Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 77.02
Liaison Laura Bain
Submission Date June 22, 2021

STARS v2.2

Furman University
PA-7: 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, pregnancy, 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. For concerns related to discrimination on the basis of disability, contact the director of the Student Office for Accessibility Resources, 864.294.2320, 3300 Poinsett Hwy, Greenville, SC 29613. For all other concerns, contact the assistant vice president for Human Resources at 864.294.2217, 3300 Poinsett Hwy, Greenville, SC 29613.

Does the institution have a discrimination response protocol or committee (sometimes called a bias response team)?:

A brief description of the institution’s discrimination response protocol or team:

Bias Incident Response Team
Furman University has established a Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT), which may be convened to ensure that affected students, staff, faculty, and visitors to campus have access to appropriate resources and to facilitate a coordinated campus response to bias-related incidents that may impact campus climate.
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.

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

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

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

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

The Office of Admissions provides many resources for prospective students:

The Mosaic Group is a student organization that assists in the recruitment of multicultural prospective students.

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.

The Multicultural Student Evening, occurring after one of our Accepted Student Days, offers accepted multicultural students and their families the experience of community through panel discussions, dinner, and evening activities.


Furman Diversity Connection
Multicultural seniors are invited to participate in a program that introduces students to the diverse and inclusive community on our campus.

Diversity Experience
This overnight experience is for admitted students interested in diversity at Furman. Events will include: dinner, entertainment and activities hosted by student organizations, and an overnight stay with a student host.

Faculty Chairs and Program Directors are taught how to avoid and eliminate bias in the hiring searches and the hiring and tenure processes, and are encouraged to facilitate the conversation in each of their departments. In the 2018-19 year, we conducted 13 workshop trainings on inclusive hiring practices for the following academic departments conducting searches this year: Art, Asian Studies, Biology, Chemistry, Director of Bands, Economics, Health and Exercise Sciences, History, Latin Studies, Library, Math, Modern Languages, Politics and International Affairs, and Psychology. Moving forward, the training will be updated and departments who have been trained will not have to repeat if the training occurred within the last calendar year.

Interviewed 44 faculty candidates. The purpose of faculty interviews is to impress upon the candidates Furman’s commitment and valuing of diversity, to assess the candidates’ commitment to diversity and to provide an opportunity for the candidate to ask questions of a faculty member who is not affiliated with the department they are interviewing with or administration about topics they want the interviewer to keep confidential. Moving forward, these interviews will be thirty minutes with that time split between the committee and Michael Jennings.

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 designed specifically to support students from underrepresented groups on campus?:

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

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

A brief description of the institution’s programs designed specifically to support students, academic staff, and/or non-academic staff from underrepresented groups:

Dins Dialogue Series
Dins Dialogues are co-curricular, peer facilitated workshops aimed to equip students with the skills to collaborate across difference in a diverse and global world, as they work to create lasting, sustainable impact within their communities. These interactive, student facilitated workshops will enhance group solidarity and focus on a variety of social justice topics. https://www.furman.edu/diversity-equity-inclusion/inclusive-communities/programs-events/dins-dialogue-workshop-series/

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 identity-based organizations on Furman’s campus. SDC strives to affirm the diversity of the campus community by embracing a broad definition of culture that includes, but is not limited to, world views formed by race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, abilities, sexual orientation and religion.
The Council promotes awareness of cultural diversity at Furman and the Greenville community. It aims to expand and share the responsibility of creating and sustaining diversity efforts to all major campus organizations through mutual support, communication, and co-sponsorship. Follow SDC on Instagram to stay up to date with upcoming programs and events. https://www.furman.edu/diversity-equity-inclusion/inclusive-communities/student-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. The WGSS (Women’s Gender, and Sexuality Studies) & LGBTQ+ Resource Room in Furman Hall is used by FPA as a meeting/safe space.

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 identity/expression 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+ Affairs Sub-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. Specifically, it provides advice on policy development and revision, recruitment, and employee education. It promotes inclusion of current scholarship on LGBTQ+ issues in curricular and co-curricular offerings. Recent committee undertakings have included the creation of an “Out at Furman” webpage, negotiations with a variety of stakeholders regarding the use of donations earmarked for LGBTQ+ purposes, ongoing discussions over the feasibility of an LGBTQ+ alumni group, initial steps toward inclusion in the Campus Pride Index, and research into a possible LGBTQ+ student center.

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.

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:

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.

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?:

Website URL where information about the institution’s support for underrepresented groups is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.