Florida Southern College’s Diversity Task Force held its second meeting on July 8, taking action that included changing its name, establishing a series of committees, and discussing an enhanced online presence and racial bias reporting system.
Approved unanimously, the Task Force has been renamed the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council.
“A council is more permanent than a task force, which completes an assigned task and is finished. Our new name elevates this body to another level,” said Chair Evett Simmons, also a member of the FSC Board of Trustees. “This Council represents a vision for the College, and its new name demonstrates our commitment to that vision lasting well into the future.”
The Council approved creating the following seven (7) committees to address specific areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the College. Each committee will be led by at least two members of the Council and include a member of the College’s executive leadership team, a student and other members of the College community.
- Safety and Student Services
- Enrollment Management
- Student Life
- Chaplain’s Office/ Religious Life
- Faculty and Staff Diversity
The above committees will be meeting in the upcoming weeks to determine goals, strategies, and membership in line with the Council’s mission.
The Council discussed its online presence, which can be found HERE.
Sharing important, timely updates with the campus community is a priority, and the website will be a key tool for the Council to do so. The Council also discussed strategies for listening to the campus community and expects to have a plan ready for the start of the fall semester.
Additional online resources include a streamlined, anonymous process to report discrimination and harassment, HERE.
The meeting began with the Council hearing from Bill Mutz, a member of the FSC Board of Trustees and Mayor of Lakeland. Mayor Mutz acknowledged that Black lives have not had the same value, stressed the importance of listening and praised Florida Southern as “an incredible institution” that is an asset to the community.
He went on to describe how the Council’s efforts mirror what the City of Lakeland is doing to pursue diversity, equity, and inclusion. He further stated that “equal rights aren’t a liberal issue or conservative issue. They are a human issue. The question is what can we do to level the playing field for everyone?”
The Council tentatively set its next meeting for July 29.