In recent weeks, within the higher education community, there has been considerable attention given to those states that have passed laws reportedly to protect religious freedom. However, the application of these laws has the potential to legalize discrimination. A number of states have passed adjusted laws in order to prohibit discrimination, but concerns remain.
Omicron Delta Kappa is an organization always seeks to embrace diversity and be an inclusive multicultural institution. Our values and commitment to diversity and equal opportunity are clear. The OΔK Idea affirms and promotes openness and inclusiveness among all people. Omicron Delta Kappa does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, biological sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran’s status, or genetic information in its programs and activities, membership, and with regard to employment.
Throughout Omicron Delta Kappa’s one hundred years history, our organization has evolved to initiate, welcome and embrace an ever-diversifying membership. As a leader in the higher education landscape, our organization continuously seeks ways to support the students we serve and the changing demographics of higher education. In advocating for our collegiate members as well as our alumni members, our circles and their host institutions, the Omicron Society Board of Directors calls upon all individuals in positions of authority and responsibility to make a clear statement that discrimination will be prohibited under law and is not acceptable.
In the interest of continuing to advance as an organization, the Board unanimously approved the appointment of a Diversity and Inclusion Work Group during our regular monthly Board teleconference last week.
I have charged the work group with (1) identifying processes and policies that support the involvement and engagement of a multicultural membership, (2) evaluate the current benchmarks for diversity and inclusion found within Omicron Delta Kappa at all levels of the organization, (3) develop programmatic recommendations related to topics of leading in a diverse world and supporting leadership development in marginalized student populations and (4) identify practices that ensure that a diverse pool of candidates is cultivated for staff and volunteer positions to further OΔK’s development as an inclusive organization.
I am grateful to At-Large Student Member Ben WIlliams for agreeing to chair the work group, to At-Large Members Dr. Melvina King and Dr. Matt Clifford, as well as Cie Cochran of our National Advisory Council, for agreeing to serve as members of the work group.
Informing our work through this work group’s efforts will both ensure a strong voice on our nearly 300 campuses nationwide as well as demonstrate through tangible actions our Society’s long-standing commitment to an ever-changing, diverse and inclusive organization.