Thursday, June 2, 2005
Presidential Diversity Award winners recognized
By Rebecca Wyatt, OU Web Writer
University Diversity and Compliance (UDC) has announced Toni Walters, professor of reading and languages arts, and Sara Crampton, coordinator for New Student Programs, as the recipients of the Presidential Diversity Award, the first of its kind at OU.
The Presidential Diversity Award is a new initiative by UDC to recognize annually one faculty and one staff member who have been proactive in creating and promoting diversity on campus.
Walters mentors a diverse student base at OU including doctoral students and strives to be an advocate for all students. She has implemented the Jamaica Initiative, which brings Jamaican scholars to OU to earn master’s degrees. Outside of the university, she serves in an advising capacity for InsideOut, a program to bring a writer in residence to Detroit Public Schools.
“I believe diversity — historically, contemporarily, futuristically — is a reality of humanity. Too often confusion or monoculture centeredness positions diversity as an aberration on some set of issues,” Walters said. “Inasmuch as Oakland University is an educational institution that strives for academic excellence, local, regional, national and international exchanges can only enrich the quality of our campus life.”
Crampton was selected for the staff award for her work with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning students on campus and the implementation of Student, Administrators and Faculty for Equality (S.A.F.E) on Campus, in which members of the OU community are committed to providing a safe haven, a listening ear, and support for anyone dealing with issues related to sexual orientation or gender identity.
“As an institution, it is vitally important to not only our students, but to our faculty and staff, that we embrace every form of diversity that exists on our campus. Creating an environment where every person's uniqueness is valued, supported, and encouraged — both in our words and our actions — should be one of our primary purposes as an institution of higher education," said Crampton. "It has been amazing to see the support for the LGBTQ population since the creation of S.A.F.E. On Campus. I am excited about the continued success of this program and the increasing strides we have made to ensure LGBTQ students, faculty, and staff are valued members of the OU community.”
The winners were selected by Joi Cunningham, director of UDC, along with a panel of two faculty members, two staff members and a student.
Walters and Crampton each will receive $500 for their accomplishments in promoting and supporting diversity on campus. UDC will be honoring them within their departments and OU President Gary Russi will acknowledge them at an upcoming Board of Trustees meeting.