Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

William Peace University is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our community.

We deeply value people. Our campus and culture are enriched by people of different backgrounds and perspectives working and learning together, invigorated by open dialogue in an atmosphere built on respect. We welcome, expect, and encourage the continued pursuit of everything necessary to build an increasingly inclusive community.

When we refer to diversity we include ethnicity, race, age gender (identity & expression), ability, and religion, country of origin and veteran’s status. We also define diversity to include people with a range of philosophical and societal perspectives, socio-economic backgrounds and cultural backgrounds.

DEI Staff

Mission Statement

WPU Office of Diversity & Inclusion provides support, advocacy, training & education and community building events and programs for the WPU students, faculty and staff.

The office has a programmatic focus on the needs and topics of minority students including students who identify as members of  marginalized groups or identities such as LGBTQIA+, first generation college students, women, international students, African American, Latinx/Hispanic, Asian, Native American, Pacific Islander, etc.

We provide opportunities and initiatives for those who seek multicultural awareness, cultural competency, inclusive leadership training, greater capacity for equity and celebration of diversity.

Vision Statement

We work with students, faculty and staff actively engaging in knowledge acquisition (curricular) enhancement, celebration and empowerment (co-curricular) programs related to our intersecting identities as a campus community.

We do this through training, programs, and other special events that strengthen our inclusive campus community and by engaging in intentional, identity-focused empowerment and leadership initiatives. Through these initiatives, we serve as a place for support and affirmation of the diversity in our student body.

I know my son will be in good hands. I hope he squeezes out everything William Peace University has to offer him!

Sandy Carrington, Pacer Parent

Zyon Ross

DEI Initiatives

The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion supports students by hosting culturally affirming celebratory events, facilitating educational workshops for students, faculty, and staff, and through our service and advocacy efforts for the WPU and local communities.

We deeply value people. Our campus and culture are enriched by people of different backgrounds and perspectives working and learning together, invigorated by open dialogue in an atmosphere built on respect. We welcome, expect, and encourage the continued pursuit of everything necessary to build an increasingly inclusive community.

When we refer to diversity we include ethnicity, race, age gender (identity & expression), ability, and religion, country of origin and veteran’s status. We also define diversity to include people with a range of philosophical and societal perspectives, socio-economic backgrounds and cultural backgrounds.

Signature Programming

History and Heritage Month Programming

The student body is a microcosm of the diversity in our state. With each student sub-population having differing needs, our role is to advocate for those needs and support all students. Currently, the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion hosts events and creates workshops during the following months:

Fall Semester

  • September 15 – October 15: Latinx Heritage Month
  • October: LGBT History Month
  • November: Native American Heritage Month

Spring Semester

  • February: Black History Month
  • March: Women’s Herstory Month
  • April: Asian, Pacific Islander, Desi American Heritage Month* Officially designated as the month of May, however, our office celebrates this month in April in order to support student engagement with this heritage month prior to the end of the semester.
SafeZone Training

Safe Zone programs are nationally recognized training programs for institutions committed to having inclusive educational environments and more specifically, are committed to supporting LGBTQ+ students. Research in both K-12 and postsecondary education has reported that students who identify as LGBTQ+ often report feeling unsafe, isolated, and even invisible or marginalized. Safe Zone training is hosted at least once a semester by our office and all WPU staff and faculty are encouraged to complete it.

Safe Zone Goals

  • To contribute a greater sense of safety for the LGBTQ+ community on campus
  • To be a resource of information regarding the LGBTQ+ student experience and inclusive language
  • To offer information to straight and cis-gender allies in positions where they may interact with LGBTQ+ folks (roommates, friends, students, staff, faculty, etc.)
  • To contribute to university efforts toward creating a safe and inclusive campus community
Book Club

Every semester, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion creates a book club for all in the WPU community. Students, faculty, staff, and alumni who register for the semester will receive a copy of the selected reading, access to the book club digital meeting space, and other goodies to support reading engagement. The goal of our book club program is to introduce members to multicultural lived experiences through an intersectional lens of ability, gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, religious beliefs, etc. Book club meets regularly throughout to reflect on the current novel. Examples of previous readings are listed below:

2021 – 2022 Academic Year

  • “Disability Visibility” edited by Alice Wong
  • “Minor Feelings” a book of essays by Cathy Park Hong
  • “If They Come for Us” a book of poetry by Fatimah Asghar
  • “Such a Fun Age” by Kiley Reid
  • “All Boys Aren’t Blue” by George M. Johnson
  • “IRL” by Tommy Pico
  • “Juliet Takes a Breath” a Gabby Rivera Novel

We email everyone in the WPU community regularly about book club registration. Registration typically opens up a few months before the first meeting for the semester. Please check your peace email during summer for information regarding Fall book club.

