Responding to the April 24 article and editorial, it is important to correct the record regarding the proposed Center for Diversity and Inclusion and AU’s commitment to issues of diversity.
Over the past several years, AU has made record progress in diversifying the student body. From 2008 to 2011, our domestic minority numbers increased from 19.2 to 30.8 percent. First-generation students jumped from 3.6 percent to 9.5 percent; and Pell-eligible students grew to 23.6 percent from 7.7 percent.
The dramatic changes in the student body require renewed attention on the part of the institution to ensure that all students at AU, regardless of race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, ability and gender identity, have a sense of belonging and are valued for the contributions they make to the educational mission of the institution.
The goal of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion is to expand AU’s commitment to diversity and inclusion by augmenting programs and services, while ensuring that current “safe spaces” are preserved and that the intersections of identities are understood and honored. The Center for Diversity and Inclusion will build on the strengths of our current offices and programs, GLBTA Resource Center, Multicultural Affairs and Women Resource Center, while positioning AU to respond to the changing needs of our students. Signature programs associated with the named departments will remain and, as needed, be expanded to benefit a larger segment of the AU community.
The Eagle made other inaccurate statements, and I wish to correct those for the record. The Center for Diversity and Inclusion will expand AU’s commitment to women and gender-equity by appointing, for the first time, a full-time women’s resource program coordinator. This position was never a director, as claimed by The Eagle, and has been a part-time position for the last two years. Full-time staffing will enable us to augment women-centered programming and outreach.
The Eagle’s reference to transfer student services also needs correction. The Center will not include transfer student services as reported in the articles. The needs of transfer students will continue to be addressed by various units on campus, along with the Transfer Student Association.
AU is committed to enhancing the student experience and to building on the progress made to date. We are confident that the new Center for Diversity and Inclusion will be an important asset in these efforts.