Daily Camera (Boulder)

CU Boul­der to hire chief di­ver­sity of­fi­cer

Chan­cel­lor: Cam­pus lead­ers to con­duct na­tional search

- By Katie Lang­ford Business · Society · College · Higher Education · Colorado · University of Colorado · University of Colorado at Boulder · Boulder · Boulder · Clark University · Colorado Springs

The Univer­sity of Colorado Boul­der will hire a chief di­ver­sity of­fi­cer to sup­port un­der­rep­re­sented groups on cam­pus, Chan­cel­lor Phil Diste­fano wrote in a let­ter to cam­pus this week.

Cam­pus lead­ers will con­duct a na­tional search for the new ad­min­is­tra­tive po­si­tion, which will re­port di­rectly to Diste­fano.

CU Boul­der stu­dents, fac­ulty and staff have called on the univer­sity to ad­dress in­sti­tu­tional racism, and Diste­fano in June pledged to do so by lis­ten­ing to the cam­pus com­mu­nity, im­ple­ment­ing a di­ver­sity and in­clu­sion plan and re­quir­ing manda­tory by­stander train­ing.

He echoed that com­mit­ment Wed­nes­day.

“We will not ig­nore your calls for di­ver­sity, eq­uity and in­clu­sion,” Diste­fano wrote. “This com­mit­ment to new lead­er­ship and our in­creased fi­nan­cial in­vest­ments are part of a holis­tic change. We will take de­ci­sive, im­me­di­ate, long-over­due ac­tion, and we will do it to­gether.”

The chief di­ver­sity of­fi­cer will take into con­sid­er­a­tion in­put from un­der­rep­re­sented cam­pus groups to ad­vise Diste­fano and other cam­pus lead­ers on how to make CU Boul­der more di­verse, eq­ui­table and in­clu­sive, ac­cord­ing to Diste­fano’s let­ter.

But hir­ing an ad­min­is­tra­tor was not among the calls for change from stu­dents, fac­ulty and staff in re­cent months.

Grad­u­ate stu­dent Juan Pablo Ramirez pointed to the de­mands made by the Di­vest 2 In­vest col­lec­tive, which is call­ing on univer­sity lead­ers to di­vest from cam­pus and Boul­der po­lice and in­vest in pro­grams that sup­port Black, Indige­nous and peo­ple of color on cam­pus.

Spe­cific de­mands in­clude in­creas­ing fund­ing for men­tal health ser­vices, im­ple­ment­ing an­tiracism train­ing and ed­u­ca­tion, and cre­at­ing a po­lice hir­ing ac­count­abil­ity board.

“The hir­ing of this di­ver­sity of­fi­cer is very tone deaf,” Ramirez wrote in a mes­sage to the Cam­era. “Many CU com­mu­nity

groups have been do­ing a lot of work to ad­dress is­sues of racism on cam­pus, and none of them have pro­posed cre­at­ing an­other ad­min­is­tra­tion po­si­tion to ad­dress this. If CU ad­min want to be se­ri­ous about ad­dress­ing is­sues of racism on cam­pus they would use the Divest2in­vest Col­lec­tive’s de­mands as a course of ac­tion.”

Diste­fano’s let­ter did note that he is “ex­plor­ing ad­di­tional fi­nan­cial in­vest­ments to sup­port this crit­i­cal work within our com­mu­nity,” which he would pro­vide up­dates on in the fu­ture.

CU Boul­der lead­ers will ask the cam­pus com­mu­nity how they want to in­ter­act with the chief di­ver­sity of­fi­cer and what re­spon­si­bil­i­ties the po­si­tion should in­clude

“We need to use the op­por­tu­nity to hire a cam­pus-level leader as a means of strength­en­ing the cam­pus and mak­ing it more in­clu­sive,” Diste­fano wrote.

Spokesper­son Deb­o­rah Men­dez Wil­son did not pro­vide a time­line for the hir­ing process, but said that in­for­ma­tion would be pro­vided in the com­ing weeks.

The CU sys­tem has an ex­ist­ing Chief Di­ver­sity Of­fi­cer, Theo­dosia Cook, who was hired in May to over­see all four cam­puses. The Colorado Springs and An­schutz cam­puses also have chief di­ver­sity of­fi­cers, and the Den­ver cam­pus is start­ing the search for a chief di­ver­sity of­fi­cer, said sys­tem spokesper­son Ken Mc­connel­logue.

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