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U. Minnesota Reviewing Every Administrative Policy Under ‘Equity Lens’

U. Minnesota Reviewing Every Administrative Policy Under ‘Equity Lens’

I wonder how this will affect final exams since those fall under administrative policies.

The University of Minnesota formed a committee to review every single administrative police under an “equity lens” so they can “identify potential negative impacts for marginalized communities and underrepresented individuals.”

From The Minnesota Daily:

The University has 200 administrative policies spanning topics such as final exams, conflicts of interest and access to University buildings.

Administrative policies must be comprehensively reviewed every four years unless a longer extension is requested. Because the Equity Lens Policy Review Committee was added to the comprehensive review in May 2018, not all policies have undergone the process yet.

To meet Gabel’s June deadline, committee members are seeing an increased workload to complete the necessary equity reviews at a faster pace. Out of the 200 administrative policies, there are fewer than 70 left to review.

“I see this as one of the most high stakes and broadly impactful things I do … because administrative policies affect everyone at the University,” said Holley Locher, a member of the Equity Lens Policy Review Committee and chief of staff of the psychology department. “If I and our committee can make that more equitable for everyone, then it’s worth any increased workload or any increased time on my part.”

Before Gabel’s request, committee members reviewed three to five policies a month. Now, committee members review 10 to 15 policies monthly.

The committee provides feedback in two categories: general comments and equity-related comments. Not all the feedback is implemented by the policy owners, however, said Joy Wise Davis, committee member and the human resources director at the College of Science and Engineering.

A policy owner is the person responsible for the administrative policy, including its procedures and processes. Depending on the policy, there may be more than one policy owner.

“I know we’re doing good work … I know that people appreciate it. Sometimes they take our advice. Sometimes they don’t,” Davis said. “But at least we can say that we reviewed it and we gave feedback.”

The committee is composed of nine staff members and one faculty member. In the committee’s review process, members consider the impact of the policy on underrepresented groups, including people of color.

The committee members also look into questions that address gaps in policies, such as gender-neutral language and accessibility.


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