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University of Missouri hires diversity officer

University of Missouri hires diversity officer

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The University of Missouri has hired its first ever chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer, a position that was promised in November when the Columbia campus was embroiled in discord over a series of racist incidents.

At the time, the university's Board of Curators promised a string of coming changes centered on making the four campuses in Columbia, St. Louis, Kansas City and Rolla more welcoming for minorities.

Some students at the University of Missouri-Columbia have complained that they've been subjected to numerous instances of racial hostility and don't feel welcome on campus.

Wednesday morning, the university's interim President, Michael Middleton, announced the hiring of Kevin McDonald to lead the system's diversity initiatives. The hiring becomes official June 1.

McDonald previously worked as the vice president and associate provost for diversity and inclusion at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. Before that, he was vice president for equity and inclusion at Virginia Tech.

In Columbia, McDonald will be in charge of creating policies to identify and address systemic issues related to diversity. He will also serve as an adviser to the UM system president.

“Inclusion is vital to the success of all our students, staff and faculty,” Middleton said. “The UM System will benefit immensely from his experience as he plans to foster more inclusive campus environments that embody a true culture of respect.”

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Koran Addo is a reporter at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Related to this story

For a university system trying to send a message about inclusion and diversity, a photo of the University of Missouri Board of Curators defies the best public relations effort the university can muster.

The photo shows a group of six, white people of a certain age. One is a woman. The photo doesn't show it, but they're all lawyers. This is the board that for the foreseeable future will determine how higher education progresses at the state's signature land-grant university and three other campuses in the system.

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