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Town Hall: Equity Takes Everyone

Update | Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Almar Walter was one of five speakers at  the Town Hall on March 7, 2022.

Pictured: Almar Walter was one of five speakers at  the Town Hall on March 7, 2022.

Columbus State’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Town Hall put a spotlight on the College’s ongoing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives to recruit and retain a racially diverse staff and faculty. The initiatives also aim to improve outcomes for racially minoritized students and others who have been traditionally left out – or kept out – of higher education. The hybrid event was held Monday, March 7, with dozens of faculty, staff, and students attending in person at the Mitchell Hall Event Center, while more than 250 attended virtually.

Almar Walter, vice president of DEI and chief diversity officer, said, “Today’s Town Hall is the start of a continuing series of conversations.” Walter also provided some of the findings from last year’s Campus Climate survey of employees and students, while other College leaders provided updates on DEI efforts.

President Harrison 

  • “We are hoping the Columbus Promise will change the student experience starting with Columbus City Schools.”
  • “The response (to the Columbus Promise) from families and students has been emotional.”
  • “In the past, 51% of Columbus City Schools students graduated and proceeded to college. Last year (during the pandemic), it was about one-third.”

Rick Hatcher, vice president of Administration

  • Life insurance, paid holidays, and sick leave benefits have been provided for the part-time workforce, which is made up of a larger percentage of racially minoritized people and women than our full-time workforce.
  • Ongoing efforts to increase racial diversity of faculty and staff to better match student population demographics. (Roughly one half are racially minoritized students.)
  • DEI commitment in all three bargaining agreements with our unions.

Sean Asbury, chief of the Columbus State Police Department

  • The Police Department has a full-time person (Renee Hill) dedicated to DEI work.
  • Of 900 police departments in Ohio, Columbus State is only one of two that have a single person dedicated to DEI initiatives (the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office is the other).
  • “This needs to be a cultural change, something we do every day and in everything we do. It is a long-term commitment.”

Renee Hill, senior advisor for diversity, equity, and inclusion

  • “This is a team process.”
  • “As part of our hiring process, we now include a student, a faculty member, and an HR representative.”
  • Hill is now an instructor for a new DEI module for the Police Executive Leadership College (PELC). Founded in 1986, The PELC is administered by the Ohio Law Enforcement Foundation.


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