GW selects provost for diversity, declines to release name

The University has selected its first vice provost for diversity and inclusion, but is sitting on the administrator’s name for two weeks, saying it is not ready to announce the selection yet.

The position was created last year to spearhead the University’s attempt to attract students and employees from more diverse backgrounds.

“The person we’re expecting [to appoint] is extremely qualified and a very prestigious person to bring into GW,” Board of Trustees vice chair Nelson Carbonell said last week. Carbonell did not share why GW was waiting to announce the hopeful appointee.

The University first announced the position’s creation last year in the midst of a major push for more diversity on campus, including the formation of a special Council on Diversity and Inclusion.

A study released last semester showed that GW is less diverse than its market basket schools. Fifty-six percent of the student body is white, compared with 43 and 45 percent white student bodies at New York University and Boston University, respectively.

The Council on Diversity and Inclusion held two forums in January to solicit suggestions and will present its final proposals to Knapp in May.

“The council will use the remainder of the semester to prepare a written report, which will include recommendations on the four areas of exploration,” council co-chair and Dean of Freshmen Helen Cannaday Saulny said, referring to increasing diversity in students, faculty, staff and the broader D.C. community. “From there, the council, along with other senior administrators, will evaluate next steps.”

Cannaday Saulny declined to comment on specific ideas the council is considering.

Knapp said the goal of the CDI was to focus on the diversity of the student body, faculty and curriculum to identify valuable resources and people on campus, at the time of its inception a year ago.

At the first forum, suggestions made to the council included increasing access for disabled students on campus, bringing in graduate and non-traditional students – like parents or veterans – into the fold of campus life, and including Foggy Bottom’s African-American history and culture in campus walking tours.

Professor Gregory Squires, the council’s other co-chair, said the council is continuing to plan more forums even as it continues to sort through and organize data from previous discussions.

The group is looking to hold three public forums to address issues faced by female faculty members, faculty of all races and issues for faculty in the medical school.

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