Equal opportunity director open forums continue with Foreman

Jake Dalbey

The third of four director of equal opportunity open forums took place Thursday at Hoover Hall.

Margo Foreman, director of equal opportunity at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, spoke at 3 p.m. on campus about the issue of diversity and inclusion at colleges across the nation. She also spoke about her qualities as a leader and a four-step strategic plan for Iowa State.

Foreman began her speech by highlighting several aspects that equal opportunity workers and institutions should be following.

“They should be initiating partners and collaborating with units across campus and creating measures to weave inclusion into the very fabric of this institution,” Foreman said.

Systematic changes that would help students receive equal access to amenities and services, no matter the person, was a large focus for Foreman.

“The office should be implementing and monitoring employment decisions to make sure there is equitable treatment,” Foreman said. “That goes for the hiring process all the way to the retirement of an individual.”

The difference between equity and equal was a talking point for Foreman as she explained her plan for diversifying staff and students. Foreman said equal means the same regardless of race, gender, etc., and equity is fairness to all, but not necessarily exactly equal.

As part of her presentation, Foreman introduced her four-step plan to create equal opportunities for the students and staff of Iowa State.

Phase one begins with the phrase “first you then others,” as she believes equal opportunity professionals should lead the charge and be seen as leaders in the community. Foreman believes that EO professionals should be “exemplary and commendable.”

Phase two involves addressing power and privilege as well as opening people’s eyes to issues, three is doing something to change the diversity climate and the final step involves keeping a balanced approach to diversity issues.

Foreman ended her speech by creating a list of items that wouldn’t describe her in a leadership role and then building off those to create a leadership plan.

“I’m not going to tie your hands,” Foreman said. “If you have a great idea, go for it. I will never stop championing for diversity, even if it’s unpopular. I will help people if they fall because a hard lesson is always worth it and I will never give up.”

The last of the equal opportunity open forums will take place Monday at Morrill Hall, with Jyl Shaffer scheduled to speak on the issues of college diversity.