Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

BTC is committed to promoting and providing a safe and inclusive learning environment for all students. BTC appreciates and honors diversity, equity and inclusion.

BTC’s Strategic Plan includes the following values and goals:

Values: Create a supportive and inclusive community that results in a high level of student competence, professionalism, and success.

Goals: Create and maintain a welcoming campus that supports diversity, promotes a sense of community, provides an effective work and learning environment, and encourages respect for individuals.

June (and July, in Bellingham) is LGBTQ+ Pride Month!

BTC supports and celebrates the diverse identities, expressions, experiences, history and culture of the LGBTQ+ community. We strive to build connection, inclusion and community for LGBTQ+ employees, students, community members and allies. One great resource for employees is the Washington State Employees RAIN (Rainbow Alliance and Inclusion Network) Business Resource Group. Stay tuned for an LGBTQ+ employee affinity group (and others) at BTC starting in Fall 2022. 

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Tribal Lands Statement

For official college functions, following is a suggested tribal lands acknowledgement, tailored by location, to use on printed materials and in all opening remarks at public events.

In spoken word:

"Before we begin, I would like to acknowledge that we are here today within the usual and accustomed lands of the Lummi Nation and of the Nooksack Tribe of the Coast Salish peoples, and the original territory of the Samish Indian Tribe. Please join us in respect and for our indigenous neighbors, whose care and protection of the land and water continues to this day."

On printed materials:

Bellingham Technical College would like to acknowledge that our service area today is within the usual and accustomed lands of the Lhaq’temish or Xwlemi (Lummi) Nation, and of the Noxws’a’?aq (Nooksack) Tribe of the Coast Salish peoples, as well as the original territory of the sʔémǝš (Samish) Indian Tribe. Our respect and gratitude go to our indigenous neighbors, whose care and protection of the land and water continues to this day.

Why do we acknowledge the land? 

We acknowledge land to recognize the Indigenous stewards of the lands we reside on. Land acknowledgements are an important act of honoring Indigenous people who have been living and caring for these lands since time immemorial. It is vital that we know the history of the land and the Indigenous communities around us as the BTC community moves toward a more equitable future.

List of Local Tribes

Bellingham: Lummi Nation and the Nooksack Tribe

Anacortes: Samish Indian Nation and the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community

Everett: Tulalip Tribes, the Snohomish, the Stillaguamish Tribe and the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe

Kitsap Peninsula: Suquamish Tribe and the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe

Olympic Peninsula: The Hoh Tribe, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, Makah Indian Tribe, Quileute Tribe, Quinault Indian Nation, Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe and the Skokomish Tribe.

Seattle: Duwamish, Suquamish, Nisqually, Snoqualmie and Muckleshoot tribes

Resources
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Equity Statement

BTC seeks to create an educational experience that prepares all students to live as critical thinkers and engaged members of a global world. Our graduates will be prepared to enter their careers as leaders who honor the importance of diverse communities. BTC is dedicated to the ongoing training and education of our students and employees around topics of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. 

BTC is engaged in reducing institutional barriers and harm that students of historically underrepresented groups are experiencing daily. BTC is committed to supporting our Black, Indigenous and People of Color community (BIPOC) members and working to define, identify, and dismantle inequitable structures of power, privilege and oppression that have and continue to hinder the education of historically underrepresented peoples. 

  • BLACK LIVES MATTER

     

    Dear BTC Community Members,

    BTC stands with Black people. We recognize and acknowledge that Black Lives Matter, and that Black people have been targeted, brutalized and murdered through systematic racist violence. Trayvon Martin in Florida, Michael Brown in Missouri, Sandra Bland in Texas, Eric Garner in New York, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, George Floyd in Minnesota and now Rayshard Brooks in Georgia are just the latest names in a long list of names of Black Americans targeted over the past 400 years because of their race.

    At BTC we must strive towards the goal that every BTC employee and student has an equal opportunity for success. For this to happen, we also recognize that every BTC employee and student needs to be safe in their identity in our community and psychologically safe in their person in order to achieve their best outcomes. We have work to do to achieve that together.

    As BTC’s president, I ask that our campus community come together to rise to the challenge of examining ourselves and our structures for ways that we internalize and perpetuate racist ideas and systems. In addition, we will work to educate ourselves and our campus community in the ways that systemic oppression occurs, from microaggressions to overt racism.

