History and Timeline Project

As part of a joint effort by faculty and staff of color and the administration, the Minority Employees Council (MEC) was established at Western Washington University (WWU) in October of 1992. The creation of the council was certainly a bottom-up endeavor. Since 1988, university employees from different ethnic backgrounds started getting together in order to discuss issues of diversity on campus, recruitment, and retention of minorities. In the spring of 1992, during President Kenneth P. Mortimer’s administration, an interim steering committee was given the task of developing a proposal for a minority organization. By October of that year said organization was established as a council, and has since then remained active.

Throughout the years, the MEC has played a crucial role not only on campus but also on the community at large promoting healthy spaces for dialogue and collaboration.  Council members often participate in search committees, mentor new minority employees, and organize professional development opportunities. The MEC also works in partnership with other organizations in aspects related to diversity in university handbooks, the curriculum, and cultural activities in order to develop intercultural sensitivity in which awareness and understanding are central.

Dr. Reneé Collins, Associate Dean of Students and Dr. Vernon Damani Johnson, Political Science Professor, who, among others, played an important role in the creation of the MEC, agree to say that the MEC has served two key functions. On the one hand, it serves a professional function as it offers a support network that empowers people of color to advance in their careers. And on the other, it serves a social function as it opens spaces that allow for the vital interaction of faculty and staff of color. The timeline below illustrates the impact the MEC has had on campus and on the broader community.

See the full Minority Employee Council Timeline project