Human Rights

Academic Commitments


Interest in human rights-related research, practice, and teaching is widespread at Mason.  Human rights and global justice are the focus for one of the five interdisciplinary working groups hosted by the Center for Global Studies.  Human rights issues are front and center for several research centers and programs at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, including the Center for the Study of Gender and Conflict, the Genocide Prevention Program, and the Sudan Task Group.  The Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (TraCCC) operates at the intersection of human rights, labor, and anti-corruption issues in its research and teaching on human trafficking.


Nineteen distinct academic units at Mason offered 48 courses on human rights topics in the 2012-2013 academic year.  Units whose faculty and students engage most actively with human rights include Women and Gender Studies, Latin American Studies, African and African American Studies, School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Department of Social Work, and New Century College, which recently added a concentration in social justice to its BA in Integrative Studies Program.  Human rights is a primary focus of the new Social Justice Scholars and Educators Faculty Learning Community convened by the Center for Teaching and Faculty Excellence.  Finally, human rights was the special theme for the 2013 summer session at Mason.


The UN Human Rights Council strives to integrate human rights education into university curricula.  The Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) senior class took this UN initiative as the cue for its capstone project, researching the state of human rights education at Mason and in the surrounding community.  The students organized a Human Rights Fair in April 2013 to share their findings in research posters and engage in a series of structured dialogues.

The title of the Center for Global Studies fourth annual film festival in April 2013 was, “Human Resilience: Coping with Crisis from the Mexican Borderlands to the Slums of Nairobi.”

Beyond Academic Commitments


The Office of Equity and Diversity Services (OEDS) monitors the university’s continuing commitment to equal opportunity in its employment and educational practices.  OEDS reports to the president of the university and is responsible for the implementation of all equal opportunity policies, including the disability reasonable accommodation policy and the administration of the discrimination grievance procedures.  Through educational workshops, the OEDS ensures that members of the campus community understand their rights and responsibilities, specifically in regard to maintaining a learning and working environment free from illegal discrimination.  It works collaboratively with other campus entities and the surrounding community to ensure physical and program access for persons with disabilities and to create, design, and disseminate programs that bring diverse people together in an encouraging and welcoming environment.


The Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Multicultural Education (ODIME) supports Mason’s diverse student and faculty population.  Throughout the year, ODIME sponsors a variety of programs for students and faculty, including lectures, concerts, awards, and seminars.  The office works specifically with African heritage, Hispanic/Latino, Asian/Pacific American, American Indian, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) populations.

ODIME coordinates training opportunities that include diversity workshops and seminars, development of mentoring programs, the Safe Zone program for LGBTQ resources and allies, and the Student Transition and Empowerment Program (STEP).  Another program is Brother to Brother, Sister to Sister, which educates students about relationships across gender lines.  ODIME also organizes a number of national cultural celebrations, such as the American Indian and Alaskan Native Heritage Month, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Black History Month, Middle Eastern and South Asian cultural and religious events, Hispanic Heritage Month, Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration, and Pride Week.


As part of Mason’s continuing commitment to upholding the letter and spirit of the laws that ensure equal treatment of people with disabilities, the university maintain the Office of Disability Services (ODS).  Under the administration of University Life, ODS implements and coordinates reasonable accommodations and disability-related services that afford equal access to university programs and activities.  ODS is available to serve all students with disabilities, including those with cognitive (e.g., learning, psychological, and closed head injury), sensory, mobility, and other physical impairments.  Exam accommodations provide students with disabilities the same opportunity as their peers to reflect the knowledge they have gained during a particular course.  All students who have a need for materials in an alternative format may request this service through ODS if they qualify.  ODS also provides sign language interpreting and transliterator services for eligible students who are deaf or hard of hearing.  These services are also available to faculty and staff, and for campus events.


The Early Identification Program (EIP) is an innovative, multiyear college preparatory program for high school students.  Program activities are free and are held on Mason’s Fairfax and Prince William Campuses.  Admission to Mason is guaranteed to those who successfully complete EIP and an academic program in high school.  Each year, Mason and EIP offer participants the opportunity to apply and interview for four-year, full-tuition scholarships and other small awards.  EIP actively pursues support for other scholarships from private sponsors and donors.