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UB receives NCAA award for diversity and inclusion

Diversity is a way of life for UB Athletics.

By GAIL DENT, NCAA

Published December 15, 2017

“Buffalo has been focused and intentional in promoting diversity and inclusion in numerous policies, programs and practices, and has set a high bar with its efforts to drive inclusive excellence.”
Katrice Albert, executive vice president for inclusion and human resources
NCAA

UB has been named the recipient of the NCAA and Minority Opportunities Athletic Association’s 2018 Award for Diversity and Inclusion for its commitment to establishing an inclusive environment in athletics, on campus and in the community.

The university will receive the honor at the NCAA Convention in January in Indianapolis.

The diversity award, a partnership between the NCAA and MOAA, recognizes and celebrates the diversity and inclusion initiatives, policies and practices of colleges, universities and athletics conference offices. Past honorees have been cited for their hiring practices, professional development, programming initiatives and community outreach that enhance opportunities for people of diverse backgrounds, culture and experiences.

UB has been “focused and intentional in promoting diversity and inclusion in numerous policies, programs and practices, and has set a high bar with its efforts to drive inclusive excellence,” said Katrice Albert, NCAA executive vice president for inclusion and human resources.

“We’re also delighted that the student-athletes are intimately involved in shaping their campus environment to be more welcoming, where everyone can thrive.”

Added Peggy Davis, president of MOAA and director of athletics at Virginia State University: “This award encompasses what each of our athletics departments strives to emulate, and we are honored to recognize the commitment to diversity and the efforts of Buffalo and its athletics director, Allen Greene.”

UB earned the diversity and inclusion award for its comprehensive and campus-impacting programming, and has linked many of its values to student-athlete development and well-being. The university was cited for:

  • Developing a student-athlete survey, distributed at the end of each competitive season, that centers on whether athletes believe an inclusive culture continues to be fostered within athletics, and if additional education is needed.
  • Creating a peer-mentoring program that encourages student-athletes to support one another around life topics that include issues on race, ethnicity, religious beliefs and sexual orientation.
  • Instituting a Diversity Athletic Council where student-athletes take part in inclusive-related discussions on such topics as immigration and international matters, gender equity and race.
  • Supporting freedom of expression with a departmental video that educates student-athletes on how to thoughtfully express opinions surrounding social issues and race.
  • Working with a gender subcommittee of university officials that addresses equitable treatment and issues, and increases awareness of sexual assault violence prevention on campus.
  • Adding to the Athletics website statements and policies that confirm its commitment to diversity and inclusion.
  • Developing public announcements for athletics competitions that promote the school’s zero-tolerance policy for derogatory remarks and slurs.

The NCAA and MOAA also noted that UB has focused on LGBTQ education and has reiterated its support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order prohibiting teams and staff from traveling to states that have discriminatory practices.

Moveover, UB’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, along with the Mid-American Conference Council of Student-Athletes, has supported hosting a weeklong event dedicated to disability awareness, religious inclusion, multicultural engagement, gender/sexual orientation and campus unity.

The university also has worked with the MAC on an initiative called Team IMPACT that gives student-athletes and staff a better understanding of people with disabilities.

“It is deeply gratifying to see our commitment to diversity and inclusion being recognized at the national level,” said President Satish K. Tripathi. “Diversity and inclusion are central to all of our programs across the university. These are core values of our institutional mission.”

Athletics Director Allen Greene said UB Athletics “is humbled and incredibly honored to receive this prestigious award recognizing our commitment to diversity and inclusion. We are relentlessly passionate in our efforts to provide student-athletes, coaches and staff with a tolerant and accepting environment,” Greene said.

“We want to thank the NCAA and MOAA for establishing this recognition, which highlights the importance of celebrating our differences on the national level.”

Kathy Twist, senior associate athletics director for sport administration and senior woman administrator, called it a “fantastic honor” for UB to receive the diversity and inclusion award.

“The University at Buffalo is a community committed to diversity and inclusion,” Twist said. “With the collaboration of campus and community resources, we continue to build an inclusive community strengthened by our differences and supported by our caring, fairness and the belief we can create a world of peace and harmony.”

In addition to UB, the NCAA and MOAA recognized Northeastern University, the America East Conference and the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association with honorable mention for their diversity and inclusion initiatives.