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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.


1RogerClegg(6 comments)posted 7 years, 4 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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2borylie(950 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

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

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3NoBS(2824 comments)posted 7 years, 4 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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4NoBS(2824 comments)posted 7 years, 4 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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5NoBS(2824 comments)posted 7 years, 4 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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6wearepack(26 comments)posted 7 years, 3 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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7Rocco(99 comments)posted 7 years, 3 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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