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Stanley provides update on chief diversity officer search, Task Force on Racial Equity members announced

August 7, 2020
<p>Students gather outside of the Hannah Administration Building for a Divestment Day protest on Feb. 14, 2020. </p>

Students gather outside of the Hannah Administration Building for a Divestment Day protest on Feb. 14, 2020.

Photo by Matt Zubik | The State News

Michigan State University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. provided an update on the search for MSU's new vice president and chief diversity officer, or CDO, in an email to faculty, staff and students Friday. Additionally, the members of the Task Force on Racial Equity were formally announced earlier this week.

The four finalists for CDO are scheduled to visit MSU between Aug. 28 and Sept. 9. Their names and curriculum vitae will be announced prior to each visit.

The search began in January but was paused when the university moved entirely online. Stanley announced it would resume at the May 15 Board of Trustees meeting. Earlier this year, the 18-member committee worked alongside executive search firm Isaacson, Miller to conduct the search for the CDO position.

More than 70 potential candidates were considered during the search, and seven finalists will interview in late July before narrowing down to four candidates.

The finalists will be visiting on these dates:

Finalist No. 1 – Thu, Aug. 27-Fri, Aug. 28

Finalist No. 2 – Mon, Aug. 31-Tue, Sept. 1

Finalist No. 3 – Wed, Sept. 2-Thu, Sept. 3

Finalist No. 4 – Tue, Sept. 8-Wed, Sept. 9

The CDO position will be at the level of vice president for the first time in the university’s history and will serve in place of the previous senior adviser to the president for diversity position that was held by Paulette Granberry Russell, and all the responsibilities that fell to Russell will fall under the CDO. Russell left MSU in July.

The search committee is lead by Dean of the College of Arts and Letters Christopher Long and Senior Vice President of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer Melissa Woo.

Stanley had previously called for the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Steering Committee to create a smaller task force under the direction of the steering committee, called the Task Force on Racial Equity, which is directed to examine racial inequities that affect members of the campus community.

"The intent of the Task Force is to examine and address urgent and immediate issues critical to racial and ethnic communities on our campus," chairs of the steering committee Luis Alonzo Garcia and Wanda Lipscomb said in an email. "As the Task Force convenes this month, their efforts will also inform the work of the DEI Steering Committee as we move toward finalizing the long-term DEI Strategic Plan due this December. Additionally, the Task Force will send recommendations for strategies that can be implemented in an expeditious manner to the DEI Steering Committee and the President."

The co-chairs of the new task force are Jennifer Cobbina, criminal justice professor; Jonglim Han, interim program director of Dow STEM Scholars and member of the steering committee; and Quentin Tyler, associate dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, acting associate dean for administration and faculty affairs for the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and member of the DEI subcommittee of the COVID-19 Reopening Campus Task Force.

Members include four students; Residential Hall Association Rep. Amanuel Engeda, CORES & COPS Rep. Sharron Reed-Davis, Associated Students of Michigan State University Rep. Shiksha Sneha and Council of Graduate Students Rep. Diondra Straiton.

The task force will be receiving input from the DEI Steering Committee based on current efforts to compile recommendations, strategies, tactics and suggestions from student, faculty and staff constituent groups and other campus and community stakeholders into a university-level DEI Strategic Plan.

Over the coming weeks, major administrative units and university departments will receive information regarding a DEI Inventory Survey to help assess current efforts and identify areas of needs. This will be followed by a student survey that will be shared this fall.

"We call on our fellow units and student organizations to complete the survey because we believe with your help, we can make our campus a better and safer place for everyone," the co-chairs said.


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