The Cape Elizabeth Town Council at its July 12 meeting voted unanimously in favor of establishing a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. Following a recommendation by the Ordinance Committee, the new standing committee replaces ad hoc Civil Rights Committee.

Public comments on the committee ranged from supportive to disapproving, with some resident citing critical race theory and political motivations as driving forces behind creating such a committee, according to a report on the town website. Town Council Chairman Jamie Garvin said he has been “saddened” by this type of feedback.

“Since the beginning of the establishment of the Civil Rights Committee, I have had a much wider view of not only the charge of this committee, but of the issues that need addressing in the community from a larger standpoint,” Garvin said. “Certainly racial and ethnic diversity is a large part of any group that would be working on something like this, but there are a lot of other things that encompass diversity, equity and inclusion. Nowhere within the description, charge or duties of this committee is there any mention of critical race theory.”

According to the release, the Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Committee will begin with one-year, two-year and three-year terms; the Appointments Committee plans to post openings in October.