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UM System diversity leaders give faculty council progress update

University of Missouri System diversity and inclusion leaders spoke to the MU Faculty Council Thursday on what progress has been made since protests on the MU campus last November.

On Nov. 9, after UM System President Tim Wolfe resigned amid the protests, the UM Board of Curators announced a list of new initiatives to improve diversity and inclusion. The initiatives were to be implemented within 90 days. That deadline was on Feb. 7.

The first action on the list was to hire a first-ever chief diversity, inclusion and equity officer. Right now, Chuck Henson is the interim vice chancellor for the position until a permanent officer is chosen.

“The work is going on at several levels including working with students, working with staff, working with faculty, working with the City of Columbia,” Henson said Thursday.

So far, the new division has given diversity orientation to many incoming students.

It is also hosting a lecture series on African American experience in Missouri. The first lecture was held earlier this month.

Right now, Henson said the division is developing training modules for the university hiring teams.

“We want to try and do everything we can to attract the most diverse pool when we have hiring openings,” Christian Basi with the MU News Bureau said.

Starting on Feb. 24, Henson will host what he called “the working group.” It is to have a conversation with student leaders and then educate the campus community on what the UM System does, according to Henson.

“That is a group of administrators and students who are coming together to continue that conversation, continue that relationship so that the students have a good idea of what is happening and that we can get the students input,” Basi said.

Another initiative on the list last November was to create a diversity, inclusion and equity task force. David Mitchell, the chair of that task force, also spoke to the MU Faculty Council Thursday.

Right now, the task force is talking to three candidates for the permanent chief diversity officer, according to Mitchell.

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