A brief history of the diversity committee at The Daily Californian

Infographic about the history of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee at The Daily Californian,
Flora Huynh/Staff

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At the end of the day, The Daily Californian is an institution that has excluded and caused harm to marginalized communities. History cannot be erased, but we can certainly take steps to acknowledge and rectify our mistakes.

Our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, or Div Com, is relatively new compared to our 150 years of publishing. As one of several initiatives to improve our workplace and content, Div Com has become more formalized over time after starting as a place for staffers to voluntarily discuss any diversity-related issues.

As a former committee chair myself, I’m very proud of the growth. But the fact that the committee was only established recently speaks to longstanding issues that will take more time and effort to fully address.

Here is a timeline that highlights Div Com’s progression since its inception four years ago. We welcome any feedback on how to improve this ever-changing committee.

Spring 2017: The Daily Cal establishes its first diversity committee.

Fall 2018: The committee starts working on staffwide trainings on cultural sensitivity and presenting on workplace harassment.

Spring 2020: The Div Com chair was added as a member of our Senior Editorial Board, giving them power to vote on newsroom policy and have a more significant say in Daily Cal operations. Staffers attended cultural sensitivity workshops for the first time.

Summer 2020: The Div Com chair became a paid position within the Daily Cal. Meanwhile, the committee stopped requiring applications to join, making each meeting and string of communication open to all of staff.

Fall 2020: Staffers virtually attended revamped cultural sensitivity and workplace harassment workshops. The committee also engaged in community outreach to assist with the creation of a DEI handbook. This resource will serve as a guide for staffers to ensure more sensitive, accurate and representative content.

Spring 2021: Div Com established subcommittees to tackle initiatives such as the DEI handbook and ongoing workshops. The committee also launched its own social media channels and the Div Com Desk blog, which is devoted to discussing diversity in student newsrooms. In collaboration with the Disabled Students’ Program, the Daily Cal held a workshop for editors and managers to formalize accommodations within the workplace.

Sarah Harris is the editor in chief. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @sharris_DC. Contact our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee at [email protected]lycal.org.