Sep 102009
 
Authors: Matt Minich

Twenty-two representatives of CSU’s faculty, staff and student populations have been conducting meetings to discuss the future of the university’s diversity programs and the possible creation of a new administrative diversity coordinator position.

The so-called Diversity Task Force was created as part of CSU’s efforts to re-examine the structure of its diversity-related programs after the retirement of Dana Hiatt.

CSU President Tony Frank said in an e-mail interview that the group exists to consider the most efficient structure for diversity advocacy and leadership on the campus.

Officials in the program have been charged with presenting an outline for the leadership of CSU’s diversity programs to Frank and Interim Provost Rick Miranda by Oct. 15, said Blanche Hughes, the vice president of Student Affairs and chair of the committee.

Specifically, the task force will evaluate whether a diversity coordinator is needed at the university.

The task force is currently in a fact-finding phase, and is examining diversity programs at other universities and the history and intricacies of CSU’s own diversity efforts, said Pattie Cowell, an associate dean in the College of Liberal Arts who sits on the task force.

It has not yet been decided whether the position is needed, or whether the university’s diversity administration should consist of one or many persons, Hughes said.

Members of the task force view diversity through a broad lens, applying the term to students with unique or nontraditional beliefs in addition to their specific emphasis on historically underrepresented populations, Hughes said.

So far, the group has found that while there are a wide variety of diversity programs at CSU, more action is needed to create a diverse student population, particularly in the area of scholarships, Hughes said.

“I think access is a huge challenge,” she said. “How do we afford to make sure students can afford to come (to CSU)?”

A number of representatives from across the university, including the top two student government executives, sit on the board.

Though any decision made by the task force will cause changes only on an administrative level, it will still affect students, said Dan Gearhart, the president of the Associated Students of CSU.

“The end results of a more diverse CSU will trickle down and help the students,” he said.

Members of the task force are not compensated for their work, which falls under their duties as faculty or staff, and the group does not have a budget, Frank said.

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