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SLOC program aiming for diversity

More minority involvement in the 2002 Winter Games is the goal of a new diversity outreach program announced by the Salt Lake Organizing Committee Thursday.

The program comes after SLOC was criticized for not advertising for volunteers on a local Spanish-language television station. Most of the organizing committee's television commercials have aired on KSL-TV, which is a supplier to SLOC.

About $5,000 in advertising is now planned on Telemundo, the Spanish-language television station that had been turned down in its efforts to sell SLOC commercial time, as well as on radio stations and newspapers that serve the Hispanic community.

"We were given a necessary wake-up call," said SLOC President Mitt Romney. He said organizers "responded somewhat defensively" when asked to purchase commercial time on Telemundo. "We recognize we made an error. We were wrong."

Efforts are also planned to get volunteer information out to members of other minority communities, including African-Americans, Asians, American Indians, senior citizens and the disabled.

According to a breakdown of the number of minority employees and board members released by the organizing committee, most are white males. While employees are hired by SLOC, board members are appointed by the governor and the Salt Lake City mayor.

Of the 55 members of the SLOC Board of Trustees, 40 are men and 48 are white. There are three African-Americans, two Hispanics, one American Indian and one Asian serving on the board.

At SLOC headquarters, nearly 53 percent of the employees are male and more than 93 percent are white. Asians make up just 2.3 percent of the work force; African-Americans, 2 percent, Hispanics, 1.8 percent and American Indians, less than 1 percent.

As part of the program announced Thursday, minority staff members at the organizing committee will be interviewed by two members of the SLOC Board of Trustees human resources subcommittee, Lillian Taylor and Richard Velez.

Also, beginning in August, monthly meetings for minority and women-owned businesses will be held throughout the state so those businesses can introduce their products to the committee.