Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 60.52
Liaison Lindsey MacDonald
Submission Date March 1, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Western Washington University
PA-6: Support for Underrepresented Groups

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.25 / 3.00 Seth Vidaña
Director of Sustainability
Office of Sustainability
"---" 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 diversity section in the University's strategic plan includes the following statement:

Western appreciates the importance of diversity of thought and people and seeks to become more diverse. We honor the contributions of all members of the campus community. We are committed to listening to all sides of an issue and opposed to any form of discrimination.


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):

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:

Diversity Scholarships - Western Washington University has included in its design for excellence the need to diversify its student body, faculty, and staff. Western offers scholarships to this diverse group of students who demonstrate strong academic promise, talent and community service activity.

Multiple federal and state civil rights laws require that all job applicants be provided with an equal opportunity to seek employment at Western. Affirmative action regulations likewise require that search committees engage in proactive efforts to build diverse applicant pools for staff positions. This training will explore what these requirements mean in practice as we conduct searches for classified staff positions, and what we can do to ensure that searches for classified staff are equitable and inclusive of diverse applicants at every step. This training is geared towards members of classified staff search committees and hiring authorities for these positions who have not recently attended search briefings provided by the Equal Opportunity Office for professional staff or faculty search committees.


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:

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Advocacy Council:
The LGBT Advocacy Council (LGBTAC) is a university committee composed of faculty and staff, with student representation, who meet on a regular basis and serve the needs and interests of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex and Ally population on Western's campus.
Council responsibilities include assessing or responding to campus climate issues that have been identified, providing Safe Zone training in concert with the Associated Students Queer Resource Center, sponsoring campus speakers and events, hosting Rainbow graduation, and participating in Back to Bellingham. Council committees include Institutional Commitment to LGBT Issues, Integrating LGBT Q Issues into Curriculum and Pedagogy, Attracting and Retaining LGBTQ and Ally Faculty, Staff and Students, and Providing Educational Programming and Safe Zone Training.

Minority Employee Council (MEC):
The Minority Employee Council is an advisory board that makes recommendations to the President via the Special Assistant to the President on Diversity on all matters pertaining to diversity, or issues that affect faculty/staff of color. The Council also serves as a catalyst for social engagement and community for faculty and staff of color. All activities shall advance the educational and cultural philosophical principles of inclusiveness and advocacy, and engender mutual respect for all groups.

Counseling Center:
The Mission of the Counseling Center is to facilitate student success and psychological well-being through culturally sensitive clinical services, outreach, and consultation. Group Counseling is a program organized by the Center, which provides help specifically to underrepresented groups. The Counseling Center therapy group meetings that are focused on sharing personal experiences, connecting with other group members, and offering cultural, financial, and academic support. The therapy groups are designed to facilitate connection, promote personal growth and self-understanding and build resilience. Some of these specific groups are:

A place for LGBTQ identifying students to share personal experiences and gain support around the challenges you're facing.

An accepting and affirming space for transgender and gender nonconforming individuals to find support and connection.

-After Silence
A safe, confidential support group for individuals who identify on the feminine gender spectrum and have been affected by sexual assault or abusive relationships.

-First Generation College Student Group
This is a group for people who identify as first generation college students, and who are interested in support and conversation with other first-gen students who are navigating cultural, financial, academic and interpersonal stressors.

-Men’s Group
A place for individuals who identify on the masculine gender spectrum to meet and discuss issues relevant to their lives, their identities, and their sense of self. Participating will increase your awareness as you learn from and relate to other men on campus.

-Women’s Group
A safe space for individuals who identify on the feminine gender spectrum to connect with other women and to share your thoughts on issues such as assertiveness, body image, intimacy, and friendships.
Leaders: Camille O’Connor, PhD & Stephanie Elmore, Doctoral Intern

Resource and Outreach Programs (ROP)
The Resource and Outreach Programs is an Umbrella Office for various groups focused around specific underrepresented identities. Each member office of ROP is described below:

-The Social Issues Resource Center (SIRC) is responsible for raising awareness about social issues, including those not commonly represented in the mainstream media, and inspiring students to be more active and engaged citizens. The SIRC facilitates the sharing of diverse perspectives by providing resources, information, and the coordination of events. It also serves as a networking center for related AS clubs and community organization.

