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Diversity remains a priority at YSU, official says



Published: Tue, March 24, 2009 @ 12:07 a.m.

By Harold Gwin

The director of Equal Opportunity and Diversity said YSU’s Affirmative Action Plan offers a more accurate picture.

YOUNGSTOWN — The number of faculty, professional/administrative and classified employees at Youngstown State University rose by 32 between Dec. 31, 2007, and Dec. 31, 2008, and most of that growth was in the number of Caucasian employees.

A report by the YSU Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity showed that total employment rose from 1,152 to 1,184 over that one-year time span.

The number of minority employees rose by seven, while the number of Caucasian employees went up by 25.

“I think this report can be misleading,” said Yulanda McCarty-Harris, director of Equal Opportunity and Diversity at the university.

It’s just a one-day snapshot, year-to-year, and doesn’t reflect changes that may have occurred during that time span, she said.

“There’s always a need for concern,” but the snapshot report presented to the YSU Board of Trustees may not be an accurate depiction of what is actually happening on campus, she said.

There were a number of early retirements, hiring of replacements and other changes during the course of the year that caused the employee ratios to fluctuate at any given point in time, she explained.

She said she had hoped for more promotional opportunities for minorities than actually developed.

Still, McCarty-Harris said a more accurate picture of employee diversity can be found by examining the university’s Affirmative Action Plan.

It provides a more detailed breakdown of employee staffing at every level of the institution, allowing the university to pinpoint areas where there may be few or no minority or female employees and devise action plans in an effort to increase that representation.

The Affirmative Action Plan states that the document represents the institution’s commitment to eliminate barriers to equal opportunity in its work force, therefore reflecting its overall commitment to diversity.

About 17 percent of YSU’s current 13,000 students are minorities. Among the faculty, professional/administrative and classified ranks, the number is about 15 percent.

“If you look at the overall scope of what we are doing at YSU, I think we are moving in the right direction,” McCarty-Harris said. “While the focus tends to be on numbers, if you look at [the] overall strategic plan of the university, diversity is clearly a priority that continues to be woven into the fabric of this institution — as evidenced by the creation of the Diversity Leadership Celebration.”

David C. Sweet, YSU president, has repeatedly made it clear that increasing campus diversity continues to be one of his primary goals.

YSU drew praise from the Higher Learning Commission of the North central Association of Colleges and Schools during the university’s reaccreditation process a year ago. The reaccreditation visitation team was impressed with the improvement in YSU’s numbers over the past decade, McCarty-Harris said at the time.

Looking at just the faculty, just under 8 percent of that employee group were minorities in fall 2008. That number climbed to nearly 12 percent in fall 2007 and now stands at about 18 percent.

The university will have its second annual Diversity Leadership Recognition Celebration, sponsored by KeyBank, at 6 p.m. April 2 at Mr. Anthony’s, 7440 South Ave, Boardman.

Honorees will be the Rev. Lewis W. Macklin II, Judith Ann Stanger and Kathleen Johnson in the Community Leadership category; Sylvia J. Imler, Joseph L. Mosca and Brian P. Wells in the Campus Leadership category; and Phaneendra K. Kolli, Wilson Okello and Domonique Price in the Leader of Tomorrow category.

Luke Visconti, partner and co-founder of DiversityInc., will be the keynote speaker.

Tickets are $30 and can be reserved by calling (330) 941-3497 or 941-3370. Proceeds benefit a scholarship fund.


Comments

1CCADTI(80 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

I remember when my son started doing poorly in one particular class when he was in the 4th grade. I went to the school to find out and it dawned on me as to why. The ethnic teacher spoke so bad that even I could not understand what she was saying. My son did not speak or understand ebonics. Diversity is a nice way of being against white people, but turn the table around and its called racism. Diversity is the accepted politically correct term for racism against white people.

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2RogerClegg(6 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Why doesn't YSU just focus on recruiting, hiring, and promoting the best qualified individuals? Of course opportunities should be open to all, but trying to increase the numbers of some groups inevitably means that there will be discrimination and preference. Such "affirmative action" in the name of "diversity" means that the best qualified people will NOT be chosen, and this is unfair, divisive, and illegal.

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3borylie(791 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

You ain't seen nothing yet. Just wait and see.

