During the fall semester of 2006-07, a group of students calling themselves the "Concerned Students for Social Justice" formed, organizing protests on campus and asking the Willamette community to take actions to reaffirm a commitment to values of diversity and social justice.
In response to these students' concerns, then-President M. Lee Pelton established the Council on Diversity and Social Justice in November, 2006. Chaired by the university chaplain, Council membership broadly represents the faculty, students and staff of the university.
The charge of the Council, reaffirmed by President Stephen Thorsett, includes diversity of race, ethnicity, culture, gender, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status. Social justice shall be understood as both a process and a goal.
"The goal of social justice education is full and equal participation of all groups in a society that is mutually shaped to meet their needs. Social justice includes a vision of society that is equitable and all members are physically and psychologically safe and secure."
(Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice: A Sourcebook; Ed. Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell, and Pat Griffin)
Purpose and Charge
The purpose of the Council on Diversity and Social Justice (CDSJ) is to deepen the University's commitment to diversity through the following activities:
- Promote the centrality the University 's commitment to diversity and social justice;
- Create and support educational programs and dialogue related to diversity and social justice;
- Fund and award grants that enhance diversity and social justice on campus;
- Promote a diverse faculty and staff by assisting in developing effective recruitment and retention practices;
- Promote curricula and co-curricula that appropriately reflect diversity and social justice;
- Provide support, resources and advice for diversity and social justice efforts across campus; and
- Monitor and report annually on the diversity of the faculty, students, and staff and provide an annual "report card" on the state of diversity on campus.