New Inclusive Campus Environment Toolkit to serve as guide for entire IU community

As various concerns about campus climate arise at colleges and universities around the nation, Indiana University’s Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs has compiled a dynamic resource for IU campuses: the Inclusive Campus Environment Toolkit.

The toolkit is a reference for best practices that is available to IU faculty, staff and students to manage situations on their campuses.

“Given that IU is deeply committed to ensuring that all members of its community, regardless of their background, can have access to safe learning environments, the toolkit should be seen as a complementary guide for difficult situations and a proactive way to learn more about how to support welcoming atmospheres across IU,” said Yolanda Treviño, assistant vice president for strategy, planning and assessment in the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs, who assembled the toolkit.

She said because IU recognizes that different perspectives are a part of diversity, the toolkit enables students, faculty, staff and local residents on and around IU campuses to educate themselves about techniques that can reframe or resolve matters before they escalate, as opposed to taking a reactive approach.

The toolkit categorizes information under four key areas, giving members of the IU community the ability to research materials that can be used to maintain inclusive campuses:

For example, the “Training” section helps educate users about the knowledge and skills necessary to avoid conflict in and out of the classroom, while the “Prevention” category taps into mental health and wellness strategies to recognize and avoid a potential crisis. 

In addition to linking to websites where individuals can report bias, discrimination and hate crimes, the toolkit contains strategies that promote community building, diversity and inclusion. Also found in the toolkit is contact information for IU’s chief diversity officers, affirmative action officers and campus law enforcement.

Because the university campuses are a part of the communities where they are located, some of the toolkit’s resources may also be shared with local residents, organizations and agencies.

Additionally, the toolkit is a living document, meaning it will continue to grow. Members of the IU community are encouraged to share its resources and initiate conversations with IU’s chief diversity officers, who will take their recommendations to Treviño.

“We invite IU’s students, faculty and staff to thoughtfully consider the issues discussed in the toolkit, and contribute to it by sharing resources they believe can benefit the entire university community,” Treviño said. “Demonstrating openness to the views of others and having an awareness of the resources that are available to understand a different point of view and resolve conflict in ways that build trust and confidence will help IU’s campuses continue to be open places for all.”

Aggrey Sam is a media content specialist for the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs.