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Diversity Council

08.22.19-MC-Move-In-Day-Hatton-85.jpgMission Statement

The mission of the Manhattan College Diversity Council is to acknowledge and dismantle the barriers of systemic inequity, racial injustice, and feelings of exclusion faced by the College’s communities of color. Through the use of concrete goals, collaborative engagement, and amplification of marginalized voices, we seek to reach a place in which each person feels as though they truly belong.

  • Social Justice Calendar

  • Diversity Council Members

    Steering Committee

    • Dr. Rani Roy, Associate Provost  
    • Dr. Esmilda Abreu-Hornbostel, Associate Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students 
    • Gregory Cowart, Project Manager, Physical Plant 
    • Dr. Emmanuel Ago, Associate Vice President for Student Life 
    • Dr. Jawanza Clark, Associate Professor, Religious Studies and Steering Committee member, Critical Race and Ethnicity Studies 
    • Dr. Cristina Perez-Jimenez (Spring), Professor, English and Steering Committee member, Critical Race and Ethnicity Studies 

    Advisory Committee

    Student Representatives
    • DeVaughn Harris, Vice President of Residential Affairs, Student Government Association
    • Mamady Ballo, President, Black Student Union 
    • Hailey Pena, Co-chair, Student Subcommittee of Diversity Council 
    • Calissa McNeely, Secretary, Student Subcommittee of Diversity Council 
    • Mamady Ballo, President, Black Student Union 
    • Nadia Itani, Muslim Student Representative  
    • Isabel Vasquez, Latinx Student Representative
    • Clinton Greene, LGBTQ+ Student Representative 
    • Eunice Nazar, Asian Student Representative 
    • Tiffany Nguyen, Commuter Student Representative  
    Faculty Representatives
    • Dr. David Witzling, Professor, English and Program Director, Critical Race and Ethnicity Studies
    • Dr. Shawn Ladda, Professor, Kinesiology  
    • Dr. Evelyn Scaramella, Professor, Modern Languages and Literatures and Steering Committee member, Critical Race and Ethnicity Studies  
    • Dr. Natalia Imperatori-Lee, Professor, Religious Studies 
    • Dr. Lawrence Udeigwe, Professor,  Mathematics 
    • Dr. Winsome Downie, Assistant Professor, Political Science 
    • Dr. Grishma Shah, Associate Professor, Management and Marketing


    • Marilyn Carter, Director of Commuter Services  
    • Hayden Greene, Director, Multicultural Center  
    • Lois Harr, Adjunct Professor, Religious Studies Department
    • Br. Jack Curran, Vice President of Mission  
    • Tiffany French, Senior Programmer/Analyst, ITS
    • Angelica Vazquez, Assistant Director of Operations, Public Safety 
    • Juanita Pacheco, Accommodations Administrator for Academic Services    
    • Pamela Jimenez, Adjunct Professor, Camino Program  
    • Andy Burns, Director of Opportunity Programs  
    • Siraj Bah, Assistant Director of Admissions and Financial Aid 
    • Kiambra Griffin, Director of Basketball Operations, Women’s Basketball  
    • Vicki Cowan, Assistant Vice President, Human Resources  
    • Dr. Cory Blad, Chair of Sociology, Co-Chair Strategic Planning Committee, Dean of the School of Liberal Arts

    This list continues to grow as new members are added to the Diversity Council.

Goals and Action Steps

The following goals and action steps consist not only of recommendations for future progress, aligned with Phase III of the College’s Strategic Plan, but also the continued support by this Council of the significant work already being done by numerous departments and offices within the College to increase equity and inclusion. Implementation of each of these initiatives will require the planned assignment of members of these departments and offices on subcommittees to ensure that this work is supported by the expertise and experience of our dedicated employees.

Goal 1: Recruitment and Retention of Students of Color

Our first goal is to ensure that the College engages in the strategic recruitment and concerted retention of underrepresented minority students, specifically those who are from Black, Indigenous, and Latinx communities.

Action Steps

A planned, strategic effort to recruit and retain underrepresented minority students requires targeted recruitment, and the promise of cultural and educational support once they arrive. These efforts are connected also to the retention of underrepresented students upon their matriculation, and require a multifaceted approach:

  1. Faculty education and development to ensure that we are meeting the learning needs of underrepresented minority students,
  2. Employee training that enables faculty, administrators, and staff to engage with students of color in an equitably inclusive manner,
  3. Development of productive relationships with external organizations whose mission is to promote higher education among underrepresented minority communities,
  4. Further development of “pipeline programs,” including the Summer Literacy Institute, that involves increased engagement with New York City public, Catholic, and Lasallian schools,
  5. Targeted recruitment of underrepresented minority students with an eye towards their retention, ensuring that they have peer support, mentorship, and academic success upon matriculation, 
  6. Creation of partnerships with organizations to recruit students in multicultural groups to provide peer support and increase feelings of belonging among students of color,
  7. Development of affinity groups and peer mentorship programs to ensure that we create a sense of belonging among students of color, so that they do not feel alienated and tokenized upon matriculation,
  8. Facilitation of intergroup dialogue that educates all students to reflect on their own intersectionality and engage openly with one another on sensitive topics,
  9. Continued support of academic success and opportunity programs such as CSTEP, HEOP, and S@M for underrepresented minority students, with thoughtful efforts to increase our portfolio of opportunity programs, and
  10. Creation of meaningful and responsive changes to the campus climate to foster a sense of belonging among students of color in the broader College community.

