Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 71.65
Liaison Laura Bain
Submission Date Jan. 19, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Furman University
PA-6: Support for Underrepresented Groups

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 3.00 Laura Bain
Associate Director of Sustainability Assessment
David E. Shi Center for Sustainability
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Does the institution have a publicly posted non-discrimination statement? :

The non-discrimination statement, including the website URL where the policy is publicly accessible:

Furman University does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age, religion, veteran status or any other characteristic or status protected by applicable local, state or federal law in admission, treatment, or access to or employment in, its programs and activities.

An Equal Opportunity Employer, Furman also affirms its commitment to nondiscrimination in its employment policies and practices.


Does the institution have a discrimination response protocol or committee (sometimes called a bias response team) to respond to and support those who have experienced or witnessed a bias incident, act of discrimination or hate crime?:

A brief description of the institution’s discrimination response protocol or team (including examples of actions taken during the previous three years):

The Bias Incidence Response and Support (BIRS) plan addresses bias incidents occurring within the University community that involve students, staff, faculty, and visitors to campus.

BIRS is not a disciplinary procedure. Rather, the BIRS plan ensures that an individual who perceives they are the victim (Complainant) of a bias incident have access to appropriate support systems. Furthermore, the BIRS plan coordinates the response to incidents affecting campus climate. In all but the most severe cases affecting campus climate, the University will honor the wishes of the Complainant(s) when determining an appropriate response. In so doing, the University seeks to empower the Complainant.

Examples of support offered by the BIRS plan include:
-Assigning a trained support person
-Connecting faculty to their faculty ombuds
-Connecting staff to their staff ombud
-Connecting students to counseling services, chaplaincy, or student success coordinators
-Adopting reasonable interim measures such as housing relocation, academic assistance, etc.
-Other support efforts designed to ameliorate negative effects the Complainant(s) may experience.

Sample responses offered by the BIRS plan include:
-Initiating appropriate investigative and disciplinary processes for violations of University policy
-Arranging mediation when safe to do so
-Notifying the campus of the incident when appropriate
-Facilitating dialogues, awareness campaigns, etc. either across campus or in targeted populations
-Tracking trends to develop interventions and preventative strategies
-Other measures designed to stop biased behavior and prevent reoccurrence.

The Bias Incident Response Team includes members of the University community who are available to serve as a BIRS Support Person to students, staff, faculty, and visitors to campus who may have experienced a bias incident.

Received five reports of incidents of bias in 2017 (3 race/ethnicity, 1 gender and race/ethnicity, 1 religion).

Does the institution have programs specifically designed to recruit students from underrepresented groups?:

Does the institution have programs specifically designed to recruit staff from underrepresented groups?:

Does the institution have programs specifically designed to recruit faculty from underrepresented groups?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs to recruit students, staff and/or faculty from underrepresented groups:

Prospective Students:
Mosaic is a student organization that assists in the recruitment of multicultural prospective students. Multicultural Student Evening is a time to meet faculty, staff, and alumni who support diversity and inclusion initiatives, as well as Mosaic members. After dinner, students have the opportunity to stay overnight on campus with a Mosaic host, while parents enjoy a Paladin “Knight Cap” in beautiful downtown Greenville.

The Multicultural Achievement Program (M.A.P.), occurring in the winter of every year, gives high school juniors an idea of the daily life of a Furman student in a relaxed and informative setting. Participants enjoy a tour of campus, sit in on a mock class, and have conversations with current multicultural students.

Furman Diversity Connection, occurring before one of our Accepted Student Days, offers accepted multicultural students and their families an information session on applying, financial aid counseling, and events with current multicultural students.

Faculty/Staff Recruitment:
(1) Faculty Chairs and Program Directors were taught how to avoid and eliminate bias in the hiring searches, the hiring and tenure processes, and were encouraged to facilitate the conversation in each of their departments. They continued engaging the topic of bias during their February meeting by discussing portions of Joann Moody’s book, Faculty Diversity: Removing the Barriers.

(2) Professors Lloyd Benson, Brandon Inabinet, and Steve O’Neill created a faculty-led reading and dialogue group centered on the Reconstruction and reading of Race and Reunion by Dr. David W. Blight of Yale.  This was an opportunity for interdisciplinary shared learning by faculty, staff, and students. Dr. David Blight was on campus in March.

(3) Of the 195 CLPs offered 81, or 42%, were on topics of diversity-related issues (as determined by title).

(4) Refer to the content under Cultural Climate, as those programs were educational opportunities as well.

(5) Faculty Chair, Kate Kaup, is planning the two-day fall 2016 faculty retreat around the theme “Recruitment and Retention: Expanding Inclusive Excellence at Furman”.

A Booklet on “Best Practices in Recruiting and Retaining Diverse Faculty and Staff” is provided to all hiring managers.

