morton was less impressed, not by the numbers, but by the distribution of the numbers.
“I’m at a loss, of how it is that there is only one person of color in the humanities, one in financial aid, zero in the library, zero in life sciences, three in mathematics, I can go on, this whole list bothers me,” McKnight-Morton said.
“We’re talking about people who look like me on campus, and they aren’t here. You see some here and some there, but I am totally still disappointed in our recruiting efforts. This report really shows that we’re doing a lot, but we still have a lot more to do,” McKnight-Morton said.
Hatcher also gave her ideas for where to look for new hires that could help lift the numbers.
“I’ve always suggested looking at high school teachers who are being abused by the public school system these days, a lot of our better teachers have come from high schools,” Hatcher said.
Dominique Daughtry, a political science major at WCC, feels he is mostly represented as a person of color, but also reflected McKnight-Morton’s sentiment.
“I think it matches the ratio of students. I see a lot of black staff as janitors and counselors, not too many as teachers though,” Daughtry said.