Brian Arrington, Gloucester County Times, NJ.com, Jun. 7
DEPTFORD TWP. — Following pressure from the county chapter of the NAACP, Gloucester County College has agreed to adopt an affirmative action plan that will increase the number of minority teachers.
The plan, unanimously adopted by the college Board of Trustees, came after the Gloucester County NAACP told the board it was prepared to lobby individuals and organizations asking them to reconsider their funding commitments to the college. The college is largely funded through tuition fees along with county and state funds.
Following a complaint from a teacher at GCC two months ago, NAACP officers learned the college had only two black full-time faculty members out of nearly 60. The two staffers were hired in 1971 and 1987 respectively, according to documents obtained by the GCNAACP. Both are still associate professors and have not reached the rank of professor.
Since 1997, the college hired 14 new faculty members, according to the documents. None were minorities.
“That seemed pretty astonishing,” said GCNAACP President Milton Hinton.
By failing to hire blacks in recent years and failing to promote the black faculty it already had, Hinton said the college has failed to meet New Jersey Commission on Higher Education standards, which promote diversity.
“You are depriving a student in a multi-cultural world of a multi-cultural experience,” Hinton said. “Whether it is intentional or unintentional, the results are the same.”
According to the numbers contained in its affirmative action plan, the college staff is 10% black including part-timers.
After an initial meeting with college officials, the GCNAACP got the results it was looking for last week.
The administration has agreed to implement 12 policies to boost faculty diversity.
“The Gloucester County College plan, approved by the full Board of Trustees at its June 2 meeting, moves us positively toward our goal of diversity,” said Daniel Ryan, Board of Trustees chairman, in a press release. “We appreciate the input of the Gloucester County Chapter of NAACP into this plan, as well as assistance in its implementation.”
The plan includes steps to “encourage females and minorities to apply.” The college will maintain its own minority job bank and look at future retirements as a way to fill the minority gap.
“We will recruit a diverse faculty to ensure all students are exposed to multiple voices and perspectives as they enter a workforce that is part of an increasingly global economy,” said GCC President William F. Anderson in a press release. “Our 2003-06 Strategic Plan adopted that as a goal, and also proposed the development of multiple marketing strategies designed to recruit a more diverse population of students.”
The new policies will require the affirmative action officer to ensure that efforts are made to increase the minority application pool for all faculty searches and to submit a quarterly report to Anderson on all minority recruitment efforts, with recommendations for improvement. Anderson will then take appropriate action, officials said.
Under the new plan, the divisional vice presidents are responsible for promoting and improving minority representation in their divisions.
A community task force on diversity will also be formed to address minority issues. The school has joined the National Minority Identification Program.
“I think the entire community is happy and will benefit,” Hinton said. “The winners are the students, staff and faculty at GCC.”