Board statement on equity, diversity and inclusion

Portland Community College is an indispensable resource in our region’s efforts to ensure and preserve access to higher education and success for all students, particularly students of color, first generation college students, low-income students, and other historically vulnerable and marginalized* student populations. PCC thrives as a learning community when it draws its strength from the many talents and experiences of those who come here to learn, to teach, to work. Working with the NWCCU’s Standards for Accreditation and PCC’s Yes to Equitable Student Success (YESS) model and its efforts to measure equitable opportunity through education, PCC strives to model diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in its policies, decision-making processes, and culture of education.

This statement establishes a framework by which the PCC Board of Directors commits to eliminating bias, particularly anti-Blackness and other forms of racism, and cultural bias (often manifest in socialized whiteness), as factors affecting student success, and to promote learning and work environments that welcome, respect, and value diversity, and are intentionally anti-racist. Consistent with its Mission Statement and Values, Portland Community College must address and overcome entrenched educational inequities, institutional racism, and white supremacy to provide all students with the support and opportunities they need to succeed. Historic and persistent achievement gaps between White and Black, Indigenous, & People of Color students are unacceptable. Closing these gaps while raising the achievement of all students must be a priority of the highest level for the Board of Directors, College President, and all district faculty and staff. We must collectively seek to remove all barriers to learning, participation, and success, while empowering and integrating all impacted by educational policies to give input into them.

The PCC Board of Directors makes the following commitments to ensure:

Equitable Access: The college shall provide every student with equitable access to high quality learning, culturally relevant instruction and support, facilities, and other educational resources.

Equitable Benchmarks of Success: The college shall create equitable pathways to success by which all students may achieve their academic goals through equitable support, quality instruction, clear guidance to persist, and an unwavering commitment to completion for students from all racial, social, and socioeconomic groups.

Racial and Social Equity Analysis: The college shall survey our policies, programs, professional development, and procedures to ensure the promotion of racial equity by applying racially-conscious systems of analysis, such as Critical Race Theory and other critical frameworks of social equity. All applicable new policies, programs and procedures will be developed using a racial equity analysis approach.

A Welcoming Environment: The college shall create a culture of belonging and inclusivity that reflects and supports the diversity of our students and our learning community by assuring the cultural proficiency of all staff.

Workplace Equity: The college shall actively assess our workforce to be balanced and reflect the diversity of the student body. The college shall work to provide resources to recruit, employ, support, and retain a workforce that includes racial, gender, and linguistic diversity, as well as culturally competent administrative, instructional, and support personnel.

Intentional Partnerships: The college shall actively partner with colleges, universities, agencies, and organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in their internal operations and in the populations they serve.

Affirmation Of Our Diverse Community: The college shall provide outreach, curriculum, training, materials, and evaluations that reflect the diverse cultural and experiential frames of students and staff, and demonstrate understanding and appreciation of the lived experiences that each member brings into our learning ecosystem.

*Examples of historically vulnerable and marginalized student populations include but are not limited to: first-generation, low-income, students of color; older students; marginalized sexual orientations, gender identities, and intersex students; students with second-language backgrounds; undocumented students; veterans; students with disabilities; students with dependents; foster care youth; and formerly and currently incarcerated students.

PCC Operational Definitions

(Adapted from OR HB 2864 and PCC Diversity Definitions)

  1. Diversity: a quality of environment that respectfully engages both the individual and sociocultural differences that comprise the complexity of our current social and historical context: race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, sexuality, belief systems, ability status, and age, along with their intersections.
  2. Equity: a cultural quality of fairness which includes decisive, concrete, and sustained action to address the systemic marginalization of certain groups (historical legacies of oppression based on race, gender, and socio-economic status, for example) that continues to limit their access to and participation in all aspects of society, including higher education.
  3. Racial Equity: a cultural ideal where race does not determine or predict the distribution of resources, opportunities, and burdens for group members in education and society. Racial equity as one part of racial justice, and thus we also include work to address root causes of inequities not just their manifestation.
  4. Social Equity: a cultural ideal where socially marginalized groups have the same status, access, opportunities and outcomes–including equitable access to education.
  5. Inclusion: active and intentional application of diversity and equity within every facet of society (including higher education) where individuals connect. It requires the identification and removal of barriers (e.g. physical, procedural, visible, invisible, intentional, unintentional) that inhibit participation and contribution, as well as the empowerment and integration of persons and groups regarding decisions directly impacting them.
  6. Cultural Proficiency: understanding of how institutions and individuals respond respectfully and effectively to people from all races and ethnic backgrounds, cultures, languages, abilities, religions, sex and gender identities, sexual orientations, and other characteristics in a manner that recognizes, affirms and supports positive qualities of life (including success within post-secondary educational institutions).
  7. Anti-Blackness: racist oppression, in action, policy, and history, that specifically targets, denigrates or stands in opposition to Black individuals, families, and culture.
  8. Anti-racist: Not an identity category, antiracism means to stand against and work to eliminate all forms of racist policies and systems.
  9. Whiteness: the system of privileges and advantages afforded to those perceived as white in the U.S. (and across the globe) through government policies, media portrayal, and decision-making power structures supportive of white supremacy culture (operating within corporations, schools, judicial systems, etc.).