    BTC’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee (DEIC) is a deliberative governance body that sets the diversity and equity agenda for the college and monitors its progress towards achieving its goals. DEIC also serves in an advocacy capacity to maintain consistency of major college diversity, equity and inclusion processes and procedures for employees and students.

    DEIC will be facilitating work with our Black employees and students to address bias, to support Black students in their studies by being aware that they may need flexibility and considerations to complete their course work due to the current violence and protests, and we will keep aware and honor that all students have different needs during this time, and to take extra time to communicate grading options.

    Resources available on our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion web page include Identity-Based Virtual Lounges for students across the 34 community and technical colleges; Governor Inslee’s Juneteenth Proclamation; and the Washington Association of Community and Technical Colleges Board of Presidents Resolution Denouncing Violence against Black Students, Faculty, Staff and Communities and Resolution Denouncing Anti-Asian Discrimination Caused by COVID-19 Pandemic in support of Asian American and Pacific Islander Students, Faculty, Staff and Communities.

    I recommend reading "White Fragility", by Robin DeAngelo. "So You Want to Talk About Race", by Ijeoma Oluo—a graduate of Western Washington University—is a guide to how we can begin and carry on the conversation about race in America. The Bellingham Racial History Timeline documents the history of racism here in Bellingham.

    At BTC we will work to do a better job at standing in solidarity with the Black community.

    Sincerely,

    Kimberly Perry (she, her, hers)
    BTC President

     

    Washington Association of Community and Technical Colleges Board of Presidents Resolution

    Denouncing Violence against Blacks in America In support of Black Students, Faculty, Staff, and Communities

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All-Gender Bathrooms

All-Gender Bathrooms at BTC

As of Spring 2022, single-stall bathrooms throughout campus were converted to all-gender bathrooms. Phase 2 is currently in process and involves converting selected multi-stall bathrooms to all-gender with new, consistent signage, communication and accessibility for all bathrooms across campus.  

Our goal is to provide multiple options for safe, comfortable access to facilities for all students, employees and visitors. In alignment with Washington state legislation, all-gender bathrooms provide access to facilities by individuals that are consistent with that individual's gender expression or gender identity. All-gender bathrooms also provide access for people with disabilities who have an attendant or a caregiver of a different gender who want or need to accompany someone to the bathroom. 

Providing all-gender bathrooms at BTC has been a collaboration with the DEI Committee, DEI Office, Facilities Planning Committee, Facilities, and Marketing department.

Bathroom Locations

 

Building Room Single Stall Accessible
Campus Center (CC) CC136     Y     Y
Campus Center (CC) CC137      Y     Y
Campus Center (CC) CC228C     Y     Y
H-Building (H) H23D     Y     Y
J-Building (J) J8B     Y     Y
K-Building (K) K1D     Y     Y
Morse Center (MC) MC113     Y     Y
Perry Center (PC) PC102     Y     Y
Perry Center (PC) PC103     Y     Y
Perry Center (PC) PC201     Y     Y
Perry Center (PC) PC202     Y     Y

 

Did you Know? 

Of the 34 WA State Community and Technical Colleges… 

  • 32 have all-gender bathrooms 
  • 18 have multi-stall all-gender bathrooms 
  • All other technical colleges have all-gender restrooms

WA State Laws that address issues involved in All-Gender Restrooms:   

  • U.S. Department of Education and Justice May 13 2016 Dear Colleague Letter  
  • WAC 162-32-030 Employee benefits and privileges  
  • WAC 162-32-040 Harassment  
  • WAC 162-32-050 Dress and Grooming Standards   
  • WAC 162-32-060 Gender-segregated facilities   
  • The Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD)   
  • Title IX  
Safety and all-gender bathrooms

Often there is a concern that all-gender restrooms or bathroom nondiscrimination laws for Trans individuals create a safety issue for women by giving access to predators. The linked Times article addresses this concern as a “red herring,” stating “the nation’s leading organizations dedicated to stopping violence against women signed a letter saying that this argument is a myth.”  

