Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 64.57
Liaison Sherri Mason
Submission Date June 14, 2023

STARS v2.2

Penn State Erie, The Behrend College
PA-7: Support for Underrepresented Groups

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Andy Herrera
Educational Equity and Diversity
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a publicly posted non-discrimination statement? :

The non-discrimination statement, including the website URL where the policy is publicly accessible:
The University is committed to equal access to programs, facilities, admission and employment for all persons. It is the policy of the University to maintain an environment free of harassment and free of discrimination against any person because of age, race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, creed, service in the uniformed services (as defined in state and federal law), veteran status, sex, sexual orientation, marital or family status, pregnancy, pregnancy-related conditions, physical or mental disability, gender, perceived gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information or political ideas. Discriminatory conduct and harassment, as well as sexual misconduct and relationship violence, violates the dignity of individuals, impedes the realization of the University’s educational mission, and will not be tolerated. Gender-based and sexual harassment, including sexual violence, are forms of gender discrimination in that they deny or limit an individual’s ability to participate in or benefit from University programs or activities.

This policy shall not be construed to restrict academic freedom at the University, nor shall it be construed to restrict constitutionally protected expression.

Conduct prohibited by this policy may also violate Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as other applicable federal and state laws. Chris Harris is the Title IX Coordinator. Deputy Title IX Coordinators include Charmelle Green, Senior Associate Athletic Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Kim Lantz Yoder, Equity Officer, Penn State College of Medicine. Additional information about how to contact these individuals, or to otherwise pursue or report a violation of this Policy, is set forth below.

Pursuant to this policy and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the University will identify Responsible and Confidential Employees on a regular, ongoing basis, and notify these individuals of their obligations to report (or not report) potential violations.

The University will provide regular, mandatory training for all University employees related to issues covered under this Policy. All University employees will be required to complete Title IX training within the first 30 days of employment at the University. In addition, all University employees will be required to complete an Annual Compliance Training as a reminder of reporting requirements and procedures on a yearly basis.


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:
Students who experience a possible bias motivated incident, as well as students, faculty or staff who are witnesses of the same, are urged to report the incident immediately by doing one of the following:

* Contact your County Emergency Dispatch by dialing 911 in cases where physical injury has occurred or is imminent
* File a report on the Report Bias website: equity.psu.edu/reportbias
* Contact one of the following offices: University Police Services, MRC Counselor/Diversity Advocate for Students, Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, Affirmative Action Office.
Targeted individuals at any Penn State campus location may receive assistance from that campus’ designated support person or a designated individual, who is authorized to assist in matters of bias motivated incidents. The following procedures are offered as guidance for such designated support persons:

1. Assess and determine the need for emergency services, which may include medical or psychological treatment, and other referrals. Determine if there continues to be a threat to the targeted individual or group, and provide appropriate protection through University Police.

2. Make certain that the incident has been reported on the Report Bias website at equity.psu.edu/reportbias, including as much detail as possible. This report will be sent to staff in the Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity, the Campus Environment Team, and the MRC Counselor/Diversity Advocate for Students. Once the incident has been reported to the website, the MRC Counselor/Diversity Advocate for Students will coordinate services for the targeted individual. The MRC Counselor/Diversity Advocate for Students will contact the targeted individual within twenty-four hours during the week (Monday through Friday) and within forty-eight hours over the weekend (Saturday and Sunday). If the targeted individual requires immediate assistance, University Police Services will offer the individual information for contacting the Vice Provost for Educational Equity, the Assistant Vice Provost for Educational Equity, and the MRC Counselor/Diversity Advocate for Students. [Note: If a support person has not been designated at a particular campus, then the targeted individual should be encouraged to report the incident on the Report Bias website, as well as to the police.]

3. Include in your incident reports important details such as a description of the incident, when and where the incident occurred, who was involved in or witnessed the incident, and information about the perpetrator. When appropriate, University Police Services should document the incident, including photographing physical injuries, offensive graffiti, and evidence of vandalism.

4. Assure the targeted individual that his or her personal safety and security is important and that special requests, such as relocation and/or anonymous reporting, can be utilized to minimize foreseeable threats. The targeted individual will be asked on the Report Bias website form or when interviewed in person, what he/she believes should be done in response to the incident and what role he/she would like to play in responding to the incident. A targeted individual may feel uncomfortable about cooperating with an investigation due to fear of retaliation by the perpetrator(s). Reassure the targeted individual that any retaliatory behavior by the perpetrator or his/ her supporters may constitute an independent violation of University policy and should be reported.