-The Veterans Outreach Center (VOC) helps veterans and concerned individuals with information about employment, educational opportunities, counseling, disabilities, and benefit information. The VOC also serves as an advocate for veterans on Western’s campus while striving to create a united community of support and understanding.

-The Women's Center is committed to supporting, empowering, educating and connecting all people on campus around gender related interests and issues. We provide a safe space to share experiences, resources and referrals, and programs that raise awareness and spark and foster dialogue. The WC promotes gender equality, solidarity against violence and a healthy, inclusive culture for people of all identities.

-The Queer Resource Center (QRC) provides non-judgmental and unbiased programs, safe space, and resources to both students who identify as Queer and their allies. The QRC does this by reaching out and building community among Western students of diverse backgrounds, advocating for and educating about the Queer identity through events and resources, creating and affirming positive self-identities, networking with Queer clubs, providing peer counseling services, and addressing current issues relevant to the Queer community.

-The Ethnic Student Center (ESC)
The Ethnic Student Center (ESC) is a student-run organization within the Association Students (AS) of Western Washington University and was established in 1991. ESC’s goal is to help students affirm their identity, Build a sense of community, and Cultivate leadership. The ESC is a home to several diverse clubs open to students of all backgrounds, among which are:

African Caribbean Club
Blue Group
Black Student Union
Chinese Student Association
Fillipino American Student Association
Hui’O Hawaii
Japanese Student Association
Khmer Student Association
Korean Student Association
Latino Student Association
Mixed Identity Student Association
Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán
Native American Student Union
Queer People of Color
South Asian Student Association
Vietnamese Student Association
Western Hmong Student Association

In addition, some programs to support underrepresented students include:

-All Nations Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (AMP):
Goals: The goal of this program is to increase number and success of Native Americans and Native Hawaiians enrolled in STEM programs.
Target Population: Native American and Native Hawaiian students majoring in STEM
Number: 10-20 students
Partners: College of Sciences and Technology, National Science Foundation

-Passport to College Promise Program HB 1131
The goal of the Passport to College Promise Program is to assist the student on their journey towards postsecondary education and to provide scholarships and college support services to meet the student’s academic goals. This program supports current and former foster care youth enrolled at Western as part of the state Passport to College Promise Program by providing academic, social and personal support. Funding to support the academic and personal needs of foster youth are dispersed through Western’s academic financial manager through the academic guardian.
A six year pilot program began in 2007 to identify foster care youth wanting to attend college. Criteria for obtaining scholarship is to be a youth who has been in the foster care system for one year after their 16th birthday and before reaching 18 years of age and who has been emancipated by Washington State courts.
Target Population: Emancipated foster care youth heading for college; current and former foster care youth
Number: 1-20 students (8 awarded 2010-2011)
Partners: HECB, Financial Aid, DSHS

-Women of Color Empowerment Dinner
The goal of this program is to provide support and encouragement for female students of color on campus.
The Women of Color Empowerment Dinner serves to unify and create dialogue amongst students, staff, faculty, and community members willing to learn from the collective pressures of race and ethnic relations that women of color face with each experience. Contributing to diversity on campus, the dinner provides an opportunity for the WWU community to share their voices in a supportive atmosphere. Furthermore, students will be encouraged and empowered to persist in their higher education pursuits at Western. This powerful event focuses on the struggles, triumphs, and experiences of women of color and their allies.
Target Population: Women (students) of Color on campus
Number: 300 students and community members
Partners: Diversity Fund, Sodexho Food Services, ASVP Diversity, Ethnic Student Center, Alumni House, Foundation, CEED, Women’s Studies

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:

Data source(s) and notes about 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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.