Editorial: Students should get to know candidates for Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The setting sun reflects off the UTA tower Jan. 19, 2020, on the corner of UTA Boulevard and Cooper Street. 

UTA announced three finalists for the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion vice president position on Monday. The position is one of the university’s eight initiatives to create a more inclusive and diverse campus community.  

Each candidate is scheduled to visit campus and give virtual open-forum presentations from 9 to 9:45 a.m. Feb. 12, 15 and 17 on Microsoft Teams. The names of the candidates and their resumes will be made available on UTA’s website 24 hours before their virtual visit to campus.  

The Shorthorn encourages students, faculty and staff to attend the public meetings, voice their concerns and ask the candidates questions.

Some community members have expressed concern with UTA not making good on its promises to confront racism. 

Interim President Teik Lim announced eight commitments to promote diversity, equity and inclusion at UTA on July 9, and a search committee was tasked with recruiting candidates for the vice president position in August.  

The position is part of the newly formed Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The vice president will communicate directly with the university president on all diversity, equity and inclusion issues and promote diverse programs.

The vice president should serve as a catalyst to advance these principles across the university, according to UTA’s website. They will be tasked with building the new office that will act as an administrative, intellectual and community-oriented center.  

It’s important to get involved with this process to ensure the best candidate is chosen to lead this new initiative. The open-forum presentations are a key part of the process to identify the most qualified candidate to fulfill the responsibilities.  

They will partner with the provost, deans, faculty, staff, students, alumni, community members and other groups on various efforts. They will collaborate with the Center for African American Studies, Center for Mexican American Studies, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Student Access and Resource Center, Women’s and Gender Studies program, and other campus groups.  

It’s crucial that students, faculty and staff get to know the candidates because whoever is chosen will work closely with other campus groups and play an integral role in the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion’s success. 

We encourage students, faculty and staff to take advantage of the opportunity to communicate directly with the candidates. We need a highly motivated, committed and collaborative vice president to lead us into the next stage of initiatives, because the issue of representation and inclusion on UTA’s campus is far from over.

The Shorthorn Editorial Board is made up of opinion editor Katecey Harrell; Editor-in-Chief Cecilia Lenzen; associate news editor Spencer Brewer; Samantha Knowles, life and entertainment editor; sports editor Adrian Rodriguez; news reporter Thevnin Rumende; and copy editor Jill Bold. Rumende was not present for this editorial decision, and managing editor Angelica Perez filled in.


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