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4city_dweller(194 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Wow, the strength of racism never fails to astound me. What else can explain why some people think white people holding "a mere" 82 percent of the jobs at YSU means there's too much affirmative action going on.

I suppose that's not enough of a majority for you and we should really strive to make sure whites are more widely represented. A whopping 18 percent non-white is apparently "too diverse".

And since when does increasing diversity mean the most qualified person isn't being hired? Is it really that hard to believe that YSU has managed to seek out qualified people who aren't white? Talk about ethnocentrism!

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5NoBS(1963 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

city_dweller, what do you want?? When for every three jobs given to a white there was one given to a minority, it's not going to be anywhere near 82 percent white for very long.

The story was written with a purposeful slant, playing up the race factor and pitting whites against minorities. Do a little critical thinking and realize that the numbers don't show what Harold Gwin is trying to make you think they do.

The fact of the matter is that YSU, following state mandates and policies, does give preferential treatment to minorities applying for jobs. YSU is mandated to employ a certain percentage of minorities. If you're white, and own a company that cleans buildings, for example, don't even bother to apply at YSU.

"Increasing diversity" DOES in many cases mean that the most qualified person doesn't get the job - if the most qualified person is white. They may hire "A" qualified person, but you specified "THE MOST" qualified. If the most qualified person is hired and is white, you scream "racism." If a person NOT the most qualified but non-white is hired over a more qualified white, and the white objects, you scream "racism."

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6city_dweller(194 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

NoBS, you're wrong on several counts. First of all, your initial statement says everything for you. The singular priority for you is to keep YSU -- and every other business in the U.S. -- as white as possible. It's okay to have a little diversity for good measure, but God forbid whites not be the clear majority. That's something that is just unacceptable to you, especially because you racistly continue to assume that the MOST qualified candidate will be white more than 80 percent of the time.

Secondly, race only becomes an issue for whites when it's people of color getting picked for the job. Take a good look around most work environments and you'll you'll see there is no lack of white employees anywhere. Whites will complain endlessly if they hear of ONE case in which a person of color got a job over a white person, but nary a peep is made for the hundreds of cases of whites getting the job over non-whites. And it happens every day.

And no, YSU is not mandated by anyone to maintain a diversity percentage or quota. It is a voluntary system that recognizes that diversity in and of itself is a benefit to the students and campus community as a whole. YSU is not looking to hit some magic number handed down from the state before issuing a memo to HR that says, "Okay everyone, diversity quota has been reached; we now return to regularly scheduled hiring."

And "qualified" is a relative term, let me tell you. Nine times out of ten, the final candidates for any job, any where, are pretty evenly matched. That's why they made it to the final selection process. It's like splitting hairs to choose who gets the job, and sometimes a person is hired because they hit if off with the boss, sometimes because they went to the same college, sometime because their uncle works for the company, sometimes because they were just lucky, and yes, sometimes because they can add cultural or racial diversity to the environment. History has proven time and again that without concerted efforts to promote diversity, hiring managers consistently and habitually hire people of their own race. So big deal, whites weren't chosen to fill 20 percent of the jobs at YSU. We'll just have to settle for holding the other 80 percent. Such a sacrifice, I know. But uh-oh, YSU might allow those scary, under-qualified non-white people to eat into that lead, and then what? What happens if whites become the minority?

And that ladies and gentlemen, is the real fear.

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7NoBS(1963 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

city dweller, not only are you wrong, you're a racist. You write a racist rant that I reply to with facts, and you tell me I'm wrong?

When they hire one minority for every three whites, the 82% majority you allege white people hold cannot be maintained. How you find racism in that statement is beyond me.

I don't think anyone should get preference over anyone else ANY TIME. Please tell me what affirmative action and similar programs are, if not discrimination? They are the choosing of one race over another for "special consideration."

Now, YSU is most definitely mandated to hire a certain percentage of minorities and seeks aggressively to hire minorities in any and all positions. Outside contractors such as cleaning crews and various vendors and suppliers are where YSU makes up a large portion of their mandated minority employment. Why you would question this is beyond me. You obviously don't know anyone who works on the campus.

As for the rest of your race-baiting, stick it!

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8city_dweller(194 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Um, I work on campus.

