MCC announces Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiative

Nesbary: “Our commitment to these ideals remains as strong as ever.”

Recently, the efforts by Muskegon Community College to lead the diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in Muskegon County were attacked with false information by a county commissioner. I am sharing our rationale – in a civil manner and rooted in facts – for championing the DEI initiative, a request that initially came to us from the Community Foundation for Muskegon County. Since then, many local businesses and organizations have contacted us. They are eager to invest in the efforts to create a welcoming community and to attract a diverse workforce that will improve our local economy in significant ways. At MCC, we tell the world in our mission statement that we are dedicated to equity and excellence, preparing students, building communities, and improving lives. It’s not just talk. It’s what we do. Our commitment to these ideals remains as strong as ever.

Here are the facts:

  • Muskegon Community College, Community Foundation for Muskegon County, Talent 2025, and many companies and communities across our county, state, and nation recognize that we are failing to generate and maintain a diverse and vibrant workforce. This hurts our families, our students, our communities, our businesses, our educational institutions, and it weakens our economy.
  • With MCC’s vision of an educated, inclusive community and our dedication to equity and excellence, we are a natural leader in this important work.
  • An MCC Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Taskforce, led by Dr. Pamela Smith, was formed in 2020 to develop strategies and processes that will establish MCC as the leading educational institution for organizations that seek out assistance when developing the overall components of their DEI Strategy.
  • In May of 2021, the Community Foundation for Muskegon County asked Muskegon Community College to take the lead in employing high-quality diversity, equity, and inclusion staff members to serve as catalysts to promote a culture of inclusion in businesses and organizations around the region.
  • The Foundation and College have been meeting with local employers and organizations who are eager to invest in an initiative that will improve our community. Use of collaborative funding promotes buy-in and spurs real action within companies and organizations.
  • Regardless of the actions of a Muskegon County Commissioner, a countywide and collaboratively funded DEI initiative will be a reality.
  • When diverse individuals can positively engage in living, learning, and working in a welcoming community, the community thrives.

These definitions will make it clear what DEI stands for at Muskegon Community College:

  • Diversity: Diversity encompasses complex differences and similarities in perspectives, identities, and points of view among members of an institution as well as among individuals who make up the wider community. Diversity includes important and interrelated dimensions of human identity such as race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, socio-economic status, nationality, citizenship, religion, sexual orientation, ability, and age. Source: accreditation/assets/Standard_4_IR__3_10_13. pdf
  • Equity: Fairness or justice in the way people are treated. (Merriam-Webster)
  • Inclusion: “The achievement of an environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, have equal access to opportunities and resources, and can contribute fully to the organization’s success”. (Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) – benefits-of-diversity-in-the-workplace

Dale K. Nesbary, Ph.D. President
Muskegon Community College