A Note to USM Student-Athletes From our NCAA Diversity & Inclusion Designee

A Note to USM Student-Athletes From our NCAA Diversity & Inclusion Designee

To our student-athletes who have demonstrated commitment, dedication and outstanding leadership on and off of the field, we want you to know that Huskies' Athletics is making a commitment to you.   

Through engagement and conversation, the USM Department of Athletics wants our student-athletes to know that we are listening, and as a department we are dedicated to making a sustained effort to support you and make changes and improvements to the culture within athletics. We share your desire in making the department and the campus a more inclusive and equitable society, and thank you for sharing your experiences, knowledge and for bringing issues and concerns to the forefront.  

As part of our mission, the University of Southern Maine Department of Athletics is committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment across all dimensions of diversity, including but not limited to, age, race, sex, class, national origin, creed, educational background, religion, gender identity, disability, gender expression, geographical location, income, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation and work experiences. We need to continue to examine our current environment and practices to make any appropriate adjustments that will support all of our student-athlete needs, especially our BIPOC population.  

With input and consultation from William Johnson, USM Director of Intercultural Student Engagement (ISE), Al Bean, Director of Athletics, Kim Turner, Associate Director of Athletics/Senior Woman Administrator, Michael Keller, NCAA Athletics Diversity and Inclusion  Designee (ADID), and PJ Singh, Co-chair of USM's Intercultural Diversity Advisory Committee (IDAC), a plan has been established.

Our immediate plans moving forward include: 

1.      Creation of a Student-Athlete Diversity Committee

a.      This group would meet to discuss areas of concern, issues and ideas for growth within the department

2.      Forming a Diversity Action Team to advise and guide the Athletic Department in improving the student-athlete experience. 

3.      Diversity, Equity and Inclusion events, trainings, workshops and seminars

a.      Enhanced training for Athletic Department personnel to be a part of our recurring staff meetings

b.      Inviting outside expertise to lead training, workshops and seminars for all of our constituents (coaches, administrators, staff and student-athletes). 

4.      Compile and maintain resources for learning and support: Student-Athlete Resource Sheet.

 

Concurrently, Huskies' Athletics is working on long-range plans and goals for the department.  These plans and goals will be part of the mission of the Diversity Action Team and the Student-Athlete Diversity Committee and will include: 

1.      Development of an Athletics Diversity Inclusion web page.

2.      Climate Study/Survey for student-athletes and staff.

3.      Compilation of diversity data. 

4.      Review and evaluation of current practices and publications to discover and eliminate incidents of bias

 

As we begin our plans to move the Athletic Department towards a more equitable and diverse environment, we invite you to take part.  We are currently recruiting individuals to serve on both the Student-Athlete Diversity Committee and the Diversity Action Team.  Intersectionality plays a key role in the formation of everyone's identity, and as we move forward we want to ensure that both committees are created with all identities, backgrounds, ideologies and cultures represented.  All who are interested in making real change are encourage to apply. 

If you have interest in serving on either of these committees and want to help improve the culture of Huskies' Athletics, or if you have questions or concerns, please contact Michael Keller, USM NCAA Diversity and Inclusion Designee at Michael.Keller@maine.edu or (207) 780-5594.