Equity and Inclusion Plans for Coming Year

From: Antonio Farias
Date: Monday, September 4, 2017 at 4:25 PM
Subject: Equity and Inclusion Plans for Coming Year

Dear Wesleyan Community,

After four years at Wesleyan as the Vice President for Equity & Inclusion/Title IX & Sec.504 Officer, I continue to be encouraged by the desire of our living-learning community to expect an educational environment that values and respects everyone and is attentive to those most at risk by the rise in bigotry. I am equally encouraged by the willingness of students, staff, faculty, and alumni to be active partners in the change-making process. Over the years, I’ve gained an increased understanding of the complexity of the Wesleyan community’s needs and aspirations to move the equity, inclusion, and social justice agenda forward in practical, meaningful ways.

Here I offer a brief sketch of what the Office for Equity & Inclusion (OEI) is planning in the coming year. Our goal is to strengthen student support, to establish a clear direction for progress, and to create space for continuous, actionable feedback on how we are doing. We aim to be a more equitable and inclusive living-learning-working community that fully embraces “independence of mind and generosity of spirit,” without forgetting historic and persistent inequality.

What follows is a brief summary of changes that seek to enhance OEI’s ability to serve the campus.

  1. The current criminalization of undocumented students in our country leaves me speechless, but not without hope. Although the fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program’s nearly 800,000 beneficiaries is uncertain, our policies and practices are in place to support students, regardless of citizenship status. We have made legal consultations available to students directly impacted by immigration policy changes and we will continue to do so. Please review President Roth’s recent reaffirmation of our continued support of undocumented students here.You can find updated resources here. In addition to chairing the Undocumented Student Support Committee, I will be hosting a Connecticut Students for a Dream (C4D) UndocuAlly training for staff and faculty on September 29 in order to continue to infuse practical competencies in the educational workforce that serves our undocumented students. I am also in the planning stage of bringing back the C4D Educator’s Conference in early December, so stay tuned for more information on how you can attend and participate. Staff and faculty are encouraged to sign up by clicking here. I encourage all who wish to demonstrate their support for those who continue to be marginalized because of citizenship status to continue to make your voices heard. Let’s create a united front with university efforts to create a more equitable environment at Wesleyan and beyond our campus.
  2. In collaboration with and building on the Student Affairs #NotAtOurWes campaign, a team from the Anti-Defamation League’s A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE Institute Rwill facilitate a student-focused peer advocacy training titled #HowNotAtOurWes during the last week in September. The purpose of this skill-building workshop is to equip students and staff to facilitate dialogue using action-oriented strategies based on the bystander intervention model. Sign-up information will be forthcoming. As a reminder, I previously posted available resources (and welcome your additions) to combat discrimination and bigotry here.
  3. This year, in collaboration with Human Resources, we will run three 2-day Crucial Conversations workshops designed specifically for faculty and staff to learn practical techniques that allow us to have productive, outcomes-based discussions, when emotions are high, views are opposing, and the stakes are high. Those dates are set for October 23/24, January 8/9, and March 19/20. Staff and faculty can click hereto sign-up for a session.
  4. Tailored climate and culture surveys will be sent out to students, faculty, and staff this fall as the initial step in assessing a baseline of where we find ourselves. This data will then be augmented through focus groups, and finally, under the auspices of the Equity and Inclusion Steering Committee (EISC), as well as following the bold pathway set forth by the Equity Task Force Report, will be the basis for developing a comprehensive and timely equity and inclusion campus strategy.
  5. The Annual Report on Sexual Violencewas released early this year, and includes links to a new website as well as information about changes in investigation and adjudication of student cases.  In keeping with past practice, we will be hosting briefing sessions dedicated to explaining the significant changes in policy, new initiatives, as well as what the data is telling us. The dates and locations are:
  1. Tuesday, September 12 (11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.), Judd 116
  2. Wednesday, September 13 (12:15 – 1:00 p.m.), Judd 116
  3. Thursday, September 14 (6:00 – 7:00 p.m.), Judd 116
  4. Tuesday, September 19 (6:00 – 7:00 p.m.), Judd 116
  1. Sixteen months ago, I created a campus-wide accessibility committee dedicated to scanning the campus for continued accessibility barriers in the digital, physical, and educational domains. This committee has representation from staff, faculty, and students, who will, come the fall, be working on creating a comprehensive accessibility strategic plan and accompanying policy changes designed to move us increasingly closer to the principles of Universal Design.