Diversity statements are included in job postings for all open staff positions.

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support, academic support, or other programs to support students from underrepresented groups on campus?:

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support or other programs to support staff from underrepresented groups on campus?:

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support or other programs to support faculty from underrepresented groups on campus?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs to support students, staff and/or faculty from underrepresented groups:

Dialogue Initiative:
Furman's Dialogue Initiative is a joint effort between student life and academic affairs to provide students with meaningful dialogue-based opportunities. Opportunities will include credit-bearing dialogue courses, as well as “Dins Dialogue” workshops in response to current events and student organizations’ needs. Through these efforts, Furman’s Dialogue Initiative will work to create and support a campus in which students engage in open and constructive dialogue, learning, and exploration concerning issues of social identity, intergroup relations, conflict, and community. For more information contact Claire Whitlinger, Assistant Professor, Sociology Department.

Center for Inclusive Communities
The Center for Inclusive Communities (CIC) seeks to create a living and learning environment that fosters belonging for historically underrepresented students as well as causes all students to thoughtfully reflect on diversity and inclusion in the liberal arts tradition of engaged citizenship. Staff collaborate with a variety of administrative and academic units on campus to intentionally design a comprehensive, university-wide approach to diversity; facilitate equity, access, and social justice; and empower students to build a diverse and inclusive campus community.

Student Office of Accessibility Resources (SOAR):
The Student Office for Accessibility Resources is committed to providing students with disabilities an equal opportunity to access Furman's programs and facilities.

The Student Diversity Council (SDC), is the umbrella organization for diversity-focused organizations on Furman’s campus. SDC defines a diversity group as any student organization that strives to affirm the diversity of the campus community in its many forms by embracing a broad definition of culture to include, but not limited to, worldviews formed by race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, abilities, sexual orientation, and religion.

The council encourages and promotes awareness of cultural diversity among both the Furman University and Greenville community, while aiming to expand and share the responsibility of creating and sustaining diversity efforts to all major campus organizations. This is accomplished through mutual support, communication, and co-sponsorship among these organizations.

The goal of Furman’s ombudsperson program is to provide faculty and staff members with voluntary, informal, neutral and confidential assistance in resolving university-related issues or concerns. All Ombudspersons follow the International Ombudsman Association Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics.

Staff Advisory Council
The Staff Advisory Council acts in an advisory capacity to Furman's administration, exploring issues, policies, and practices that impact staff members. The council suggests new policy initiatives and advocates for staff welfare and development.

A group for students who do not identify with society’s normative gender or sexual roles and their allies, the FPA provides a social space where students can feel free to express their gender and sexual identifications in a non-judgmental environment and receive support from other students. Connect with FPA.

Serving as a resource center for the study and exploration of women’s and gender issues as well as sexuality, the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Resource Center provides students guidance as they confront issues related to gender and sexuality and gives them an inviting place to meet for discussion and study.

Relaunched in Fall 2017, Furman’s Safe Zone Program helps ensure that there will be faculty and staff members across the university trained in providing non-judgmental support and guidance for students who want to explore issues about their sexuality or gender in a one-on-one environment. To identify a safe zone, look for an official Furman safe zone decal displayed in the office of our faculty or staff members.

The LGBTQ Committee is an administrative committee composed of faculty, students, and staff that provides guidance and advocacy within the university on issues related to the well-being of Furman’s LGBTQ communities.

The Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Committee includes faculty, staff, students, and citizens from around Greenville committed to educating the campus community about sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape. While always working to prevent such incidents from occurring, the committee also educates the campus about resources and support for survivors of sexual assault. Learn how we can help.

Evaluated university communications in order to reach staff who may not have computer access or whose first language is something other than English.

Does the institution have training and development programs, teaching fellowships and/or other programs that specifically aim to support and prepare students from underrepresented groups for careers as faculty members?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs to support and prepare students from underrepresented groups for careers as faculty members:

Does the institution produce a publicly accessible inventory of gender-neutral bathrooms on campus?:

Does the institution offer housing options to accommodate the special needs of transgender and transitioning students?:

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Federal guidance on Title IX from the Department of Education (since rescinded by the new administration) led us to evaluate and change our policies in regards to transgender students/faculty/staff. The new policies went to the Senior Administrative Team for approval. You can find those policies here: www.furman.edu/transgender. "All-Gender" signs were placed on any single stall bathrooms that were not already marked as "Male/Female." In addition to all gender restrooms, students can use the multi-stall bathrooms that match their gender identity after notice is given to the university.

Furman has an active chapter of Women in STEM. Women in STEM is an organization that aims to support and promote the presence of women in STEM fields, while raising awareness about the issues they face in the academic and professional realms. The group sponsored a CLP event that included a panel discussion with three Female Furman Faculty in the sciences.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.