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National University Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council logo
Dear Elizabeth,
The Council is writing today with so much to share and discuss with the campus community. Since the previous DEIC newsletter:

People from various racial and ethnic backgrounds in the U.S. continue to face violence in many venues (schools, churches, on the street), fueled by systemic racism and implicit bias. Instances of police brutality continue to make the headlines, calling out systems and structures that do not serve the changing needs of society and highlight the need to re-think what it means to protect and serve.

The painful truth is that persistent, systemic racism continues to fuel a deep injustice toward people of color and various racial and ethnic backgrounds. The familiarity of this tragedy has ignited widespread protests and demonstrations — not only across our country but also across the globe.

The DEIC speaks up as a Council to demonstrate solidarity and vows that we stand with our students, staff, and faculty in demanding better! We are committed to working with you to make meaningful changes and highlight the great work being done at NU.

As a Council, we have spent our first year building an evidence-based foundation to understand where we are NOW in matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion. This task was accomplished through a series of activities, including:
Student and employee surveys and focus groups
Creation of a Diversity Dashboard
Conducting an in-depth audit of general education courses
Faculty collaborative discussions and resource sharing
Rubrics created for eight diversity-designated courses
In-depth dive into programmatic diversity
In addition to the ongoing DEI work at National University, NUS is making great strides in its diversity efforts at the system level, and it gives the DEIC great pleasure to highlight employees and students who are passionate about work in the diversity sphere. Without further ado, let us welcome our newest team member, Emily Esparza, Vice President of Social Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (S-JEDI).
Headshot of Emily Esparza
Emily Esparza
Emily has recently joined the National University System as the VP for the Office of S-JEDI. She comes with a track record of success in building best-in-class organizations through collaboration and engagement, which she advocates as critical foundational stones of synergistic environments.

Agile in her ability to drive organizations through IPOs as realized at firms like Equinix and Audience, Emily has developed a superb business acumen combined with her continued learning approach to the art of people relations and work dynamics.

Her academic background includes a BS in International Business and Management, San Jose State University, and Extended Studies, History of Consciousness, University of California, Santa Cruz.

One of Emily’s main job functions will be to ensure NUS upholds its mission and values with excellence through S-JEDI’s inclusive excellence framework, collaboration, and key initiatives, which is as follows:
Inclusive Excellence Framework
The Inclusive Excellence Framework (IEF) is a best practice being used in higher education to provide a comprehensive approach to embed diversity, equity, and inclusion into every aspect of an organization. The IEF will help NUS effectively embrace an increasingly diverse student population and workforce. Moreover, with students as the focus, IEF is relevant to services ranging from marketing to student support to recruiting professionals who can help bridge the gap between our current and future state as an organization. There are five core elements of the IEF.
Collaboration and Key Initiatives
Cross System Alignment
Inter-Affiliate Working Group – all DEI officers/representatives
S-JEDI Council
Partnering with Sanford Education Program & Workforce Education Solutions
Online convening of students, faculty, and staff — topic(s) TBD
Supporting community policing and other criminal justice-related opportunities
Partnering with the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education
Developing EDI standards for online learning and remote working
While DEIC recognizes that there is much work to be done here at NU, we hope that you take time to celebrate, too — like Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month (last month, May) and Pride Month (June)! For virtual engagement, in-person celebration, or educational materials, we recommend:
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
California AARP Celebrates Asian American and
Pacific Islander Heritage Month
The History of Pride
Celebrating Pride Virtually
San Diego Pride, July 10-18
Celebrate LA Pride, June 1-30
Let us know about your efforts! If you, faculty, or staff are doing the challenging work of supporting, holding space, or educating the NU community on how to be an ally or what it means to be antiracist, please reach out to DEIC@nu.edu or use #DEICNU on your social media platforms, so we can promote your event or share a story in upcoming newsletters or on our website.
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