What is "equity"?
You’ve probably heard the words “equity” and “equality” used interchangeably, but they are not the same.
Equality is about having equal shares of something and everyone having the same amount. But, having an equal share of something doesn’t take into account the variations among people or differences between groups of people.
Conversely, an equal quantity among different people with varying needs isn’t always equitable.
Equity seeks to satisfy the needs of different people or groups of people without judging them for their gender, race, ethnicity, politics, or religion. To be equitable, different needs are satisfied by actions and policies that are just and fair, although not necessarily equal.
How does equity (or inequity) affect our work environment?
Inequity can cause bias among people or groups of people, seeding prejudices that negatively impact attitudes and behaviors, harm morale, and create dissonance that impairs productivity, which jeopardizes organizational achievement. An equitable workplace is an environment where employees interact effectively and cooperatively across their differences, creating a favorable climate for productivity and organizational achievement.
How often does the Equity Committee meet?
Bi-monthly, and at the call of the chair if additional meetings are needed.
What has the Equity Committee accomplished thus far?
- Committee members reached agreement on the mission, duties, and procedures for the Equity Committee to be successful.
- Developed an employee web site to make equity information accessible and to post equity issues submitted to the committee by VMI employees for their review. Completed December 2005.
- Recommended redesign of the VMI phone directory to include all VMI employees and contact information. Completed and distributed December 2005.
- Recommended to the Superintendent the need for and contents of a survey among employees to assess the “climate” of the workplace at VMI. Conducted in September 2005, and is now an annual survey.
How do I submit an equity question or concern?
A VMI employee* may submit a question or concern in one of three ways:
- Contact a Committee Member by phone or email
- Send a letter to the Equity Committee, c/o any Committee Member, or
- Complete and submit the form from the Equity web site
*VMI Employee includes full-time and part-time employees
Who reviews my equity issue?
All submissions are reviewed by the Chief of Staff, the Equity Committee, and Superintendent.
How will I get a response?
The Committee will post responses to all submissions by topic on the Equity website.
Will my supervisor see what I submit?
Each member of the committee has agreed to protect the confidentiality of all employees who submit an equity issue. Your supervisor would only be made aware of an equity issue if a submission prompts the Equity Committee to assign action to a department or functional area for which your supervisor is responsible. Even in this case, the name or names of the person who submitted an issue or concern is kept confidential, even from the committee.
Will I get in trouble for submitting a question or concern?
The Superintendent encourages and supports any VMI employee who wishes to submit an issue or concern for review by the Equity Committee, and views this process as integral to a caring and civil culture at VMI. Opposition to this philosophy would be considered counter-productive.
What other avenues exist to submit a concern/make a complaint/report an issue?
- Chain of Command
- Inspector General
- Human Resources Office
- Reporting Contacts
- VMI Police
- Equity Committee members
- Anonymous Equity Committee website
- Silent Witness Program
- Superintendent's Open Door Policy
- Climate Survey
- 911-Local Police