Today the University of Louisiana System announced the formation of a Workplace Inclusion Task Force during its daylong Ensuring a Healthy and Productive Workplace workshop. The task force is charged with evaluating how the System and its universities implement policies designed to encourage inclusion and respect for diversity among students, employees and constituents. The analysis will result in the recommendation of changes to any policies or practices that prevent the System from attaining its goal to provide an educational environment and workplace that is welcoming to all.

“As one of the nation’s largest systems of higher education, we aspire to be a model for workplace inclusion and diversity,” UL System President and CEO Jim Henderson said. “With a strategic goal to produce Louisiana’s most educated generation, we realize the importance of engaging and preparing students from all demographic and socioeconomic backgrounds. To do that effectively, we must recruit, develop, and retain faculty, staff, and leaders reflective of the markets we intend to serve, and provide a workplace environment that allows each to fully realize his or her potential. Whether you view it as a moral imperative or a business imperative, there can be no debate it is imperative.”

The workshop was designed to ensure the System’s nine universities create work environments that are free from any form of harassment or discrimination. Attendees included university presidents, HR managers, Title IX coordinators, Student Affairs leaders, Academic Affairs leaders, Faculty Senate presidents and SGA presidents. Postlethwaite & Netterville Consulting Group provided a comprehensive program about discrimination focused on awareness and response with an emphasis on being change agents for inclusion. Winston Decuir Jr. of Decuir, Clark and Adams provided a presentation on the legal matters surrounding discrimination and harassment allegations.

“This room, filled with some of our state’s most educated minds, is the perfect place to discuss inclusion and respect,” UL System Board Chair Alejandro “Al” Perkins said. “Beyond the moral sense, a more inclusive and respectful workplace will allow us to attract and better serve a diverse student body which will elevate the System as a whole.”

Members of the Workplace Inclusion Task Force include System attorney Winston Decuir Jr., Northwestern State Louisiana University HR Director Veronica Biscoe, Nicholls State University Dean of Student Services Michele Caruso, System Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Jeannine Kahn and Southeastern Louisiana University EEO and ADA Compliance Officer Gene Pregeant.