Diversity Educators Engaging Peace

The Diversity Educators Engaging Peace (DEEP) Program is a diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice peer education program for WPU students. Student leaders who serve in the DEEP Program are known as DEEP Leaders. DEEP Leaders are ambassadors for the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. They provide leadership in the planning and execution of the campus-wide programming and workshops oriented toward their fellow students.

Diversity and Inclusion Committee

The University’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee is chaired by the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and composed of faculty and staff members across campus. The Committee works to strengthen the campus climate for diversity and inclusion and supports and assists the department in campus wide initiatives.

DEI Events

The DEI offices hosts a variety of on-campus and virtual events for WPU students, faculty, and staff. Students can check PacerEngage for those event details. Faculty and staff will receive emails and regular updates about events as well as calendar invites. If you have questions about an event, please contact us.

Meet the staff

Bobbie Cole
Assistant Vice President of Student Life
Leah Young Headshot
Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Contact Us

Report an Incident

William Peace University is committed to the pursuit of inclusive excellence; our mission for ethical citizenship drives our inclusion efforts.

Our university values provide support for our efforts but also affirm an institutional commitment diversity & inclusion. As part of a multi-faceted effort to maintain an inclusive environment and foster community, WPU has a team of faculty and staff to respond to bias when it occurs on our campus, educate the community on what bias is and ways to prevent it, and provide support for our community members impacted by bias or bias incidents. This is the Bias Education and Support Team (BEST).

Our work on bias reporting and education will help us actualize our university values for diversity and community. BEST has a guiding philosophy that is based on educating and supporting the campus, allowing any punitive steps (as necessary) to be taken by our current student conduct or human resource process.

What is a Bias Incident

Incidents when a person determines that they’ve been targeted and/or treated unfairly because of actual or perceived aspects of their identities or characteristics of those identities.

Including but not limited to, conduct/behavior, slurs, unequal or discriminatory treatment/service, graffiti, written messages, or images that harass or intimidate individuals or groups based on membership in protected classes and/or other marginalized/minority identities. It should also be noted that a bias incident or act can occur whether the act is intentional or unintentional.

“Protected classes or identity categories” with respect to discrimination, harassment and bias include: age, (dis)ability, ethnic origin, faith tradition, gender expression, gender identity, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, race and veteran’s status.

How would this differ from a hate crime

In North Carolina, a hate crime is defined as any act prohibited by law that is motivated because of the victim’s race, color, religion, nationality, or country of origin. Each act of bias that is reported will be reviewed/judged, and appropriate action steps taken on a case-by-case basis. As such, it should be noted that not all acts of bias are going to require a response from BEST. It should also be noted that not all bias incidents will be found as hate crimes, while all hate crimes are (more severe) acts of bias.

What happens after I submit a BEST form?

The university’s response to bias incident reports may vary depending upon factors such as effect(s) on the campus community, the nature or severity of the report, whether the violator and the reporter have been identified, etc. General procedural steps are outlined below:

  • All reported bias incidents will first go to the BEST Intermediary, who will determine if, in fact, there was a bias incident and, if so, share the report with the entire team (in only some cases).
  • The BEST Intermediary will respond to you shortly (usually in 2 business days or less) regarding the information you submitted in your report. The intermediary will request a meeting with you to discuss the details of the incident.
  • The BEST intermediary will share incident information with other members of BEST. The team will meet to consider and carry out the most appropriate methods to address and respond to the incident. Some of the methods or actions taken by the team may include (but will not be limited to) the following:
    • Providing support to the affected person(s) through referrals to appropriate resources
    • Assessing the circumstances of the incident as thoroughly and quickly as possible and inform all appropriate parties
    • Notifying the campus community if necessary

William Peace University students are encouraged to report bias when/if it occurs. We encourage students to report an act of bias even if they see it/or experience it as a bystander.

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