DEI History and Achievements
Since its inception in 2018, New York Tech's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force has ushered in new institutional policies and procedures, spearheaded new initiatives, and increased community awareness while also contributing to a climate of change at the university—a climate that supports diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout campus. Collectively, these changes—whether big or small—have demonstrated the ongoing desire and commitment to change.
These changes continue today, with the establishment of the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging, and the reimagining of the task force as the DEI Advisory Board.
Below is a timeline marking some notable DEI accomplishments at the institutional level.
After campus LGBTQ+ groups raise concerns over diversity, equity, and inclusion at New York Tech campuses, the DEI Task Force is formed with nominations for invested representatives from various schools/departments/offices across the university. The task force holds its first retreat on April 20.
Campuswide Gender-Neutral Restrooms
In response to student requests for safe and inclusive facilities for all members of the community, the task force works with New York Tech's facilities teams to identify and convert a total of 26 restrooms on the New York City (5) and Long Island (21) campuses to gender-neutral restrooms.
New Preferred Name Policy
Recognizing that students, faculty, and staff may prefer to use a first name other than their legal name to identify themselves, the task force spearheads an effort to create a new institutional preferred name policy allowing people who use a name that affirms their gender identity and others to have their preferred name in place of a legal first name on most internal systems and reports.
In June 2020, following the death of George Floyd and "in the spirit of fostering a new level of understanding of and appreciation for the experiences of African-Americans in United States history," President Foley announces that New York Tech will observe Juneteenth as an official university holiday, beginning in 2021.
Establishment of Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion
In November 2020, President Foley announces that Chief Medical Officer and Associate Professor Brian Harper, M.D., will add the title of Vice President for Equity and Inclusion to his responsibilities at New York Tech, expanding upon the role he played as the inaugural co-chair of the DEI Task Force. He remains involved in the task force, representing its views and goals in the university's President's Council, communicating about DEI issues at the administrative level, and acting as a key advisor to the president and voice for the institution.
Communications in Response to DEI Issues
Beginning with the events of January 6, 2021, the task force plays an increasingly important role in prompting university leadership to speak out in response to events of senseless acts of violence and ignorance, reassuring students, faculty, and staff of New York Tech's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion within the campus community and the world at large.
EverFi Diversity Training for Faculty and Staff
In April – May 2021, New York Tech faculty and staff participate in an online diversity training developed by EverFi, a firm that specializes in higher education training, to help members of the New York Tech community gain a better appreciation for our shared experiences, differences, expectations of respect, and need to belong and feel appreciated. Topics include identity definitions, inclusion strategies, respect and empathy, intersectionality, power and inequality, stereotypes, invisible disabilities, and more. Over 60 percent of faculty and staff completed the training in less than two months.
Columbus Day Holiday Becomes Fall Holiday
Beginning in fall 2021, New York Tech observes Fall Holiday on the second Monday in October. This new Fall Holiday incorporates celebrations of Indigenous People's Day, honoring the history, cultures, contributions, and resilience of Native peoples; Columbus Day as it celebrates the energy and contributions of Italians and other Europeans to this country; and Canadian Thanksgiving.
Info Gathering: Campus Climate Survey
From October – November 2021, all New York Tech students, faculty, and staff are invited to participate in the university's first-ever Campus Climate Survey. The survey, created by the Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium (HEDS), is designed to help assess and improve the community's culture and environment as it relates to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The survey achieves an overall response rate of more than 25 percent, with at least a 20 percent response rate among all subgroups: undergraduate students (20 percent), graduate students (22 percent), and faculty/staff (42 percent). Our Vancouver and Arkansas campuses achieve a 43 percent response rate, while Long Island and New York City had 22 percent response rate.
Establishment of the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
In October 2022, New York Tech announced the establishment of the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging with Brian Harper, Ph.D., M.P.H., continuing as Vice President for Equity, and Inclusion. Evette Allen, Ph.D., was hired as Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, based at NYITCOM-Arkansas, and Melissa D. Pond, Esq., as Equity and Title IX Coordinator. The Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging is dedicated to ensuring that all members of the New York Tech community feel recognized, welcomed, and valued.