If you didn’t know, a group of Racial/Ethnic students is suing Harvard because of racial discrimination, but not for the reasons you may think.
Read about it here:
Huff Post Article Asian-American students are suing Harvard University because of discrimination.
NY Times Article on the discrimination suit
It seems that Harvard University is in a bit of hot water in an attempt to do the right thing as it relates to diversity and inclusion. Now to be clear race and ethnicity can be considered in college admissions. In 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court narrowly upheld the University of Texas at Austin’s consideration of race and ethnicity in college admissions. Some parts of the decision in the case, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, related to features unique to that university. It appears that unlike the University of Texas at Austin, Harvard has not made it clear how it uses race in admissions and has not adopted meaningful criteria to limit the use of race. In other words, simple quotas are enough to satisfy the legal aspects of its diversity and inclusion efforts.
The best diversity and inclusion programs go beyond tokenism and simple quotas. Here are a few things organizations should keep in mind with developing diversity and inclusion programs:
- Hiring unqualified staff will only create resentment throughout your organization.
- Diversity (the faces in the spaces) alone is not enough. The goal should be inclusion (utilizing the gifts and talents of a diverse pool).
- Hard quotas are not inherently evil and soft targets are not inherently good. Develop a clear, time-based plan of action to achieve your diversity and inclusion goals.
- Tie quotas to specific organizational practices rather than the result. These “smart quotas” will help to achieve two things.
- You will get the right people in the building. In the beginning ensure that under-represented groups will be adequately represented in candidate pools, on recruitment panels, and short-lists. Expanding pools creates hope for underrepresented groups that they will have a legitimate chance of being selected. It also sends the signal to others that final decisions are based on their qualifications, not tokenism.
- You will set the right pace for lasting change. Cultural change takes time. Quotas should be appropriate and incremental. An industry that only has 6% women in leadership probably should not set a target for 50/50 gender equity in the next five years. It will take time for the organization to change its systems and possibly its infrastructure to accommodate more women as they enter the workplace. While some may balk at your pace, moving too quickly without a firm foundation could be disastrous.
- Change needs to happen at the speed of wisdom and justice. What does that mean? Advocates will push organizations to move faster than it probably can handle and traditionalists will want the organization to move much slower than it should. Justice demands that we move as quickly as possible and wisdom demands that we create the capacity to absorb the needed changes.
Working at diversity and inclusion doesn’t have to be hard. Ultimately, successful diversity and inclusion programs will help you reach more clients and achieve your goals, with less stress and more harmony. Don’t forget to download the diversity goals checklist if you have not done so already.
Glen works with organizations that want to increase profits & productivity through building intercultural competency. Audiences leave Glen’s sessions equipped with the tools they need to increase cultural competency in their organizations and life. If you’re looking for a dynamic addition to your next event or an invaluable asset to your organization’s team, contact Glen today.