EOAA Spring 2014 E-Newsletter


EOAA Spring 2014 E-Newsletter

Update from the Director

I hope that you are enjoying these well-deserved warm summer days after a very rough winter.  We have had a number of interesting changes in the Office for Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA) over the past several months.  First we welcome our new Executive Office and Administrative Assistant Nancy Xiong.  Nancy was working in One Stop prior to becoming part of the EOAA team.  She has been an outstanding addition and you can find out more about her below.

Tina Marisam, Associate to the Director of EOAA has been appointed the Interim Director for the Office of Conflict Resolution (OCR). Tina has been acting in this role for about two weeks and will continue to do so until a permanent director is appointed.  During the time that Tina is Acting Director she will continue to perform some duties for EOAA on a very limited basis.

I was recently appointed Deputy Chief of Staff for the Office for Equity and Diversity (OED).  I will continue as Director of EOAA and will be performing some additional duties for OED including managing the transition of the new director for the OCR, performing oversight of some OED personal issues and representing Katrice Albert, the Vice President of OED in her absence on the Executive Oversight Compliance Committee (EOCC).

Many of you may be following the various communications and initiatives from the United States Department of Education about sexual assaults on university and college campuses.  You may be aware of a provision of the Violence Against Woman Act (VAWA) called the Campus SaVE Act which codifies much of the information contained in the April 2011 Dear Colleague letter and clarifies expectations and responsibilities for colleges and universities in responding to sexual assaults.  EOAA has been working closely with its partners in the Office for Student Conduct and Academic Integrity (OSCAI), the Aurora Center, the University of Minnesota Police Department (UMPD) and the Office of the General Counsel (OCG) to guarantee that the University of Minnesota is in compliance with this important new legislation.  Historically, EOAA has not been involved with student-to-student complaints of harassment and assault, but since the Dear Colleague letter in 2011 we have been working collectively with OSCAI in responding and investigating these complaints.  This fall we are moving towards even greater involvement in that process. 

Please be sure to review the new administrative policy and procedure on sexual harassment.  http://www.policy.umn.edu/Policies/hr/Rules/SEXUALHARASSMENT.html As you are know the University’s bifurcated policy system can be challenging to navigate.  We hope that the administrative procedure in particular will be a useful and user-friendly resource for those looking for information about where and to whom to report various kinds of sexual harassment. 

We are currently seeking nominations for the Lillian H. Williams Award named in honor of the founding director of Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action.  The award recognizes individuals and units within the University community who exemplify Ms. William’s spirit and commitment to equal opportunity and affirmative action.  Nominations are due July 21, 2014 and the winners will be announced at the EOAA Fall Liaison Conference on October 27, 2014 at Coffman Memorial Union.  Please see the following link for more information about the award. https://diversity.umn.edu/eoaa/lillianhwilliamsaward

Finally, I would like to remind you to talk with your departments about the importance of considering religious holidays and observances when planning Department Meetings, classes, developing syllabi and other scheduling programs. To review the language of the relevant policies related to religious accommodation and absence please see our website at https://diversity.umn.edu/eoaa/policiesanddirectives

Kimberly D. Hewitt

Director of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action

Deputy Chief of Staff for the Office for Equity and Diversity

University of Minnesota



Profile on our new Administrator, Nancy Xiong

EOAA would like to welcome our newest staff member, Nancy Xiong!

Prior to joining EOAA, Nancy was at One Stop helping students with financial aid, registration, and billing.  Before One Stop, and Nancy’s first job after college, was academic advisor with Upward Bound/Vision Quest and worked with low income underrepresented high school students.  Through this program, students develop life skills, prepare to graduate high school, and enroll in college.  Nancy was also part of the program as a student!

Nancy graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2010, with a degree in Management Information Systems from the Carlson School of Business, and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Business Administration from Hamline University, with an anticipated graduation date of 2015.  In the future, she envisions a career in either project management or as a director of a program.

Nancy enjoys working with others, acting as the point of contact, and taking on leadership roles.  She hopes to leave a legacy of making a difference.  EOAA is excited to have Nancy on board!

New Affirmative Action Requirements for the Disabled and Veterans

The U. S. Department of Labor has issued new regulations on Affirmative Action for persons with disabilities and military veterans.  Most of the relevant provisions take affect on January 1, 2015 when we next update our Affirmative Action Plan. 

We are working with Central HR and others within the University to implement these changes.   More information about these changes will be included in Equity and Diversity in the Search Process training offered this fall and as part of the fall Liaison Conference. . 

The most important changes for HR professionals to be aware of that take affect with our 2015 AAP include:

Hiring Goals:  A 7.0% hiring goal will be established within each job group for individuals with disabilities and a 7.2% goal will be established systemwide for veterans.  For those of you that meet with search committees to inform them of their Affirmative Action obligations, beginning in 2015 you should inform search committees of these goals.  You will be able to access these goals on line in the same manner as you currently access goals for women and people of color. 

Emphasis on Recruiting the Disabled and Veterans:  It is expected that in the event of an OFCCP audit, there will be increased scrutiny to ensure that we are recruiting persons with disabilities and veterans for open positions.  We currently have some recruitment sources in our Diversity Recruitment Source Database on the EOAA website that work with the disabled and veterans to find employment. We plan to add to that list.  Units will be expected to make good faith efforts to recruit the disabled and veterans and retain documentation of those efforts so the EOAA Office can analyze the effectiveness of the University’s recruitment efforts.

Data Collection and Analysis:  The new regulations have specific requirements related to collecting voluntary information on disability and veteran status for applicants, new hires and current employees.  We are working with Central HR to automate these processes.  The EOAA Office will assume responsibility for analyzing and reporting data as required.  We will provide additional details related to data collection, as we get closer to implementation.

Notification Requirements:  The regulations require various notifications to employees, applicants and those we do business with related to EOAA and providing reasonable accommodations to the disabled. We are either already compliant or are working to ensure compliance in these areas.

Should you have any questions, please contact Michael O’Day at (612) 624-9814 or odayx002@umn.edu

Supervisors’ EOAA Toolkit Workshop

The EOAA has received positive feedback on its newest workshop offering – Supervisors’ EOAA Toolkit.  This workshop provides practical tools for supervisors to identify, prevent and respond to discrimination, harassment, retaliation and nepotism.  During this highly interactive workshop, supervisors practice identifying inappropriate behaviors in hypothetical scenarios.  Supervisors also learn effective strategies for responding to complaints from supervisees, and practice these strategies in team role-playing activities. 

This is an ideal workshop to offer supervisors in your department.  The EOAA has recently delivered the workshop to Athletics supervisors and coaches, as well as the Academic Health Center Human Resources Advisory Group.

The full-length version of the workshop runs 2.5 hours.  However, the EOAA also offers a shorter version.  While the Supervisors’ EOAA Toolkit is geared toward a supervisor audience, the EOAA has also developed a similar Toolkit workshop that is aimed at non-supervisors looking for practical information and training on EOAA issues. 


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