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More committees formed to tackle bias and hate issues on campus

Both a steering committee and an advisory committee to the steering committee have been created as the result of the University's task force on bias and hate issues. 

Six months after the task force on bias and hate issues released its final report, a steering committee is working to implement the recommendations. The task force reviewed Duke’s policies towards bias and hate issues for a seven-month period between November 2015 and May 2016. 

The University established a steering committee in September, which has been studying the task force’s recommendations and putting them into practice. Larry Moneta, vice president for student affairs and head of the committee, said he is happy with the work that the steering committee has done so far.

"We've become more effective and efficient in responding to [instances of bias and hate]," he said. "I feel good about progress we've made since the Spring."

The steering committee also includes Ben Reese, vice president for institutional equity, Emily Klein, professor of earth sciences, as well as Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations. 

The new vice provost for faculty advancement, a position which has yet to be filled, will also be included in the committee, Klein said.

The steering committee established four working groups to focus on different aspects of the recommendations—better data collection on bias and hate incidents, developing campus-wide policies, improving communication and reducing bias in the curriculum. 

Klein also noted that an advisory committee to the steering committee has just been formed and will be chaired by Kathryn Whetten, professor of public policy and global health, and Paul James, assistant vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion. 

The advisory committee will include four students—two chosen by Duke Student Government and two by the Graduate and Professional Student Council—along with four faculty members and two staff members. 

"We are in the middle of setting up what should be improved systems of reporting and response to instances of bias and hate," Klein said. 

Moneta said the committee is potentially considering an annual report about instances of bias and hate. The group is in the process of updating the task force's website, he noted. There have been no new posts on the website—which displays the work of the task force—since early September.

Moneta explained that the website will soon be updated to include ways to report incidents and provide information about the group's data collection as well as meeting minutes. 

"It's a robust way to keep public informed of incidents that occur and the University’s response to it," he said.

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