January 19, 2016

Steering committee formed in response to Sombrerogate

By Olivia Krauth–

A steering committee has been formed to assist in implementing diversity initiatives recommended after Halloween’s sombrerogate incident.

President James Ramsey announced the formation in an university-wide email today. Ramsey said he would chair the committee and provide updates as they occurred.

“I not only want to address the specific recommendations that have been presented but also identify more systemic changes and accountability measures that need to be put in place in order to help us continue to advance diversity and inclusion,” Ramsey said in the email.

The committee consists of students, faculty, staff and administrators. They will also review current policies to help “make other fundamental changes essential to achieving our diversity/inclusiveness commitments.”

In the email, Ramsey also said the recruitment process has begun to hire a staff member for Hispanic/Latino Initiatives.

Ramsey fell into hot water in October when he and his staff wore stereotypical Mexican outfits to their staff Halloween party. The costumes started a media fire storm, which became national.

Ramsey initially apologized in the days after the incident. He gave more details on how he would remedy the situation on Nov. 12, and reiterated them in a campus forum on Nov. 20.

In her initial October apology, chief of staff Kathleen Smith said the president’s staff would go through immediate cultural sensitivity training. The staff went through their first sensitivity meeting in December, and will continue having monthly meetings until April.

The steering committee will hold their first meeting on Feb. 5.

Photo courtesy / The Courier-Journal.

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