Knapp appoints 16 to council on diversity

University President Steven Knapp appointed 16 people to the President’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion last week, moving forward with a plan to make GW more diverse.

The council – which was approved by the Board of Trustees in February – will focus on the diversity of the student body, the faculty and the curriculum in order to identify valuable resources and people on campus, Knapp said.

The founding members include GW faculty, staff and students who were either nominated or volunteered for the job, Knapp said in an e-mail.

“GW has a long history of equal opportunity and of a strong commitment to diversity,” Knapp said. “This is not only the right thing to do; as the world grows smaller and the make-up of the U.S. population changes, we can only maintain our competitiveness and academic excellence if we reach out effectively to people of all backgrounds.”

Knapp said he hopes the council will develop a working plan this summer and begin implementing recommendations next year. An associate provost for diversity and inclusion will be chosen to lead the council by the beginning of the coming academic year.

Chief Human Resources Officer Louis Lemieux, chair of the search committee for the associate provost, said he thinks one of the council’s most significant impacts will be to increase “exposure to more opportunities for the University to consider all the aspects of diversity.”

“I think it will have an enormous impact on GW. We already have a very diverse environment. We can only gain more from this,” Lemieux said.

Professor Gregory Squires will co-chair the council with Helen Cannaday Saulny, assistant vice president for Student and Academic Support Services. Squires has worked with the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and currently teaches courses on race and urban development.

“Our roles as co-chairs are to try to bring together the ideas of other members of the council and other members of the community,” Squires said. “I am hoping that we can hit the ground running and do things in the near future.”

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