Last week, the Digest attended The Protected Classes of Religion and Creed workshop. This popular workshop was full to capacity. Participants, some taking the course through OIED’s free open enrollment workshop registration, others taking it to satisfy an elective requirement for the year-long Equal Opportunity Institute (also free to NC State faculty, staff, and students), chatted animatedly while waiting for class to begin. Beverly Jones Williams, Director of OIED Outreach and Education, introduced the main speaker, Vice Provost Joanne Woodard. Also a lecturer in the History department, Woodard spoke in depth about the meanings and implications of religion and creed protections within the educational arena.
The second part of the workshop featured a panel of representatives from five different religions. Each panelist gave a 5-10 minute brief overview of principal beliefs and practices. This year’s panel featured a Buddhist, a Catholic, a Muslim, representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and a person with Jewish heritage.
For over a decade, the Protected Class Series of workshops has been educating NC State about the set of protections in place for those who work, learn, and live within the campus community. At one time or another, we are all protected by being in one or more of the following groups:
- age (persons over 40)
- genetic information
- national origin
- race and color
- religion and creed
- sexual orientation
- veteran status
Each of these eleven protected classes is described in detail on the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity website. Some are federal protections, some are at the state level, and some are at the university level, making NC State a more equitable environment than some communities.
The Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity’s two-hour workshops bring these laws and policies to life, explaining exactly how each of us is protected, examining why these protections are needed, and providing real-life examples. The workshops are offered annually throughout the fall and spring semesters. Please go to OIED Workshop Descriptions to register or learn more.