Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Director Sean Huddleston discusses Inclusive Excellence at SGA meeting

Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Sean Huddleston said his five-year plan for Inclusive Excellence took “official hold” of the University this academic year, despite its launch last May in SGA’s meeting on Oct. 27.

The model, which originated from the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU), highlights four focus areas – access and equity, climate, diversity and intercultural learning and development. Huddleston said he designed it specifically for FSU by observing what was and was not happening at the school in relation to diversity and inclusion during his first five months at FSU.

While Huddleston said the model “speaks a lot to what the University … should do for students,” he added a fifth area, which he called community and civic engagement. He said he added this because he believed the first four areas did not focus on social justice.

He said access and equity means determining the progress of each group at FSU. Climate simply means the perceptions and experiences of everyone on campus.

Huddleston also wants to focus on diversity both in and out of the classroom. Intercultural learning and development, he said, means continuously helping others learn, grow and improve. Community and civic engagement focuses on how everyone at FSU supports each other.

He modified the AACU’s model to develop four goals associated with the strategic plan. First, he said, FSU needs to advance its common agenda surrounding diversity and inclusive excellence. Next, he wants to improve retention rates for faculty, staff and students, as well as graduation and recruitment rates for students.

A new initiative, Brother to Brother, supports “the success of men of color at Framingham State University.” Across the country, men of color graduate at a lower rate than everybody else does, according to Huddleston.

He believes FSU must strengthen its connection with the community and, finally, “collect, analyze and make decisions” based on available data. To do so, he developed a customizable scorecard to determine what FSU does to reach its goal of inclusive excellence, and what it still needs to do to reach that goal.

When Huddleston first came to FSU, he said he believed the school did not respond effectively to bias incidents on campus. Now, however, he said what most concerns him is helping students develop a dialogue to address various issues.

Huddleston said, “This whole plan doesn’t work if we don’t know where we are and where we’re going to get to and how we’re going to do it.”

SGA allocated $1,395.11 to fund the Dance Team’s “Evacuate the Dance Floor” event, which will take place from Thursday, Dec. 10 to Saturday, Dec. 12.

The funds break down as follows: $615.11 for costumes and $780 for promotional items.

SGA approved Student Leaders of Inclusion and Diversity’s (SLID) constitution. They also approved the Music Appreciation Club’s constitution after it was reviewed for the second time.

In other news:

• A Safety Walk has been tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 1 from 5:30-6:30 p.m.

• Bingo will be held in the McCarthy Center Forum Wednesday, Nov. 4 at 7:30 p.m.

• The Rocky Horror Picture Show with a live shadow cast will be held in the McCarthy Center Forum Saturday, Oct. 31 at 8 p.m.

• The Board of Trustees will meet in the Alumni Room Tuesday, Nov. 17.