Last three year incident and action report: http://equity.psu.edu/reportbias/reports/bias-motivated-incidents-report-three-year-summary-201420132016

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:
Students: College Experience for Diverse Students (CEDS) and Women in Science and Engineering (WISE). These are FREE summer programs offered by Penn State Behrend. Both programs are designed for academically-talented students from the Erie county area. The programs give local students, who qualify, a chance to enroll in a university credit course with regularly-enrolled college students the summer before their senior year in high school. Both programs provide hands-on experiences through workshops, field trips, and lectures conducted by college faculty, staff, and other professionals from local businesses and organizations.

There is no tuition charge for program participants. In addition, students receive textbooks, parking permits or bus passes for commuting to and from campus, and a stipend for lunch when on campus. Students who complete the CEDS or WISE summer course with a grade-point average of 3.0 or better will be assured admission to Penn State Behrend following high school graduation and completion of the Penn State application process.

Faculty and Staff: Human Resources provides a presentation, Innovative Recruiting Strategies for Diversity Presentation, on their website https://hr.psu.edu/hr-professional
The Affirmative Action Office's Recruitment & Searches page provides information for academic search procedures to ensure that diversity is considered in the candidate field. There are also links to recruitment resources and diversity workforce guidelines. https://affirmativeaction.psu.edu/welcome/recruitment-searches/

Penn State's Administrative Fellows Program provides professional development opportunities for faculty and staff that are designed to allow the participants to become more effective in their existing positions within the University and to provide a foundation for them to excel in future, higher-level jobs. Women and members of underrepresented groups are especially encouraged to apply. The program has proven valuable in increasing the availability of qualified women and minorities interested in pursuing careers in university administration.

The President's Opportunity Fund supports initiatives that increase new faculty hires from diverse racial/ethnic groups and women faculty.

Finance & Business has its own Strategic Priority Team for Advancing Diversity & Inclusion among staff in F&B. The team is led by the F&B Director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. One of its goals is to recruit and retain a racially/ethnically diverse workforce.

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:
The Office of Educational Equity and Diversity Programs supports and serves as an advocate for diverse populations within the college community, aiming to create an environment that promotes respect for differences while fostering caring relationships and cross-cultural understanding and appreciation throughout the campus community. This office, along with the University's Office for Educational Equity, coordinate an array of programs to support students from underrepresented groups in a multifaceted landscape.

Faculty & Staff: University's Office of Affirmative Action. This office supports and enhances the University’s commitment to diversity in recruitment and retention of those historically underrepresented in the workforce. Within the Affirmative Action Office are:
- Diversity Support & Education Center, whose services include needs assessment, educational workshops, and support/mentoring
- Diversity Education Services, an educational and support system providing diversity educational programs for the entire Penn State system

Throughout the year, representatives participate in recruiting events at various locations.
The Diversity Mentoring Program is designed to provide each new underrepresented racial/ethnic employee in the division of Finance and Business (F&B) with a mentor to assist them in performing successfully in their current positions.

Talent Management offers several diversity-related courses to employees.

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:
There are several, but one example is the Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP). This is an eight-week research program designed to interest talented undergraduate students from underrepresented groups in academic careers and to enhance their preparation for graduate study through intensive research experiences with faculty mentors. In addition to the research experience, the program includes professional development workshops, seminars, field trips, and social activities.

Each year, the Office of Graduate Educational Equity Programs works in partnership with the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) to host twenty-five to forty students participating in the SROP. These students are from colleges and universities across the country and from the island of Puerto Rico. During the summer, students spend eight weeks on campus working with faculty mentors in the academic fields for which they might pursue graduate work. Each student also prepares a major paper on his or her research project for presentation at the Penn State SROP Symposium.

In addition to SROP activities at Penn State, students attend the CIC SROP National Conference at the hosting university. As part of the national conference, they participate in round table discussions to talk about their research and to learn about the work of SROP students at the other CIC institutions.

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:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
Penn State Behrend is committed to the equitable treatment of all individuals and to providing an inclusive campus environment for students, faculty, and staff. While individuals are distinguished by a myriad of factors—such as ethnic heritage, gender, sexual orientation, age, religious beliefs, ideologies, socio-economic status, life experiences, and physical characteristics and capabilities—we demand that no one should be defined or narrowly perceived by these terms.

We believe that diversity has a critical role in a wholesome education, and a college campus should provide a unique intellectual environment for individuals with different experiences, backgrounds, and values to interact with one another. Only through the open exchange of different beliefs, experiences, and values can individuals develop the important critical thinking skills that will serve them throughout their life. This type of education allows students and faculty to create and share knowledge in a safe, accepting, and nurturing environment, resulting in a richer education for all.

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.