The following statistics show a need to increase bathroom safety for Trans people; all-gender bathrooms are a step toward addressing this safety concern. According to the U.S. Transgender Survey (USTS), the largest survey of Transgender people (27,715 respondents): 

  • 59% [16,351 respondents] have avoided bathrooms in the last year because they feared confrontations in public restrooms at work, at school, or in other places. 
  • 12% [3,325 respondents] report that they have been harassed, attacked, or sexually assaulted in a bathroom in the last year. 
  • 31% [8,591 respondents] have avoided drinking or eating so that they did not need to use the restroom in the last year. 
  • 24% [6,651 respondents] report that someone told them they were using the wrong restroom or questioned their presence in the restroom in the last year. 
  • 9% [2,494 respondents] report being denied access to the appropriate restroom in the last year. 
  • 8% [2,217 respondents] report having a kidney or urinary tract infection, or another kidney-related medical issue, from avoiding restrooms in the last year.   
Resources

Inclusive Bathroom Signage Recomendations by Rainbow Alliance Inclusion Network (RAIN), State Human Resources Office of Financial Managment, and the Washington State employee LGBTQ+ Business Resource Group

More Than Just Bathrooms Inside Higher Ed. 

FAQ: Answers to Some Common Questions about Equal Access to Public Restrooms by Lambda Legal

Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Organizations Debunk 'Bathroom Predator Myth' by ABC News

Transgender Teens in Schools With Bathroom Restrictions are at Higher Risk of Sexual Assault, Study Says by CNN

Trans Teens Face Higher Sexual Assault Risk When Schools Restrict Bathrooms, Study Finds by NBC News

Terminology

Bellingham Technical College utilizes definitions for DEI work based on the DEI- Glossary of Equity that was created by Washington State Department of Enterprise Services in an effort to keep BTC aligned with larger state agencies and work around DEI initiatives. 

Gender Identity 

A person’s innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither – how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves. A person’s gender identity can be the same or different from their biological sex.  

Agender - Without gender. When a person feels they have no gender at all and have no connection to any gender.  

Cisgender - Describes a person whose gender identity and gender expression matches the gender typically associated with their biological sex. Often abbreviated to “Cis”.  

Gender Non-Binary - A term of self-identification for people who do not identify within the limited and binary terms that have described gender identity: male or man, female or woman.  

Genderfluid - Individuals whose gender varies over time. A gender fluid person may at any time identify as male, female, agender, any other non-binary identity, or some combination of identities.  

Genderqueer - Describes a person who identifies outside of the binary of male/man and female/woman. It is also used as an umbrella term for many gender non-conforming or non binary identities (i.e. agender, bi-gender, genderfluid).  

Transgender - An umbrella term used to describe a person whose gender identity and sex assigned at birth do not correspond. 

Gender-Expansive  

An umbrella term used for individuals that broaden their own culture’s commonly held definitions of gender, including expectations for its expression, identities, roles, and/or other perceived gender norms. Gender-expansive individuals include those with transgender and non-binary identities, as well as those whose gender in some way is seen to be stretching society’s notions of gender. See Gender Identity and Gender Expression. 

Gender Expression 

External appearance of one's gender, usually expressed through behavior, clothing, haircut or intonation, and which may or may not conform to societal expectations of a person’s sex assigned at birth or their gender identity.  

Gender Non-Conforming - A way to describe a person whose gender expression does not correspond with their sex assigned at birth. It is not used as a personal identifier. 

 

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DEI Definitions

DEI Definitions

Bellingham Technical College utilizes definitions for DEI work based on the DEI- Glossary of Equity that was created by Washington State Department of Enterprise Services in an effort to keep BTC aligned with larger state agencies and work around DEI initiatives.

Diversity

Describes the presence of differences within a given setting, collective, or group. An individual is not diverse – a person is unique. Diversity is about a collective or a group and exists in relationship to others. A team, an organization, a family, a neighborhood, and a community can be diverse. A person can bring diversity of thought, experience, and trait, (seen and unseen) to a team — and the person is still an individual.

Equity

The act of developing, strengthening, and supporting procedural and outcome fairness in systems, procedures, and resource distribution mechanisms to create equitable (not equal) opportunity for all people. Equity is distinct from equality which refers to everyone having the same treatment without accounting for differing needs or circumstances. Equity has a focus on eliminating barriers that have prevented the full participation of historically and currently oppressed groups.