Ultimately, the work of making Wesleyan a more equitable and inclusive community rests on our shared values and willingness to work toward common goals. However imperfect the outcomes may be, what matters is our commitment to continuous improvement, seeking what will work best for us on this unique campus. I very much look forward to continuing to work with you. Even in these troubled times, I’m excited about what is possible at Wesleyan.


With gratitude,

Antonio Farias

Vice President for Equity & Inclusion/Title IX & Sec. 504 Officer


Updated DACA & Immigration Resources

Dear Wesleyan Community,

For those unable to attend the February 17th Know Your Rights session, individual legal consolation session, and the CT Students for a Dream Activist Workshop, please avail yourselves of the posted resources linked below.  The DACA/Immigration Committee will continue to meet, plan, and communicate relevant and pragmatic information designed to support impacted campus community members as well as those that are interested in championing fundamental human rights and dignity.

With gratitude, and on behalf of the entire committee,

Antonio Farias

Presentation PowerPoint: Know Your Rights Wesleyan

PDF Handout: Rights of Immigrants – 2017-V5


Title IX External Assessment Team Site Visit Feb 8-9, 2017

Dear Wesleyan Community,

As noted in the all-campus email you received, an external Title IX assessment team from the Victim’s Rights Law Center (VRLC) will be on campus February 8-9.  The comprehensive schedule is listed below. We have consulted with and listened carefully to the various campus community members and so the external assessment team has the expertise to work with faculty, staff, students – especially those from marginalized communities. Bios of the three-person team are forthcoming.  If you have questions about the site visit, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

With gratitude,

Antonio Farias
V.P. for Equity & Inclusion/Title IX and Sec. 504 Officer
Wesleyan University


VRLC Visit Team

Lindy Aldrich, Esq.

Deputy Director, Victim Rights Law Center

Lindy Aldrich has been with the VRLC since 2007, beginning as a staff attorney and becoming Deputy Director in 2010. Given that almost 50% of the VRLC’s clients are under the age of 24, Lindy and other VRLC staff attorneys work to ensure that sexual assault victims stay their educational course, including helping to curtail and ameliorate the often devastating impact of the assault on the victim’s safety, housing (dormitory or off-campus housing), employment (after school, on or off campus job), scholarship and extracurricular activities.

As a trainer on the VRLC’s national Technical Assistance grant, Lindy trains around the country on a number of topics including Title IX and Campus Sexual Assault Policies and Response. Lindy and other VRLC trainers remain at the forefront of this national discussion through consultations and trainings with state and national agencies, universities, and other legal service providers. She has been a Resource Team member and trainer for the OVW Campus Program Training and Technical Assistance Institute since 2010 and a recent presenter for the Project STOP NOW! conference for campus administrators from historically black colleges and universities. Lindy collaborates with the Clery Center for Security on Campus on webinars and conferences as a Title IX expert. In February 2014, Lindy was invited, by the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, to lend her expertise on Title IX and victim confidentiality.  She is also an Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) Training and Technical Assistance Center trainer and, in partnership with OVC, has delivered webinars and live chats on sexual violence and education. Lindy is a graduate of Suffolk University Law School.


Amanda Walsh, Esq.

