Bemidji State University is dedicated to actively engaging diversity, equity and inclusion. The university has developed committees, work groups and teams composed of students, staff and faculty. These entities have critical charges that promote and embody the fundamental shared values. Our unified model promotes inclusive and intentional efforts towards establishing transformative and sustainable change as it relates to diversity, equity and inclusion.
The University Committees are composed of students, staff and faculty from both Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College. Each committee has a critical charge that frames its work. The committee-focused model promotes inclusive and intentional efforts towards establishing transformative and sustainable change as it relates to diversity, equity and inclusion. University Committees are convened by the Campus Diversity Officer.
The University Teams are composed of students, staff and faculty from both Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College. Teams are developed to serve as a response efforts as it relates to diversity, equity and inclusion matters. Teams have a critical job on both campuses.
Americans with Disabilities Act Committee
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) direct education institutions to ensure that students can participate in educational activities and employees can work without refusal based on their disability. As such an institution that falls under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990), Bemidji State University must maintain and develop priorities that comply with these federal mandates.
BSU mission and values, along with university strategic priorities (especially priorities 3 and 5), speak to the robust engagement of students and a culture where “…diversity is embraced and all people are safe, welcome and validated”. Likewise, BSU’s strategic plan for diversity, equity and inclusion (priority 1) states that the university will “foster an equitable, safe and respectful campus and community culture for every person who learns, teaches, works and visits our campus”. With these commitments in mind, the National Center for Educational Statistics (2019) reports that ~19% of college students report having a disability, while between 16-18% of the U.S. population and ~11% of Minnesotans has a disability (SIPP, 2015). Therefore, it is necessary to proactively develop and maintain strategies to meet and exceed federal guidelines for campus accessibility to ensure BSU community members with disabilities, can enjoy the same level of engagement as their nondisabled counterparts.
The ADA committee is dedicated to supporting equal educational and workplace experience Bemidji State University’s students, faculty and staff, by guiding the removal of accessibility barriers and advising the development and maintenance of a barrier-free environment at BSU.
Charge and Responsibilities
The BSU ADA committee acts as an advisory body to the university administration with the objective of developing and maintaining a universally accessible environment at BSU. The ADA Committee will achieve this objective by functioning in three primary ways:
- Providing transparency and oversight of BSU’s progress goals (accessibility transition plan) to full compliance with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act by identifying areas of need for improvement and a timeline for meeting objectives.
- Provide guidance on new construction, facility renovations, repair, restoration and maintenance projects to ensure that new projects meet and exceed Title II standards.
- To support the ADA coordinator and influence and support best practices as it relates to disability accessibility at BSU, including implementation of universal design efforts, technological and course delivery accessibility and parking and physical plant policies.
The ADA committee will convene quarterly to set and monitor BSU’s accessibility transition plan and to be responsive to an accessibility audit that will be conducted on its behalf. It will charge its members with working with their respective offices to implement plans that meet with the recommendations of the committee.
Leadership, Membership and Terms of Service
The committee includes ex officio members, representatives of specified university offices, faculty, staff and students. It is expected that faculty, staff and students with disabilities will be represented on the committee. Ex officio members serve if they remain in their positions. Other collective bargaining representatives serve two-year terms and may be reappointed. All members have voting privileges.
Americans with Disabilities Act Committee Members (updated October 27, 2022)
Diversity and Inclusion Committee
After two years of deliberations, the Bemidji State University Diversity Taskforce completed its work resulting in the Diversity and Inclusion Plan for 2016-2019. Taskforce members recognized that diversity exists when the full range of human differences is present and inclusion exists when all members are involved, empowered, valued and respected and feel a sense of belonging. These can come to fruition as institutional processes and structures facilitate rather than hinder inclusivity. Working toward this goal is everyone’s responsibility.
One of the recommendations identified in the plan was developing and charging a Diversity and Inclusion Committee. The taskforce envisioned that the Bemidji State University Diversity and Inclusion Committee work in partnership with faculty, administrators, students, staff and the external community to encourage, achieve and sustain diversity and inclusion. The ultimate responsibility for demonstrating and leading the University’s commitment to diversity is the President’s. The responsibility for the oversight of diversity and inclusion at the university has been delegated to the Chief Diversity Officer (who reports directly to the President) with support from a Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
Charge and Responsibilities
The Diversity and Inclusion Committee is charged by the President with facilitating and advocating for the institutional support of the Diversity and Inclusion Plan in conjunction with the Chief Diversity Officer. The Committee will serve as a sounding board for the campus community on matters related to the climate for diversity. In that capacity, it will regularly solicit information regarding the campus climate from various campus constituencies and the campus as a whole and issue findings and recommendations for improvement. The Committee will also design and implement its own diversity efforts as well as work with and support the efforts of other campus offices and programs.
The general responsibility of this committee, under the leadership of the Chief Diversity Officer, is to advise the President, the President’s Cabinet and Executive Leadership Team on issues relating to diversity for faculty, staff and students.
Specifically, the Diversity Committee’s responsibilities shall be to:
- Assist with the implementation of the Diversity and Inclusion Plan and partner with offices and programs as appropriate.
- Assess the campus environment periodically in terms of its attitudes, perceptions, symbols and institutional practices as they relate to diversity and inclusion and report findings and recommendations to the campus community.
- Implement and support efforts that foster a sense of belonging for students and employees.
- Offer a broad base of cultural experiences within the institutional community. Programs include examining cross-cultural communication styles, as well as practices that highlight the spectrum of cultural richness
- Support the university in its commitment to recruit, hire, develop and retain the best possible staff and faculty and ensure the welfare of the overall community.