Inclusion

Intentionally designed, active, and ongoing engagement with people that ensures opportunities and pathways for participation in all aspects of group, organization, or community, including decision making processes. Inclusion is not a natural consequence of diversity. There must be intentional and consistent efforts to create and sustain a participative environment. Inclusion refers to how groups show that people are valued as respected members of the group, team, organization, or community. Inclusion is often created through progressive, consistent, actions to expand, include, and share.

Culturally Appropriate

Not to be confused with cultural appropriation, in the educational context, culturally appropriate describes school practices that foster congruence between the home cultures of historically marginalized students and the dominant culture of the schools they attend. In a broad sense, such practices, also described as culturally congruent, relevant, or responsive, are designed to ensure that teachers and other school staff understand the cultures of the students they serve and draw upon students’ cultural strengths to enhance their learning and empowerment (Gay, 2000; Ladson-Billings, 1994; Yosso, 2005). (Definition from the following website https://www.olympic.edu/about-olympic-college/equity-olympic-college/equity-inclusion-toolkit/glossary-common-terms-higher#_A)

Cultural Appropriation

Theft, exploitation, or mimicry of cultural elements for one’s own personal use or profit – including symbols, dress, art, music, dance, language, land, customs, medicine, etc. – often without understanding, acknowledgment, or respect for its value in the original culture. In the United States, it results from the assumption of a white dominant culture’s right to take other cultural elements.

Cultural Competence

An ability to interact effectively with people of all cultures and understand many cultural frameworks, values, and norms. Cultural competence comprises four components:

  • Awareness of one’s own cultural worldview
  • Attitude towards cultural differences
  • Knowledge of different cultural practices and worldviews
  • Cross-cultural skills

Cultural Humility

Approach to respectfully engaging others with cultural identities different from your own and recognizing that no cultural perspective is superior to another. Cultural humility may look different for different people or groups. For example, in a white dominant culture the practice of cultural humility for white people includes acknowledging systems of oppression and involves critical self-reflection, lifelong learning and growth, a commitment to recognizing and sharing power, and a desire to work toward institutional accountability. The practice of cultural humility for people of color includes accepting that the dominant culture does exist, that institutional racism is in place, to recognize one’s own response to the oppression within it, to work toward dismantling it through the balanced process of calling it out and taking care of one’s self.

Community Organizations

Community organizations, or community-based organizations, refers to nonprofit or grassroots organizations that operate in and for the benefit of a specific community. (Definition from the following website https://www.olympic.edu/about-olympic-college/equity-olympic-college/equity-inclusion-toolkit/glossary-common-terms-higher#_A)

Low Income communities

A student or community member who is eligible for need-based financial aid. (As defined by BTC Data & Research Office)

Marginalization

The social process of relegating a particular person, groups or groups of people to an unimportant or powerless position. This use of power prevents a particular person, group, or groups of people from participating fully in decisions affecting their lived experiences, rendering them insignificant or peripheral. Some individuals identify with multiple groups that have been marginalized. People may experience further marginalization because of their intersecting identities. (historical marginalization is based on the historical context of marginalization as defined above). 

People of Color or Communities of Color

Collective term for referring to non-white racial groups.

 

 

 

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Resources

Washington Association of Community and Technical Colleges Board of Presidents Resolution Denouncing Anti-Asian Discrimination Caused by COVID-19 Pandemic in support of Asian American and Pacific Islander Students, Faculty, Staff, and Communities.

What anti-discrimination laws apply to BTC?

The College complies with all Washington State anti-discrimination laws (RCW 49.60) and the following federal laws relating to equal opportunity:

Title VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Age Discrimination Act of 1975
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990

What is the Washington State SBCTC LGBTQ Campaign?

General Information RTF | PDF
FAQs RTF | PDF
History and Background RTF | PDF
Equity Article

Who to contact regarding non-discrimination, equal opportunity, affirmative action or the ADA policies?

Executive Director of Human Resources, 3028 Lindbergh Avenue, Bellingham, WA 98225, 360.752.8354. For Title IX/504 compliance, contact: Vice President of Student Services, 3028 Lindbergh Avenue, Bellingham, WA 98225, 360.752.8440.

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Hours & Contacts

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