October 29, 2019
Civil Rights: "All Reasonable Efforts"
Submitted by Jennifer R Wilson
“Our programs are open to the public.” “We don’t discriminate. Anyone can attend our programs.” These are common statements in our system, but this line of thinking doesn’t support the civil rights principle of “all reasonable efforts.”
“All reasonable efforts” is required when the demographics of Extension program participants do not reflect the demographics of the community. Making “all reasonable efforts” requires staff to go beyond the basics of advertising a program in the newspaper, on social media or with flyers.
Here are some ways to apply “all reasonable efforts” with Extension programs:
- Use mass media that will reach potential populations in the community – the media informs potential recipients of programs and opportunities to participate.
- Provide brochures, posters, flyers, and websites that inform potential audiences of programs and events.
- Send personal letters, emails and invitations that invite potential recipients to participate in programs and include specifics about dates and meeting times.
- Conduct personal visits or telephone calls that encourage defined recipients to participate.
- Network with others by building coalitions or collaborations with agencies serving similar audiences.
Be sure to keep written documentation when making “all reasonable efforts” such as letters, phone calls and visits to underrepresented groups who are potential targets for programs. Documentation should be kept in the local unit civil rights file. Your application and use of “all reasonable efforts” should be an integral part of a local unit plan that ensures that all eligible, particularly minorities, underprivileged and underrepresented groups, are informed of all Extension program benefits and receive the protection against discrimination contained in KSU policy and federal regulations.