Education Program Senior Attorney, Victim Rights Law Center

Amanda Walsh, Esq. returned to the VRLC in January 2017 as an Education Program Senior Attorney.  In this role, Amanda provides training and technical assistance to Office on Violence Against Women campus grantees.  From 2011-2015, Amanda was a VRLC staff attorney, focusing primarily on the representation of high school and college students who have been victims of sexual assault.  In addition to Title IX, Amanda represented clients seeking disability accommodations within the education setting and special education benefits under an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).  She also trained colleges and universities nationally on Title IX and campus sexual assault response.  Before returning to the VRLC, Amanda was the inaugural Title IX Program Officer at Brown University.  She was responsible for implementing Brown’s sexual and gender-based harassment and violence policy and complaint procedures, building Brown’s flagship Title IX Office, and overseeing all related complaint investigations.  In August 2014, Amanda was invited by the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault to lend her expertise on the unique issues facing K-12 sexual assault victims and their remedies under Title IX and IDEA.  In 2012, Amanda was recognized for her work in public interest and received the President’s Volunteer Service Award – Gold Level for her sustained commitment.  Amanda is a graduate of Northeastern University and Roger Williams University School of Law.


Candi N. Smiley, Esq.

Title IX Coordinator, Howard University

Candi N. Smiley, Esq. currently serves as the Title IX Coordinator for Howard University. Ms. Smiley coordinates the University’s response, prevention and education initiatives pursuant to Title IX and related statues and regulation. She also conducts and oversees investigations for complaints alleging sexual assault, sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, and gender-based discrimination.  Ms. Smiley previously served as a corporate attorney working on various matters involving federal agencies, private corporations and non-profit organizations. She has been a dedicated volunteer with organizations committed to assisting individuals suffering with drug addiction, alcohol abuse and domestic violence.   Ms. Smiley received her Juris Doctor degree from Indiana University Maurer School of Law.


Wednesday, February 8
Time Location Group
8:00 – 9:00am Usdan 136 Debbie Colucci, Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Antonio Farias, Title IX Officer
9:00 – 10:00am Usdan 136 Debbie Colucci, Investigator
Paul Verrillo, Investigator
Rick Culliton, Dean of Students
Kevin Butler, Assistant Dean of Students
10:00 – 11:00am Usdan 136 Administrative Hearing Panel members
11:00 – noon Usdan 136 Lunch with the Deans
Louise Brown, Class of ’17
Renee Johnson-Thornton, Class of ’18
Jennifer Wood, Class of ’19
David Phillips, Class of ’20
Laura Patey, Student Academic Resources
12:15 – 1:45pm Shanklin 107 All Campus Open Forum – Faculty, Staff, Student
2:00 – 3:00pm Usdan 136 CT Alliance / Women & Family Services Staff
3:00 – 4:30pm Usdan 136 TIX Core Committee*
4:30 – 5:00pm Usdan 136 TIX Student Advisory Committee*
Thursday, February 9
Time Location Group
8:00 – 9:00am Woodhead Lounge TIX Policy & Education Committees*
9:00 – 10:00am Woodhead Lounge TIX Athletic Committee* and coaches
10:15 – 10:45am Woodhead Lounge Angel Riddle, student Title IX web site
Rebecca Hutmann, WSA President
additional WSA students
10:45 – 11:45am Woodhead Lounge Women’s Faculty Caucus
11:45am – 12:45pm Woodhead Lounge Lunch with Residence Life Student Staff
1:00 – 2:00pm Woodhead Lounge Faculty Committee on Rights and Responsibilities (FCRR)
2:00 – 3:00pm Woodhead Lounge Academic Affairs
Joyce Jacobsen, Provost / VP Academic Affairs
Mark Hovey, Associate Provost
Sheryl Culotta, Associate Provost
Marc Eisner, Dean of  Social Sciences
Ellen Nerenberg, Dean of Arts & Humanities
Joe Knee, Dean of Natural Sciences & Math
3:15 – 4:15pm Woodhead Lounge Sexual Violence Resources
Alysha Warren, Therapist and SART Coord.
Lex Spirtes, SART Intern
Invited student survivors
4:15 – 5:15pm Woodhead Lounge Middletown Police: Captain Gary Wallace

Webinar: Hanging in the Balance: The Future of DACA and the Dreamers

Wes community, in order to continue to understand your rights under the changing immigration policies coming our of Washington, I encourage you to register for this important and timely webinar (free to register).

