Yesterday Chancellor Philip DiStefano announced his search for a chief diversity officer, a new administrative position created in an effort to support underrepresented groups at the University of Colorado Boulder.
“Taking into consideration the voices, experiences and concerns of underrepresented groups on our campus, our new chief diversity officer will advise me and my cabinet on the most effective ways to rapidly make CU Boulder more diverse, equitable and inclusive,” DiStefano said in his announcement.
Distefano explained that the role involves collaborating with academic administrative units, governance groups, student leaders, and engaging with the larger campus community and with the IDEA Council. The chief diversity officer will work with Vice-Chancellor Bob Boswell who currently leads the Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement (ODECE).
“This individual will assess what we are doing right, where we need to improve, and outline the tangible new steps we need to take,” said DiStefano in his announcement.
But some BIPOC individuals on campus are concerned that the new administrative position still omits their voices and takes valuable funds that could be spent elsewhere.
“The chancellor continues to not listen to campus organizers and would rather waste time and resources on another bureaucratic figure than finally begin to work with those who have outlined plans of action to enact justice and change at the university,” Gwendalynn Roebke said in an email.
Roebke is in their fifth year at CU has been doing antiracism work since they started here. They co-organize and run Radical BIPOC Womxn/Femme Collective with Laura Gonzalez and LeAnna Luney.
Juan Ramirez, a member of United Campus Workers Colorado, tweeted out against the creation of this position at a time when workers are being laid off. Ramirez is currently working on his Ph.D. in CU’s geography department.
“I think it is very tone deaf to hire more admin when CU has laid off and furloughed many other workers that won’t make anywhere near the salary of this new admin position,” Ramirez said in an email.
He points to recent budget cuts which have left certain departments unable to accept new graduate students for 2021.
“I think these funds could be better allocated to providing more material support for students, staff, and faculty, as mentioned by other campus organizers,” Ramirez said in an email suggesting an investment in more mental health professionals, grants, scholarships, programming and spaces as advocated by the Divest2Invest Collective.
DiStefano aims to continue to work actively with this new chief diversity officer and with the larger campus community to support underrepresented groups.
“We will not ignore your calls for diversity, equity and inclusion. This commitment to new leadership and our increased financial investments are part of a holistic change,” said DiStefano, concluding his announcement.”We will take decisive, immediate, long-overdue action, and we will do it together.”
Contact CU Independent Breaking News Editor Mairead Brogan at email@example.com.