Eric Mayes, Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, poses for a photo portrait.
Photo by Danny Damiani.
Changes are coming soon to Lawrence’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The changes were announced in November following the hiring of Dr. Eric Mayes as Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
It is not clear yet what every change will be, but the office is currently working on hiring a full time, on-campus Title IX coordinator and overhauling the Bias Response Reporting system. Before announcing these changes, Mayes spoke with the Faculty Committee on University Governance, the Committee on Diversity Affairs (CODA), LUCC, Black faculty and staff, and Posse students, and according to him, it was expressed that these two issues need to be addressed urgently.
According to Mayes, there is an Interim Title IX coordinator at Lawrence, but she works remotely, and he feels that this position should be filled by someone who works on campus, so that students experiencing Title IX violations have a familiar face to interact with and trust.
Students also expressed to Mayes that the Bias Response Reporting system at Lawrence could be more efficient, citing examples such as reports being filed and never responded to. Mayes wants to reevaluate the system and make it more efficient and effective. He stressed that both of these changes are about making the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion an office that responds to students’ needs in a timely manner and can begin to create a discrimination-free environment at Lawrence.
Although discrimination and Title IX were the top issues raised by students interviewed, these are not the only changes coming from Mayes’s office, Mayes said. Other changes will be announced in the following weeks, though it has not been disclosed to the public what they will be.
“I look forward to hearing from the campus community on the ways that the office I lead can further its mission in creating a more inclusive, diverse, equitable and antiracist community,” Mayes said.