The Michigan State Board of Trustees approved the appointment of Jabbar Bennett as the vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer (CDO) during their Oct. 30 meeting. His term will begin Dec. 1.
His 13-page contract states that Bennett’s initial salary rate is $315,000 and will be evaluated every year based on merit. However, all executive managers including the CDO will undergo a temporary salary reduction because of the financial strain put on the university due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bennett’s salary will be $296,100, a 6% decrease, during the period of Dec. 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021.
The CDO is an “at will” employee, meaning that Bennett works at the service of President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. and is subject to be removed without notice or reason. The president will regularly evaluate Bennett.
The contract also explains the responsibilities of the CDO including leading the Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives and working with the university to develop and implement a plan for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).
The CDO will work with other offices including academic affairs, student affairs, human resources, residential and hospitality service and more. The CDO will be doing work like designing delivery education and training programs, research on DEI-related topics, monitoring hiring processes and more.
There is a possibility that Bennett could be appointed as a fixed-term professor in the department of medicine in the College of Human Medicine. He would not have any faculty responsibilities while serving as the CDO if he is appointed.
MSU is granting Bennett a one-time moving expense of $25,000. However, if Bennett leaves his job at the university within a year he is required to repay MSU the full amount. He will also receive the standard monthly vehicle allowance rate, which is $700 per month or $8,400 annually.
If Bennett does leave the position as vice president and chief diversity officer, he will be given a six-month research leave. His salary during the research leave will remain the same rate it was when the leave started.
After the research leave, Bennett will become a fixed-term professor on a 3-year term. His salary as a professor will be an average of the 10 highest paid professors in the College of Human Medicine. The university will allocate funds to the department of medicine to cover Bennett's salary. However, if he is terminated for violations of university policy, local, state or federal laws then he will not be given either of these options.
Upon request, the university will provide the CDO with two complimentary season tickets for football, men’s basketball and men’s hockey. The tickets can only be used during the time Bennett serves as CDO.
MSU conducted a national search to fill the position of vice president and chief diversity officer. Bennett was one of four finalists who met with MSU administrators, faculty and staff between August and September.
The full contract can be viewed below:
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