- Seek to engage alumni and community partners in diversity and inclusion efforts and, when appropriate, to involve them in their planning and implementation.
- Develop and maintain a mechanism that coordinates and promotes the diversity and inclusion events and programs across the university.
- Report on committee efforts along with recommendations for improvement through appropriate channels and summarize efforts in an annual report to the President.
- Design and attend diversity training utilizing consultants as needed.
- Be diversity advocates in their respective units by promoting awareness of policies and support training (workshops, lectures and seminars) on topics relating to diversity.
Leadership, Membership and Terms of Service
Campus-wide Diversity and Inclusion efforts are led by a Chief Diversity Officer. The Chief Diversity Officer’s duties are broader than the work encompassed by the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. This position reports directly to the President and works collaboratively with all divisions to ensure that the University’s goal of embracing diversity and inclusion is realized. This position is responsible for:
- Communicating the University’s commitment to diversity and inclusion to the University community;
- Developing and monitoring the University’s diversity and inclusion plan;
- Preparing and analyzing reports to monitor success.
The Chief Diversity Officer will serve in an ex officio voting capacity on the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Two other individuals will serve in an ex-officio voting capacity – the Chief Human Resource Officer and the Director of the American Indian Resource Center.
The Diversity and Inclusion Committee will be led by a Presiding Chair. This position shall be elected by the committee. The presiding chair will have a two-year term. The Presiding Chair shall:
- Preside at all committee meetings;
- Oversee the implementation of the policies of the committee;
- Appoint ad hoc committees as needed;
- Represent the committee as needed and fulfill such other duties as may from time to time be authorized by the committee.
The membership will also elect a Recorder who will be responsible for all correspondence including preparation of meeting minutes and agendas.
The Diversity and Inclusion Committee will have approximately 16-18 members, of which three are ex-officio voting members. Employee membership shall be elected from their respective constituencies for two-year terms. These terms will be staggered to provide continuity for the committee’s work. Student membership will be for one year with determinations made each spring for the next academic year.
Diversity and Inclusion Committee Members (updated October 27, 2022)
Title IX Committee
The Title IX Committee is charged with fostering an institution-wide environment of cultural change and ensuring positive compliance with Title IX, the Clery Act, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act and other laws, regulations and policies related to sex-based discrimination, harassment (e.g., sexual and gender-based harassment and sexual and gender-based violence) and retaliation.
Specifically, the Title IX Committee is charged with
- Serving as an advisory body to the Athletic Department on Title IX compliance with respect to intercollegiate athletics, which includes reviewing issues related to participation, athletic financial assistance and other athletic benefits and opportunities and reviewing and providing input on the Athletic Department strategic plan;
- Reviewing University efforts to comply with Title IX in the areas of Financial Aid, Student Housing (Residential Life), Admissions, intramural sports and education programs or activities and making recommendations for change;
- Reviewing the University’s efforts to comply with and carry out its responsibilities under Title IX, including the investigation of Title IX complaints and disciplinary procedures and making recommendations for change;
- Reviewing the University’s efforts to provide primary prevention and awareness education and training opportunities for students and particular student groups (i.e., first year students, student athletes, students in leadership positions in the residence halls, upper division students, graduate students) and recommending additional training and education opportunities as necessary;
- Reviewing the University’s efforts to provide education and training opportunities for faculty, coaches, administrators and recommending additional training and education opportunities as necessary; and
- Reviewing University efforts to provide information on Title IX policies and procedures, the complaint process, resources and services and making recommendations for change.
Meetings and Responsibility for Convening Committee
The Title IX Committee will meet at least twice per academic year, ideally once each semester. The committee can meet more frequently as necessary to accomplish its task. The Title IX Coordinator has responsibility for convening the Title IX Committee.
Title IX Committee Members (updated February 13, 2023)
Bias Incident Advisory Team
Bemidji State University aspires to create an environment that is inclusive and safe for all community members. Our campus will always be a place of hope and opportunity where all students – no matter who they are or where they are from – can feel welcome, feel safe to learn and participate and feel free to express their hopes, their dreams and their ideas. Bias incidents undermine our campus’ efforts toward equity and inclusion, limit our personal and collective ability to excel in teaching, learning and participating and negatively impact our service to the broader region and state. They also impede free and open discourse and our ability to know and learn from one another. Biased and hateful expression causes harm and fractures in our communities that must be addressed.
Bias Incident Overview
A bias incident is an act of bigotry, harassment or intimidation that is motivated in whole or in part by prejudice based on an individual’s or group’s actual or perceived race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Bias often stems from fear, misunderstanding, hatred and stereotypes and may be intentional or unintentional.
Bemidji State University has policies, procedures and protocols in place to respond to different kinds of incidents, enabling it to attend to the health and safety of campus community members, manage individual complaints or grievances and adjudicate possible violations of college policies or local, state or federal laws. Examples of such policies, procedures and protocols include but are not limited to:
- Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination in Employment and Education Policy
- Report/Complaint of Discrimination/Harassment Investigation and Resolution Procedure
- Preferred Name Policy Procedure
- Gender Identity and Expression Acceptance Policy
- Respectful Workplace Policy
- Sexual Violence Policy
- BSU Student Code of Conduct
- Employment agreements and faculty contracts
- Local, state or federal civil rights laws and regulations
Bias Incident Advisory Team Members (updated February 13, 2023)