Lehigh’s Council for Equity and Community recently put out a call for new member nominations. Voting for the election of new members closed on Oct. 9 and new members will be invited to attend their first Council for Equity and Community meeting on Oct. 20.
The Council for Equity and Community serves as an advisory body to the vice president for equity and community. Donald Outing currently holds that position. The council offers insight on issues regarding diversity, inclusion and equity and works to drived change on campus.
New member positions were available for members of the Lehigh community all across campus, including undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty and staff members of all positions and colleges.
Clara Buie, associate director for the Office of Multicultural Affairs and staff tri-chair of the Council for Equity and Community, said the council is looking for new members to bring perspectives based on their roles within the campus community that can inform how the council advises Outing.
Buie said the council plans to consider the priorities of these new members, as well as their current members, and use those priorities to set goals for the year.
In the past, elections for the Council for Equity and Community were an internal process, and new members were nominated by current members or leaders from different areas on-campus. In the current election, Buie said, the nomination process was open, meaning that nominees could nominate themselves or be nominated by others.
“With the transition to advisory capacity, we wanted to make sure we gave the whole Lehigh community a way to say who would be on the committee,” Buie said.
Chenchen Dai, graduate assistant to the Council for Equity and Community, said it is important that student voices are especially heard and represented within the council.
As a graduate student, Dai said the Council for Equity and Community has already been thoughtful in offering positions to a variety of students, though she hopes to see more student engagement and support in the future.
“Acknowledging that we already have a lot of members who are proactively advocating for students, I wish more members would be more supportive and conscientious in creating a space that allows students to feel empowered,” Dai said.
Kallie Ziltz, a professor of practice with the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, was nominated for a Council for Equity and Community position by Lesley Chow, an assistant professor of bioengineering.
As a Lehigh alum, Ziltz said she has experienced both “sides” of the Lehigh community as a student and professor, which allows her to offer multiple perspectives and advocate for her students.
In the coming weeks, representatives from the Pride Center will be coming to one of Ziltz’s computer science classes to facilitate a conversation about gender. Presentations like this one are the kind of thing Ziltz said she hopes to encourage in other classrooms if she is elected to the Council for Equity and Community.
“I would love to see more incorporation of equity and inclusion into classrooms,” Ziltz said. “It would be awesome if we could make those topics really approachable for students.”