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Messages from the Executive Vice President

March 8, 2005

Health Center's Affirmative Action Plan and Corrective Actions

In January, 2005, the Health Center was advised that its Affirmative Action Plan for 2004 was disapproved by the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO). I was extremely disappointed that our plan was viewed to be sufficiently deficient to have resulted in its disapproval. Based on my personal commitment to equal opportunity hiring it is simply unacceptable for the Health Center to be deficient in this regard.

Immediately following CHRO’s disapproval, I charged Susan Whetstone, our Chief Administrative Officer, with developing a corrective action plan within 30 days. Working with the Department of Human Resources and the Office of Diversity Programs a set of recommended corrective actions was developed and presented to me. I have accepted these recommendations and consider successful implementation to be among the Health Center’s highest priorities. The corrective actions which have been recommended however will only be successful if these departments receive the full cooperation of every faculty and staff member involved either directly or indirectly in the hiring process.

The recommended actions impose significant changes for hiring departments in terms of increased accountability, reporting and documentation of affirmative action efforts conducted as part of the hiring process. It is important to recognize that no area or position is exempt from the new hiring requirements. CHRO makes no distinction between faculty, staff, clinical, research or non-clinical hiring with respect to the demonstration of a “good faith effort” to achieve our affirmative action hiring goals. There is also a practical matter to consider. Adhering to these new requirements will help assure that the hiring process proceeds smoothly and without unnecessary delays due to noncompliance.

Some of the key recommendations which are being implemented include:

  • All applicants and search candidates must complete a UCHC application form which requests voluntary provision of demographic information required by CHRO;
  • No hiring offer will be made absent a completed UCHC application form;
  • Human Resources may designate goal candidates who must be interviewed as part of the selection process;
  • The hiring department will be required to provide basic race and sex demographic information on each candidate that is interviewed;
  • The hiring department must provide written selection justification with comparative information on the successful candidate’s qualifications and experience vis-a-vis the non-successful goal candidates’ qualifications.
  • Hiring offers may be delayed by Human Resources if written selection justification is not provided or is incomplete;
  • Any employee who has not completed the mandatory diversity training must be provided with release time prior to June 30, 2005 in order to participate in the mandatory training session.

Finally, I have accepted a recommendation which will result in the creation of a new Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE). The Office of Diversity and Equity will incorporate the staff and activities of our current Office of Diversity Programs and will report directly to the Chief Administrative Officer. The new Office will be charged with increasing our efforts and programs with respect to equal opportunity law and affirmative action regulations. Additionally, we will expand recruitment and outreach efforts within the Department of Human Resources to attract and retain goal candidates from all racial categories.

We all acknowledge that affirmative action is mandated by law and as such we have a duty to meet these regulatory requirements. More importantly however, I take pride in the fact that the Health Center community recognizes that equal opportunity – providing employment and promotional opportunities solely on the basis of job-related skills, ability, merit, and potential – is the right thing to do. It is a value the Health Center will continue to embrace, advance and support – with renewed energy and commitment.

I thank you in advance for your cooperation and assistance in implementing these corrective actions.

Peter J. Deckers, M.D.
Executive Vice President for Health Affairs
Dean, UConn School of Medicine