Dear Virginia Tech community,

Each year presents distinctive challenges and opportunities for any university’s efforts toward building a safe and inclusive culture. In Virginia Tech’s Office for Equity and Accessibility (OEA), we are positioned not only to respond in difficult moments, but also to enable progress on our path to an environment free of barriers to equity in education and employment. We approach our charge with care, commitment to our core values, and the understanding that our work has ripple effects well beyond the university. As I reflect on our office’s 2022-23 goals to expand access to our resources, increase education and outreach initiatives, develop sustainable models for gender-based violence prevention, and further improve campus accessibility, I am encouraged by our team’s achievements, including but not limited to the following:

  • Developing and sharing our process for providing accommodations to employees experiencing limitations related to pregnancy and childbirth, per regulatory changes in the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act
  • Preparing the university for the enactment of new federal regulations related to Title IX
  • Partnering with the Sexual Violence Prevention Initiative, which was established through the efforts of the Sexual Violence Culture and Climate Work Group, to launch a universitywide sexual violence prevention campaign and provide recommendations for a sustainable prevention model
  • Providing advanced training in nondiscrimination policies and procedures for senior administrative leaders
  • Delivering affirmative action training to human resources practitioners and directors
  • Expanding educational offerings on conflict resolution to include a three-day session on restorative justice practices
  • Contributing expertise to the Campus Accessibility Working Group, which identified solutions such as the construction of new on-campus pathways and the adoption of best practices for digital accessibility
  • Crafting or contributing to more than a dozen strategic articles and messages on physical and digital accessibility and sexual violence prevention – as well as numerous campus notices on OEA’s services – published in Virginia Tech News

We are grateful for continued collaboration and engagement with our institutional partners and colleagues in Student Affairs; Services for Students with Disabilities; Human Resources; Faculty Affairs; the Women’s Center; Inclusion and Diversity; Campus Planning, Infrastructure, and Facilities; Information Technology; Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies; Communications and Marketing; and others.

Fostering a culture of belonging and respect has its complexities. Together, through our daily work, we find ways to overcome the challenges and create space for every individual to feel valued.

We offer the 2022-23 OEA Annual Report to illustrate this significant work and document trends from the past academic year. With the exception of the affirmative action and search exemption information, which is based on the federal fiscal year of Oct. 1, 2022, to Sept. 30, 2023, the data in this report reflect the academic year from Aug. 1, 2022, to July 31, 2023.

In sharing this view of our current campus climate, I look forward to the new ways the community will combine efforts to create a more equitable and accessible Virginia Tech – free from harassment and discrimination – where all employees and students can succeed in the years to come.

Sincerely,

Kelly Oaks
Associate Vice President
Office for Equity and Accessibility

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