The statement, "The 82% majority ... cannot be maintianed." is racist because it implies your motive for opposing diverse hiring is to maintain a white majority. If YSU hires one minority for every three whites, do the math: Minorties will make up 25% to whites' 75%. Oh gee, a whole 25 percent. What's wrong with that? You are assuming that YSU is systematically rejecting white applicants, and that's just not the case. Also, you're assuming the 25 percent of minority applicants that get hired aren't the most qualified.

And who exactly is "mandating" the affirmative action? That word implies YSU is only doing it because they have to. The administration, the board of trustees, and the faculty all make efforts to diversify the campus not because they are mandated, but because they recognize the value in having more than a few token minorities.

Next, affirmative actions is not simply "choosing one race over the other." It is an effort to reverse the discrimination that happens when there is no affirmative action. The University of Chicago did a study in which it sent out 1,000 exact resumes -- 500 with white sounding names and 500 with black sounding names. The resumes with white sounding names got twice the number of responses from employers. THAT is why affirmative action exists. The playing field is not level, and unless companies make an effort to ensure they are hiring non-white employees, minorities will not have a fair shot.

If a company hires 50 white employees and 50 non-white, everyone cries affirmative action because they assume whites were shut out of 50 chance at the jobs. However, if a company hires 99 whites and one non-white, no one says that minorities were shut out of 99 chances for the job. But that is exactly what happens when affirmative action is not factored in.

And finally, agreeing that minority applicants are in need of a little "special consideration" in order to level the playing field does not make me racist. Far from it. It means I recognize that the advantage whites have when there is no affirmative actions is ten times greater than any preference given to minorities when there is affirmative action.

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9NoBS(1963 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

"The statement, "The 82% majority ... cannot be maintianed." is racist because it implies your motive for opposing diverse hiring is to maintain a white majority."

Wow! Is THAT a stretch! Do you really believe that nonsense?

"And who exactly is "mandating" the affirmative action?"

That would be the state of Ohio, whose funding keeps YSU afloat.

"Next, affirmative actions is not simply "choosing one race over the other." "

It most certainly is. ANY singling out of any group and showing that group preferential treatment is discriminating against people not in that group. Regardless of which group is what race, color, and so on.

"It is an effort to reverse the discrimination that happens when there is no affirmative action."

In other words, someone who owns a business should not be allowed to hire the candidate he or she wants? The one he or she feels will be the best fit, or will be able to get along with others the best?

"And finally, agreeing that minority applicants are in need of a little "special consideration" in order to level the playing field does not make me racist. Far from it. It means I recognize that the advantage whites have when there is no affirmative actions is ten times greater than any preference given to minorities when there is affirmative action."

Is that why the city of Youngstown provides classes to help minorities who are interested in taking the Civil Service entry tests for the various services - police, fire, etc. but WILL NOT ALLOW whites to take the class? The classes are ostensibly to 'level the playing field.' How is that not prejudice against whites?

Your willingness to accept prejudicial treatment when it's biased against whites is what makes you a racist.

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10wearepack(26 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Can I offer that neither of you two are racists?

I get the feeling that you both have at least some information about Affirmative Action, and that you each just focus on opposite aspects of the plan. Its true that, when applied, AA plans can create situations where minorities are sought after over majority applicants. And it is true that without such a plan (or an alternative but similar plan) minority applicants will not receive equal consideration for jobs across the board.

I think each of you are looking out for someone, and that's fair (and maybe even noble).

I applaud YSU for giving local minority professionals a chance to create a system whereby other people of color feel that such jobs are available to them. When Mom or Dad work at YSU, the kids see that job as attainable in their own future. Something to work for. We all need that kind of inspiration.

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11city_dweller(194 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Thank you wearepack. I think your post sounds very reasonable. My frustration comes from how two-dimensional anti-affirmative action arguments tend to be. It's often reduced to its lowest common denominator: that AA equals under-qualified blacks getting jobs over qualified whites. End of story.

And it's not that simple. This is a very complex and mulit-layered program that has benefited a great many people. And without it, the ONLY people who would benefit are whites.

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12Rocco(99 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

This diversity crap has worn out it's welcome. Affirmative Action has worn out it's welcome. It is one of the reasons why many businesses are out of business or failing. The big government makes them hire people that have minimal skills over people that are smart. Doesn't matter what color you are, the best qualified should get the job. Not too far down the road the white population will be the minority. Lets see what our big socialist government does about that.....will be interesting.

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