Last June, the state passed a budget bill that provided $200,000 to an independent contractor to conduct a study and report on the university’s hiring and recruitment efforts and practices. That report was originally scheduled to be delivered to the university this past Sunday, May 1.
It is now May 3, and the study has yet to even begin. This on the heels of Provost Grasso’s statements at a General Faculty Meeting that the university had achieved its most diverse class ever.
This is not a new issue; the lack of action is unfortunately not surprising. The university has attempted to attract diverse students and faculty for decades now and, somehow, nothing ever seems to get accomplished.
Last summer, the state of Delaware had to step in and order an independent study with state funding due to the fact that the university’s diversity problem had become so bad. For example, one in 20 students are African American compared to the one in five residents in the state of Delaware that are African American. This gap is frequently cited by political leaders in Delaware when criticising the university and they are absolutely correct to do so. It is deeply troubling that we have identified the lack of diversity on campus as an issue for so long yet so little has actually been accomplished to combat the issue. Now the state has become involved, and yet still nothing has appeared to be done.
As stated previously, The Review believes that, moving forward, we have to do better. This university cannot continue as it is. We need the change that has been called for for years.
The school has proven itself, by its own fault or not, to be incapable or unwilling to present a dedicated, effective plan for an increase in diversity. Grasso’s previously cited stats still feel like a fluke.
The true shame of it is that the study has true potential to create positive change on campus and it’s being bungled again. Regardless of who is to blame, it feels like a frustrating setback to have to wait more time for something that probably should have already been fixed had university leadership been more in touch with student needs.
It’s not necessarily all the administration’s fault– a student body is a constantly shifting entity. But it’s hard to imagine a situation more embarrassing for a state’s flagship university than to be publically chastised for “simply unacceptable” diversity figures by a normally uber-friendly state legislature.
It will not happen overnight but we are presented with an opportunity as we approach the next academic year: next month we will have a new president of the university, Dennis Assanis. There are many issues he will have to tackle but if there is one issue he cannot ignore, it is this one. We must implore Incoming President Assanis to fix what appears to be either an inability to make change happen or a lack of motivation to do so.
Every day matters to the minority students, faculty and staffers that this may potentially affect. If the state or the university wants to actually commit to diversity, they have to do it now. more failure, mistakes,or missteps reflect either a lack of motivation to achieve real change, or a lack of ability. Serious changes need to happen if either are true.
Editorials are developed by The Review’s editorial staff, led by editorial editor Jacob Orledge, who can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.