Promoting Equity and Inclusion during COVID-19

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UB's Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) is available to assist members of the UB community during university adjustments due to COVID-19.

As we are navigating the rapidly changing circumstances being posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, EDI remains dedicated to our work of ensuring that all members of the university community can learn and work in an environment free from discrimination and harassment. While EDI staff are complying with New York State requirements for non-essential employees, we are working remotely and available to assist you.  You may email us, use the Contact Us form, or leave a voicemail message at (716) 645-2266.

Notice of Nondiscrimination

UB’s Notice of Non-Discrimination and policies protecting students against harassment and requiring accommodation have particular importance as our community adjusts to the challenges posed by COVID-19.

The University at Buffalo is committed to ensuring equal employment, educational opportunity, and equal access to services, programs, and activities without regard to an individual's race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, gender, pregnancy, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, predisposing genetic characteristics, marital status, familial status, veteran status, military status, domestic violence victim status, or criminal conviction status. Employees, students, applicants or other members of the University community (including but not limited to vendors, visitors, and guests) may not be subjected to harassment that is prohibited by law or treated adversely based upon a protected characteristic.

Protections Against Harassment

UB’s Discrimination and Harassment Policy prohibit harassment based on actual or perceived disability, race, color, or national origin.  Members of the UB community are prohibited from engaging in harassment, and anyone who experiences harassment can contact Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) to report this, or for consultation and advice.  As President Satish K. Tripathi stated in his message to the UB community, “[O]ur university community will need to work together, support one another and treat everyone we encounter with dignity, respect and compassion.”  Of particular concern are nationwide reports of threatening and abusive behaviors toward individuals of Asian descent.  UB will not tolerate this behavior in our community, and EDI will work with University Police and conduct offices to address it immediately.   

Ensuring Access for Students with Disabilities

UB’s move to online learning presents challenges for some students with disabilities.  We understand that faculty have been asked to move their courses online with very short notice due to rapid changes in events.  UB’s Center for Educational Innovation can provide assistance in maximizing the accessibility of online courses, and faculty may also consult the Accessibility at UB’s Classroom and Online Instruction webpage as a resource.  Students with disabilities who require accommodations for equal access to online instruction can contact Accessibility Resources for assistance.  Members of the University may report an accessibility concern through the Accessibility at UB web portal.  

Protections against Sexual Violence

UB’s prohibitions against sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking remain in place.  In fact, concerns about domestic violence and other forms of sexual violence are heightened while people are asked to stay in their homes.  During this time, UB’s support and assistance for our community to address unwanted sexual experiences continues.  You may consult with an EDI representative, or contact a confidential Crisis Services advocate for help and assistance.  UB’s Employee Assistance Program is available for employees.  UB’s Options for Confidentially Disclosing Sexual Violence provides contact information for reporting and support resources. No matter where you may be geographically at this time, help is still available.  If you or someone you know are outside of the Western New York area, additional resources can be found on the Sexual Assault & Violence Response (SAVR) Resources webpage https://www.suny.edu/violence-response/.

Resources for Promoting Inclusion

·      Maintaining equity in a virtual classroom (San Diego State University) 

·      Tools and strategies for inclusive teaching (The Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California)

·      “Humanizing” on-line instruction (Appalachian State University).

·       Tips on how to create a more inclusive learning environment while teaching remotely (Rice University's Center for Teaching Excellence)

·       10 tips for identifying bias and 7 tips for responding to bias