Jan 272010
Authors: Madeline Novey

CSU President Tony Frank announced Wednesday the creation of a part-time vice president of Diversity position following a recommendation by the task force created to evaluate and increase university diversity.

CSU’s student diversity offices have reported good student retention and support, Vice President of Student Affairs Blanche Hughes said, but a committed administrator could help in increasing the numbers of diverse students coming to the university.

“Traveling across our state over the past year and observing the changing demographics of our population have only reinforced my understanding of this cornerstone of our mission, as well as my conviction that we can’t fully deliver on the land-grant promise if we, as a university, are not striving to reflect the society we serve,” Frank said in an e-mail.

“This, to my mind, underpins our mission and is critical to our thinking relative to diversity,” he said.

Having anticipated university criticism for creating the position at a time when CSU is suffering the effects of severe budget cuts, Frank said, “But I also believe that our land-grant university mission must drive our thinking, and we cannot let the ongoing budget crisis prevent us from making the changes we need to deliver on our mission,” in an e-mail to the university Wednesday.

Frank said he intends to fund the new position through cuts made to administrative divisions. These include the divisions of University Operations and Public Affairs and the Facilities Management Department but no academic divisions, said Interim Provost/Executive Vice President Rick Miranda.

The VPD salary will be determined in a negotiation between the final candidate and the president, Miranda said, adding that he couldn’t even guess a figure.

The VPD is charged with:

  • Evaluating current university diversity,
  • Leading diversity planning among CSU’s branches,
  • Developing partnerships within and outside of the university community, and
  • Organizing the annual Diversity Conference, among other tasks.

“You need somebody who can coordinate diversity activities, to be an advocate, to be an external face,” Hughes said Tuesday.

The university will start an internal search for the new position “shortly after spring break,” Frank said in his e-mail.

Recognizing that it will take several months to find an appropriate candidate, Hughes was appointed the interim vice president of Diversity in addition to her obligations as the vice president of Student Affairs.

Hughes, who has worked at CSU 25 years, said she plans to “set an infrastructure” in place for whomever takes up the stead and “get lots of people involved” and “get voices together” in the interim period.

News Managing Editor Madeline Novey can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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