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University Of Wyoming Amps Up Efforts To Combat Discrimination

Screen shot from http://www.uwyo.edu/diversity/council-on-dei/committee-membership.html

The University of Wyoming is introducing new mandatory training for faculty and staff in an effort to foster a stronger culture of inclusivity. Increased programming on diversity and inclusion is part of the university's strategic plan.

Come November, employees have one month to complete online courses on the prevention of harassment and discrimination and the inclusion of people with disabilities.

UW's chief diversity officer Emily Monago said there are federal laws in place to protect against workplace discrimination, but the trainings will help staff to better identify discrimination and take action.

"This goes beyond just compliance," said Monago. "It's really to establish a baseline of knowledge on our campus community, to be proactive, to feel confident in recognizing bias, micro-aggressions, discrimination and having some tools to stop it as well."

Mandatory trainings on sexual harassment and gender discrimination were already in place, but Monago said the new trainings include information about multiple forms of discrimination including bias based on race, sexual orientation and religion.

She said, creating an environment where all feel welcomed is essential to UW's standing as a top academic institution.

"Are we looking as inclusive as we can to bring in as many voices to inform our scholarship and research" Monago asked. "Are we really supporting our students inside the classroom and outside the classroom? And can we have the tools to facilitate difficult conversations about race, about sexual orientation and other protected classes?"

The new trainings have been months in the making. Monago said UW's Council on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion gathered campus wide input before deciding to use the online training platform Everfi.

Tennessee -- despite what the name might make you think -- was born and raised in the Northeast. She most recently called Vermont home. For the last 15 years she's been making radio -- as a youth radio educator, documentary producer, and now reporter. Her work has aired on Reveal, The Heart, LatinoUSA, Across Women's Lives from PRI, and American RadioWorks. One of her ongoing creative projects is co-producing Wage/Working (a jukebox-based oral history project about workers and income inequality). When she's not reporting, Tennessee likes to go on exploratory running adventures with her mutt Murray.
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