Hanging in the Balance:
The Future of DACA and the Dreamers

Click here to register/view
A discussion with:

Janet Napolitano
President, University of California,
and former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security and Governor of Arizona

Donald Graham
Cofounder of TheDream.Us; Chairman, Graham Holdings;
and former CEO and Chairman, The Washington Post Co.

Ike Brannon
President, Capital Policy Analytics; Visiting Fellow, CATO Institute; former Chief Economist for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Republican Policy Committee, and Congressional Joint Economic Committee; and former Senior Economist, Office of Management and Budget

And moderated by:
Doris Meissner
Senior Fellow and Director, U.S. Immigration Policy Program, MPI
Friday, January 27, 2017
2:00 to 3:00 p.m. ET

Migration Policy Institute
1400 16th Street NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20036
No registration is necessary to view the livestream.

Since 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has provided a two-year renewable reprieve from deportation and eligibility for work authorization to more than 750,000 unauthorized immigrants brought to the United States as children. Known as Dreamers, many are studying at U.S. colleges and universities or working legally in jobs throughout the U.S. labor market, and what will happen to these individuals is unclear as Donald Trump takes office.

On the campaign trail, Mr. Trump pledged to terminate DACA on day one of his presidency. Since then, he has said he would “work something out” because Dreamers have worked and attended school in the United States but face an uncertain future. Meanwhile, leaders in a number of sectors have mobilized strong opposition to a possible rollback.

On Capitol Hill, lawmakers from both parties have reintroduced the Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy (BRIDGE) Act to maintain protection from deportation and work authorization to DACA recipients. In communities across the United States, officials are declaring or reaffirming their intent to limit their cooperation with federal immigration enforcement. In higher education, administrators are declaring their campuses will be sanctuaries for students who may fear immigration enforcement.

As the Trump administration assumes office and the impacts of rescinding DACA are under review, join the Migration Policy Institute for a discussion with University of California President Janet Napolitano; Donald Graham, former Chairman of The Washington Post Co. and cofounder of TheDream.Us, which is funding scholarships for thousands of unauthorized immigrant students; and Ike Brannon, Visiting Fellow at the CATO Institute, and author of the just released study “The Economic and Fiscal Impact of Repealing DACA.”

For more information call 202-266-1929 or emailevents@migrationpolicy.org

Additional Information on Campus Immigration Issues

Dear Wesleyan Community,

Please avail yourselves to the briefing/FAQ document produced by the American Council on Education, which  contains vital information on the current issue of undocumented status in higher education and the campus sanctuary movement.

Furthermore, as Wesleyan develops long-term resources to address the needs of DACA students, and students from mixed-status families, I encourage you to take advantage of the confidential resources in CAPS and ORSL, as well as the following legal resources:

Connecticut Legal Services of New Britain runs a DACA hotline: 860-798-0671

Immigration Law Help and the Immigration Advocates Network provide a nationwide clearing house of legal support, given immigration laws and removal proceeding are inherently complex and are best served by local legal assistance.

A standing committee of key operational offices (financial aid, class deans office, academic affairs, international student services, public safety, residential life, CAPS, center for community partnerships, admissions, legal, office of spiritual & religious life, communications, office for equity & inclusion) at Wesleyan have begun meeting in order to provide granular clarity to available resources and opportunities to continue to develop critical competencies in the service of students, staff, and any faculty potentially at risk due to their immigration status. You should direct questions regarding the committee directly to me.

As a reminder, we are planning on  bringing back elements of the C4D team to conduct a focused 2-hour workshop for Wesleyan educators. Thus far, only four individuals have signed-up. If you’re interested, please sign up here.

As questions arise, have confidence that a network of support has always been in place and will become increasingly visible on the issue of immigration status. Please don’t hesitate to contact the OEI staff, who are here to serve as a resource and sounding board for continued community engagement.

With gratitude,
Antonio Farias
VP for Equity & Inclusion/Sec. 504 & Title IX Officer