What are equal opportunity, affirmative action and diversity? Is it the same concept, just different labels?
A. While equal opportunity, affirmative action and diversity are closely related, there are clear distinctions in definition and objectives between these concepts.
- Equal Opportunity, as defined by law and court decisions, is the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, or disability as well as on the basis of martial status or sexual preference. Equal employment opportunity is the right of all persons to be treated on a non-discriminatory basis.
- Affirmative Action requires employers to do more than ensure employment neutrality. Affirmative Action requires employers to go farther- to take positive steps to fairly notify, recruit, employ and promote qualified members of under-represented groups and to eliminate discrimination. Affirmative Action is a proactive concept that requires aggressive, vigorous and systematic activities to achieve diversity and equality for all. According to the Equal Opportunity Commission, Affirmative Action “is considered essential to assuring that jobs are genuinely and equally accessible to qualified persons, without regard to their sex, racial or ethnic characteristics”. Affirmative Action also means that the organization must actively seek to remove barriers that artificially limit the professional and personal development of individuals who are members of protected classes.
- We, at UMKC, have included diversity, inclusiveness and respect as one of our core values and take a stand for creating a positive environment by recognizing and acknowledging personal bias and being responsible for positive change. We have committed to seeking, supporting and celebrating the diversity of people by respecting individual dignity regardless of mental/physical ability, race, religion, learning style, education level, socioeconomics, sexual orientation, gender, appearance, job, nationality and any other social construct/label that intends to diminish individual or group diversity, inclusion and respect.
Diversity Programs and Affirmative Action policies are interdependent means to ensure equal opportunity, access, respect and inclusion throughout UMKC.
Can you provide me a list of all African American and Hispanic faculty and staff on campus for a mass mailing for a project for my community organization?
A. No. This is not public information; it is maintained by the university as required for federal reports and planning purposes.
What is the Affirmative Action Plan?
A. A written affirmative action plan is required of all federal contracts holding contracts of $50,000 or more with 50 or more employees. The affirmative action plan is designed to provide ways in which to measure yearly improvements in hiring, training and promotion of minorities and women in all parts of an organization. The effectiveness of the plan is measured by the results it actually achieves rather than by the results it is intended to achieve. An affirmative action plan is prepared by the Division of Diversity, Access and Equity yearly for the university. The plan helps us measure our progress and identify the need for different strategies.
What does underutilized mean?
A. To explain “underutilization”, you must first understand “availability.” A very brief, simple definition of availability is the presence of members of a protected class, such as women or minorities, who are qualified, willing, and able to work at a particular occupation. Availability is calculated for all occupational categories at the university, and the degree of availability that exists for women and minorities is used to determine the goals that are set for each occupational category.
When UMKC employs fewer members of a protected class in a particular occupational category than would reasonably be expected based on their availability, we are underutilized for the protected class. For example, if availability calculations show us that we should have 30 women accountants at the university, but we only have 20, we would be underutilized for women accountants by 10 women. For more information on availability and underutilization, see the current Affirmative Action Plan.