When international students travel to the United States to learn English, the language barrier is just one of their challenges. Cultural differences like being overwhelmed in the grocery store, being embarrassed about not tipping a server (there is no tipping…
Spotlight on EOIRS: Commitment to Equal Opportunity
Syracuse University is committed to non-discrimination and providing equal opportunity and access to all students, faculty and staff. The Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion and Resolution Services (EOIRS) is tasked with ensuring that happens.
Led by Sheila Johnson-Willis, the University’s interim chief, equal opportunity and Title IX officer, EOIRS oversees institutional compliance with state and federal laws pertaining to the Americans with Disabilities Act; the Family and Medical Leave Act; Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, which protects individuals from discrimination based on gender; and Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlaws discrimination in access to programs and employment (See related infographic).
The office also leads investigations into reports of sexual and relationship violence, harassment, bias and misconduct, and coordinates all faculty/staff leaves and accommodations.
It is a large and critical task. Syracuse University is home to thousands of faculty, staff and students, and it prohibits discrimination in admissions, treatment, employment and/or access to its programs and activities because of creed, ethnic or national origin, sex, gender, pregnancy, disability, marital status, age, race, color, veteran status, military status, religion, sexual orientation, domestic violence status, gender identity, gender expression or perceived gender.
“Ensuring and maintaining University compliance with these important and vital laws and regulations not only safeguard equal access to University benefits and services for all of our constituents, but it also directly impacts our entire community by creating a welcoming, diverseand inclusive place to live, learn, work and achieve,” says Johnson-Willis.
EOIRS was established in August 2012 with two staff members. The office now includes seven staff members, including Johnson-Willis; Bernerd Jacobson, equal opportunity and Title IX investigator; Aaron Hodukavich, director and ADA/503/504 coordinator; Dana Butler, leaves and disabilities accommodations coordinator; Christina Percoski, training and development specialist; Andréa Carter, office coordinator; and, graduate student assistant Taylor Hamilton.
“Our office collaborates across all divisions of the University to build community and cultivate a culture of respect, safety and equity that recognizes the value of diversity in all its forms,” says Johnson-Willis. “We train and educate the campus community around diversity and inclusion and work with all colleges and business units to complete the University’s Affirmative Action Plan.”
Current trainings include new employee orientation, sexual harassment prevention, being a responsible employee under Title IX, sexual and relationship violence prevention, and topics on diversity and inclusion.
For more information on EOIRS, visit http://inclusion.syr.edu or follow on social media using @sueoirs.