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Diversity Council Bylaws

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is committed to creating a climate that reflects the diversity of its students, staff, and faculty in its teaching, research projects, Extension programs and international activities. Likewise, the College respects individuals for their unique qualities, and their many contributions toward enhancing a culturally rich, university environment.  

The College Diversity Council provides college-wide leadership to promote diversity, guides the recruitment and retention of employees, and supports the inclusion of all people in educational programs and services.  The Council supports Virginia Tech in its quest to be a supportive, academic environment that is fully cognizant of individual differences. The Council is also committed to help each person fulfill his/her potential for academic excellence.

To develop and implement an action-oriented, diversity plan to create a diverse and inclusive climate throughout the college.

1. Composition

The council is comprised of the following members:

  • Two representatives from the Agricultural Research and Extension Center (one faculty, one staff) nominated by the director of the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station,
  • Two representatives from Extension (one faculty, one staff) nominated by the director of Extension,
  • Two faculty members from academic departments nominated by the college faculty association,
  • Two on-campus staff members nominated by the college staff association,
  • Two student representatives (one undergraduate, one graduate) nominated by the associate dean for academic programs, and
  • Up to ten (10) at-large members appointed at the discretion of the dean. These “at-large” positions will include representation from
    • Diversity coordinator
    • Director of communications and marketing, or designee
    • Director of human resources
    • Coordinator of George Washington Carver graduate program
    • Representative from human resources to be the recording secretary for the Council
    • Director of student recruitment

2. Nomination of membership

  • Each year, the chairman will appoint three people to the nomination committee, which will solicit and review nominations, verify nominees’ willingness and availability to serve, and submit the nominations to the dean.
  • The dean will receive nominations of prospective council members, and will make the final decision.
  • Appointments to the Council serve a year long term from August to July of the following year.
  • To ensure continuity, members will be appointed on a rotating basis. Initial appointments will be made for one-, two-, or three-year terms. Students will serve a one-year term with the option to serve a second term. Other members will serve three-year terms.  Members may be reappointed to a second term, pending approval from the dean.
  • Council members are expected to fully participate to advance the goals of the college and the council.

1. Installation of officers

  • Officers begin duties at the start of the Academic year (August) and commence through July

2. Duties

  • Chairperson
    • The chairperson shall call and conduct all meetings and appoint potential members to the nomination committee. The chairperson shall ensure that potential members suggested meet the composition criteria as outlined in I.1. Composition.  The chairperson shall also serve as Diversity Council representation on the CALS Governance Council, serving as liaison with the Council and the Executive Committee and ensure that general, timely input will occur for decisions regarding policy.
  • Vice chairperson
    • The vice chairperson shall assist the chairperson in any duties the chairperson deems fit.  Vice Chairperson will become chairperson in the following year.
  • Recording secretary
    • The recording secretary shall arrange all meetings date/time/location. In addition, he/she will attend all meetings, and keep a record of the meetings.

1. Frequency

Regular meetings of the Executive committee shall be held approximately once per month during the academic year and others as necessary.  

2. Attendance

Council members are expected to attend all meetings. Frequent, unexcused absences may result in replacement by the dean.

3. Quorum

The quorum for all meetings wherein any official business is transacted shall be a minimum of two-thirds.

4. Voting

All members of the diversity council have voting privileges.  Bylaws or policy changes must be voted on by the council.  These votes may be completed via e-mail if full attendance is not present.  

5. Record of council meetings

The recording secretary will arrange meeting locations and take correspondence. In addition, he/she will attend all meetings, and keep a record of the meetings. The minutes will be sent with the notice and agenda of the next meeting. At that meeting, the minutes will be presented to the chairman for approval.

Notice of proposal to amend the bylaws shall be given in the CALS diversity council agenda and considered at no fewer than two meetings of the committee prior to voting.  A copy of the proposed amendment shall be distributed with the agenda. A two-thirds present affirmative vote of the members of the council is required for approval.

Requests for resources will be presented to the dean.


Chair, Diversity Council

Vice Chair, Diversity Council

Karen Barnhart
Recording Secretary, Diversity Council

Chevon N. Thorpe
Assistant Dean of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity
1350 Litton-Reaves Hall, Virginia Tech
175 West Campus Drive
(540) 232-8702

Diversity Events

Black History Month
Feb. 1 – 28
Events university-wide

Consciousness: Caribbean Feminisms and the Politics of Knowledge
Dr. Tonya Haynes
Tuesday, Feb. 19
7-9 p.m.
Fralin Auditorium

Reimagining Trans
Robin Dembroff
Friday, Feb. 22
4-6 p.m.
Lavery Hall 350

Transformative Perspectives in Agriculture: A Personal Narrative
Nate Looney
Monday, Feb. 25
6:30 p.m., followed by reception
Holtzman Alumni Center Auditorium

Transformation Perspectives in Agriculture: A Discussion with Nate Looney
Tuesday, Feb. 26
2-3 p.m.
Join via Zoom or via Skype for Business

The Other Nègre: The Treatment of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People in Uganda and South Africa
Nathalie Etoke
Tuesday, Feb. 26
7-9 p.m.
Fralin Auditorium

El Centro Latinx Symposium
March 21-22
Call for proposals and poster sessions

LGBTQ+ Q*mmunity Support Group
Mondays, 5:30-7 p.m.
Squires 227, the LGBTQ+ Resource Center