Goal 2: Recruitment and Retention of Employees of Color 

Our second goal is to ensure that the College actively recruits and retains employees of color, specifically those who are from Black, Indigenous, and Latinx communities.

Action Steps 

A strategic, multifaceted approach must also be undertaken to actively recruit and retain employees of color, particularly from Black, Indigenous, and Latinx communities. Such an approach involves: 

  1. Proactive knowledge and adherence to industry best practices in the recruitment of diverse employees with respect to each step of the hiring process, including creation of targeted job descriptions in diversity-oriented publications to ensure diverse candidate selection, and continued diligence throughout the interview and finalist selection process,
  2. Engagement with employee search firms that are dedicated to equitable inclusion and diversity,
  3. Development of hiring targets that reflect the diversity of our students and our local community,
  4. Required education and development for all search committees,
  5. Certification of applicant pools and finalist classes by the Director of Diversity and Equity,
  6. Utilization of cluster recruitment for employees of color,
  7. Creation of formal mentorship programs for new and/or junior employees of color,
  8. Identification of opportunities for advancement in senior leadership positions,
  9. Targeted professional development,
  10. Pay equity, and
  11. Initiatives that ensure all administrators and staff members, particularly those of color and from underrepresented groups, are treated fairly and equitably by both the College and companies with which it contracts. 

Goal 3: Meaningful Change to Campus Climate

Our third goal is to create meaningful and responsive changes to the campus climate, so that it fosters a sense of belonging among our communities of color.

Action Steps

Creating meaningful change in the overall campus climate requires tasking each member of the College community with the creation of an equitably inclusive living-learning environment that recognizes and amplifies the voices of people of color, both inside and outside of the classroom.

Such a change requires several steps, including:

  1. Implementation of a campus-wide diversity climate survey that identifies key “problem areas” in the campus climate,
  2. Education and training of faculty, administrators, and staff with respect to teaching and engaging students of color in a culturally sensitive manner,
  3. Reevaluation of campus symbols including art, signage, and future naming conventions of spaces on campus,
  4. Creation of both physical and environmental spaces for free expression and dialogue where students from underrepresented backgrounds are encouraged to discuss issues of race,
  5. Education of students and student leaders on racial justice, cultural sensitivity, multiculturalism, and intergroup dialogue,
  6. Revisitation of student conduct policies and protocols that result in the disparate discipline of students of color from underrepresented groups,
  7. Accountability of employees (especially supervisors, managers, directors and other senior administrators) with respect to adherence to diversity and equitable inclusion goals by integrating such policies and goals into employee reviews, performance evaluations, and considerations for promotions and advancement,
  8. Communication of a clear zero-tolerance policy for those who engage in acts of discrimination with respect to race and ethnicity for both students and employees, and
  9. Partnerships and initiatives with companies with whom the College contracts to increase diversity and equity both on campus and in our broader community. 

Goal 4: Inclusion of Race and Ethnicity as a College Wide Core Competency

Our fourth goal is to ensure that the College’s curriculum provides mandatory education on issues of racial justice, equitable inclusion, and the central contribution of African Americans and other underrepresented groups toward American history, culture, and thought.

Action Steps

Ensuring core competency in race and ethnicity among our students requires 

  1. Working with a variety of faculty and curricular-oriented groups (College Wide Core Competency Committee, Educational Affairs Committee, School of Liberal Arts Core Curriculum Committee, and Critical Race & Ethnicity Studies Faculty) to review College Wide Core Competencies with respect to race and ethnicity,
  2. Development of strategies to diversify and rectify existing curricular frameworks, and
  3. Creation of permanent educational efforts to ensure a broad and productive understanding of the historical and socioeconomic realities of institutional racism and legacies of racism in our society, including either a stand-alone course , adaptable by each School within the college according to its educational needs and targeted outcomes and/or incorporation of a critical race and ethnic studies component to a first year experiential course for all freshmen.

Goal 5: Fostering of Community Engagement and Partnerships

Our fifth goal is to create partnerships with local community leaders and groups to both contribute to the Bronx community in which the College is situated, as well as create opportunities for experiential learning and outreach for students, administrators, faculty, and staff.

Action Steps 

Fostering a closer relationship between the College and the Bronx community in which it is located requires: 

  1. Formalization of relationships between the College and local community organizations (with a particular focus on those situated in the Bronx) to increase social justice efforts and promote civic engagement in the community,
  2. Continued support of the efforts of Campus Ministry and Social Action in their work with the community, 
  3. Continued support for Community Engaged Learning (“CEL”) and faculty development to support an increase in CEL courses,
  4. Integration of the Multicultural Center with the College’s outreach and advancement efforts, to ensure that these partnerships represent the voices of those with a vested interest in race, ethnicity, and multiculturalism,
  5. Education of employees and students about the Bronx, including ensuring that references to the College’s location emphasize the uniqueness and diverse culture of the borough, and
  6. Promotion of local artists and cultural events on campus via social media, gallery spaces, and art installation.

Goal 6: Creation of Institutional Framework to Support and Sustain Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Efforts

Our sixth goal is to develop an organizational infrastructure dedicated to the advancement, facilitation, and sustainable institutional commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus.

Action Steps

To ensure the sustainability and commitment of the institution’s actions to address diversity, equity and inclusion requires the following steps: 

  1. Development of a Diversity Strategic Plan and outcome measures that are consistent with the current Manhattan College Strategic Plan, and
  2. Creation of a budget for the Council to ensure that it is able to dedicate financial and institutional resources towards its goals and action plan. 

**All goals will be accompanied by operational measures designed to assess progress toward these goals.