WSCUC asks CLU to ‘sustain a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion’

Shendel Friedman, Reporter

On March 3, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) sent California Lutheran University a letter summarizing WASC Senior College and University Commission’s (WSCUC) visit on Dec. 2-4 and its subsequent meeting on Feb. 19.

Cal Lutheran’s latest accreditation status is “Accredited with Notice of Concern,” according to the WASC website.

Taiwo Ande, provost for Academic Effectiveness, said in a Zoom interview that “the first piece of action that was brought up with concern has to do with diversity concerning faculty, students and staff.”

Ande said this concern is in regard to the university’s role in providing more resources for students, faculty and staff of color on campus. “[WSCUC’s concern] is more focused on the diversity, equity and inclusion that the institution has been struggling with for some time.”

WSCUC highlighted six issues that Cal Lutheran should address, including “further develop a campus-wide vision and strategy to promote and sustain a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion that reflects an inclusive process and leverages shared governance” with special attention at the senior leadership level, resources dedicated to faculty of color and benchmarks of progress as indicators of the campus climate.

In part of the university’s response to this action item, “[Cal Lutheran] will be hiring a Chief Diversity Officer by the summer for the next fall term” to oversee that these areas of concern are properly addressed and in conjunction with the university’s core values and mission statement, Ande said.

He said it is important, as stated in the letter, to diversify the campus in order to have a successful curriculum.

Another action item outlined in the letter is to “clarify policies and processes that hold individuals on campus accountable for inappropriate behavior.”

The letter also states that the university should expand informational resources to be available to faculty and students to support academic offerings, research and scholarship, in addition to considering ways to “enhance the participation of librarians in the shared governance processes, campus-wide strategic planning, and assessment of information literacy.”

WSCUC ended by asking Cal Lutheran to schedule a visit with its “Special Visit team” in fall 2022 to address the recommendations given.